Healer: Episode 5
I didn’t expect to love any show for a while, and not this show specifically, but I TOTALLY LOVE THIS SHOW. What a great episode for all of the things that make this show so enjoyable—the action, the intrigue, the hilarious comic relief, the budding romance, and relationship development. What’s extra exciting for me is seeing that this isn’t just a love story about a cold-hearted guy having his heart melted by a nice Candy, but that it’s more about being fundamentally human than about falling in love. You can see the Healer having moments of realization and learning, and having his eyes opened in a new way, which make this (among other things) a story of damaged people in arrested development finding ways to move past their stunted pasts, coming of age and into themselves.
SONG OF THE DAY
Yael Meyer – “When You Hold Me Tight” from the Healer OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Cornered in an alley, Young-shin is dragged off by the SS thugs who are after actress-victim-source Yeon-hee. They leave behind the beaten “Bong-soo” (Jung-hoo), and with his Healer identity at risk, he briefly considers taking the opportunity to escape and wash his hands of the matter.
But he can’t, of course, and turns back to take down the goons. He covers Young-shin’s head to block out the violence—she’s gasping for air—and keeps his face covered as he fights, displaying quite the range of acrobatic maneuvers.
The lead SS gangster snaps a photo of Jung-hoo and wonders if this is the guy his boss is itching to find. Jung-hoo blocks his face, knocks the phone out of his hand, and momentarily gets his arm entangled in a yo-yo—that’s random—which the thug uses to jerk him around.
Jung-hoo works himself free, and then the sound of police sirens in the distance puts a premature end to the brawl. The SS thugs beat a hasty retreat.
All the while, Young-shin has been trembling and wheezing for breath, catching fleeting glimpses of Healer’s half-covered face. He puts his arms around her as she’s fumbling for pills, steadying her and taking the bottle. Keeping his voice to a whisper to avoid recognition, he asks how many she needs, then puts the pills in her hand.
Young-shin whirls around to get a look at him—and for the second time, he quickly grabs her close to prevent her from seeing his face, holding her head to his chest.
Slowly, the panic drains and she starts to nod off. Jung-hoo almost pats her comfortingly, but hears the approaching sirens, which are his sign to skedaddle. When the patrol cars arrive on the scene, Young-shin is alone.
Now she remembers Bong-soo, and hurries back to the alley, worried for his safety. The cop pesters her for an explanation but she’s fixated on finding Bong-soo, concerned that he’s injured or dead somewhere. Jung-hoo watches from above the alley with some exasperation, but is in no position to stop her.
He gets a call from sidekick Dae-yong, who reports on the uneventful activities of Moon-ho, whom she followed to his brother’s estate. Dae-yong pauses to wonder how on earth a reporter could afford such a luxurious life.
Inside the house, Moon-ho lightly broaches the topic of the bygone daughter, testing Myung-hee’s reaction. Clearly they’re used to dancing around the topic, but today he mentions Ji-an directly, wondering what she’d like or do if she were alive now. Myung-hee tenses and answers tightly, while Moon-ho suggests that she’d follow in her reporter parents’ footsteps. Omg I just want him to tell her tell her tell her; I can understand that he’s trying to tread lightly, but it also seems he’s dragging it out needlessly.
Unfortunately he reads her wrongly, and Myung-hee’s resulting outburst rapidly escalates. She cries that Ji-an is dead, and that it would be the worst injustice if she were alive and her mother had blithely lived a comfortable life while the child had to grow up motherless.
Moon-ho realizes he’s miscalculated and begs her to calm down, but Myung-hee starts convulsing in a fit of rage, eyes bulging and body seizing up frighteningly. Hyung Moon-shik arrives and takes over, shooting his brother a furious glare. Moon-ho apologizes weakly for saying the wrong thing, but also shoots a resentful look back at hyung.
Outside, Dae-yong sneaks onto the property to get a closer look at Moon-ho. He’s outside thinking heavy thoughts of his encounter with Young-shin, which we see in flashback: He asks to take over her story, warning of the dangers of going it alone, which doesn’t go over well.
Young-shin is disillusioned with the request from her (former) hero, rattling off a list of important stories he broke about corrupt officials—then asks suspiciously if those were in fact his own work, and not stolen credits. Rather than launching into a defense, Moon-ho just tells her to find him if she finds that her story becomes too much to handle. She takes his card with a bittersweet laugh, saying that she’d once dreamed of receiving his card personally, shooting him a glare. But Moon-ho is just struck with Young-shin’s way of speaking and looking at him—it’s just like Myung-hee.
Moon-shik asks what he’d said to put Myung-hee into such a state. She’s been fine lately, going months without an outburst. What caused today’s incident?
Moon-ho says that he received a call two months ago about needing to move Ji-an’s grave, which has hyung tensing immediately. Ji-an’s coffin was empty, save for a few rocks, and hyung was the one responsible for Ji-an’s burial. So Moon-ho asks point-blank, “Did Ji-an really die? Or did you lie to noona that a child who’s alive was dead?”
Moon-shik doesn’t bat an eye and says that Ji-an is dead. He adds warningly that it was difficult to get Myung-hee to accept that truth, and that it would be terrible to change that: “So Ji-an cannot be alive.”
Moon-ho gets a wild look in his eyes as he presses, “If that girl were alive, are you saying you’d kill her? Is that what you did twenty-three years ago? And is that how you took care of Gil-han hyung [Ji-an’s father] too?”
Moon-ho asks if the “accident” was really an accident, and Moon-shik replies, “What would you do if you knew the truth? Would anything change if you went from not knowing to finding out? There’s nothing you can do.”
Moon-ho slams his hand down on the desk. “What did you do to those people?” he growls. Moon-shik replies calmly, “Exactly what you think.”
Moon-shik then goes over to the bookcase and pulls out a familiar volume—the one Moon-ho snuck a spycam into. Ah, crap, he knows. Hyung admits readily that Moon-know is aware of everything that transpired in this office. “But you’ve done nothing about it,” he says. “Nor have you ever stopped me. Or reported me to the police. Or reported it in your news.”
Moon-ho says it’s because it wouldn’t have made a difference, but his brother points out, “That means you’re on the same side as me.” Oh no, you’re pointing out his fatal flaw: the crime of complicity. “Both you and I, from 1992 till now, are on the same side. Are you still unable to acknowledge that?”
Ajumma Min-ja hacks into the Healer’s system, as per usual, and suggests a chat to go over their current circumstances. The SS guards have likely guessed that the Healer was at the scene, and their boss, Sang-soo, is probably figuring out what to do with his link to Young-shin.
Jung-hoo admits that he was crazy for getting involved. The question at hand: What will Sang-soo do next?
At the SS headquarters, things unfold as predicted: Sang-soo hears that the Healer’s relationship to Young-shin looked “special,” and is intrigued to hear that she’s the reporter who wrote that article. They’ll have to investigate her more thoroughly.
Min-ja decides that the best course of action is for Jung-hoo to stay far, far away from Young-shin. Is she stating the obvious or working some reverse psychology? Because I’m pretty sure every time she’s come to a conclusion, Jung-hoo has done the exact opposite. Min-ja argues that he shouldn’t so much as look in Young-shin’s direction with SS bound to be digging deep into her background.
Jung-hoo asks if SS has an ethical line in carrying out their jobs, wondering if they go so far as to torture, for instance, in fulfilling a task. He says “totally hypothetically” (ha) that if he stays away and they never see the Healer around Young-shin, they’ll get more aggressive in pressing her for information. They wouldn’t kidnap or torture her… would they?
Min-ja’s jaw drops open as she picks up on the words that aren’t said, and asks, “Healer-ya, is she that pretty to you?” He chokes on his beer, but I notice he’s not exactly hopping with defenses, and she just barks at him to not do anything.
But her reaction has him thinking, and Jung-hoo tries to pinpoint what it is about Young-shin. He explains that most people see animals as animals—not as things to be thought of as pretty or not. And that’s how he sees all people: “They’re all the same to me. But… among all those people who look the same, she’s a little different.”
He likens her to a leopard he’d seen in a documentary once, which came upon a pack of hyenas while its leg was broken. It was obvious it would lose the fight, but the leopard had attacked first and refused to back off.
He thinks of Young-shin fighting him in the bathroom, and how she’d told him to run away from the gangsters while she stayed. “It’s not that she was ignorant of fear,” he muses. “She was brave even though she knew how scared she was.” (Haha, and then he admits that the leopard documentary made him bawl, and that “even thinking of it now makes me well up.”)
But in any case, he says that running or hiding isn’t his style either. He notes that when wild animals face off, the one who shows its fear first loses. “So if there’s somebody out to get me, I should attack first, before my weak side is revealed. That’s how you survive in the animal kingdom.”
Meanwhile, the cyber crimes cops are also on the case: Detective Yoon and his cop buddy stake out the SS headquarters and note the various characters hanging around the joint, which includes right-hand man Yo-Yo, which apparently is actually his nickname. I enjoy the fact that Detective Yoon projects this air of being the know-it-all veteran who’s been tracking them for years, which his partner takes down with one pithy observation about how he hasn’t gotten very far at all.
Sang-soo informs Moon-shik about the connection between the reporter and the Healer, feeling quite proud of himself for the breakthrough. But Moon-shik tells him not to worry about making any decisions of his own. Sang-soo promises to take care of the Healer quickly, having fixed on a way to draw him out.
Moon-shik’s secretary says that they’ve taken the steps to cover up the assemblyman-prostitution story, but there’s no way of getting it perfectly covered up. Moon-shik isn’t worried, though, because the adversaries are small and powerless, incapable of banding together and actually doing anything effective against him.
Then Moon-shik chuckles over the name Healer, calling it quite familiar… “from way back.” Ohhh. Is Jung-hoo not the original Healer?
Young-shin is pretty sure that her mysterious rescuer was the Healer, and eyes the photo on her wall from all angles, as though she might get a better view of his face. But she doesn’t know why he’d help her.
Yeon-hee informs her that somebody’s waiting for her outside… and we cut outside to the park bench, where Jung-hoo (er, “Bong-soo”) is curled up sleeping like a homeless person. Aw. Pickpocket Ajusshi finds him and brings him inside, and Jung-hoo whimpers to Young-shin that he’s sorry for running away first.
Which explains why Dad’s glaring at him with arms crossed while Jung-hoo admits to being scared and helpless. At least Young-shin described him as getting absolutely thrashed, which earns him a few sympathy points.
Contrary to being angry at him for ditching her, Young-shin is so grateful that he called the cops and is safe that she swoops him up in a bear hug, even saying that she’s proud of him. The three men’s reactions are pretty priceless. Then she tends to his scraped hand, and Dad complains that she’s fussing over him for much longer than seemly, which is adorable.
He’s invited to breakfast, and Jung-hoo pauses to note the potato dish on the table—it’s one of three things Young-shin can cook, and it’s also the favorite dish his mother prepared before abandoning him. You get the sense it’s been ages since he’s eaten with company, and he’s rather awkward about it, in a heart-pinching way.
At the ABS offices, Moon-ho directs his team into finding out more about the assemblyman story, starting with the angle of President Hwang (aka our pimp). But he’s once again flouting his boss, and Min-jae informs him that a different team has been assigned this story. She assigns him to a different one which’ll conveniently require him to travel out of the country, a distraction tactic so transparent that he calls her on it.
He explains that his noona always decorates her dinners with extra touches—flowers and garnishes—and asks her to consider his contribution as those decorations. All the stations will be sending out similar reports, so his will add a different angle. Can’t she do that?
Min-jae remains firm, so Moon-ho takes the sleeve from her coffee cup and starts to write something on it. He slides over the sleeve to her, and only after he’s gone does she read what he’s scrawled on it—his resignation.
At the Someday News office, Young-shin swears to her peeved editor never to go rogue again. Editor Jang snaps at her, pointing out that her article has disappeared from the search engine lists—if she writes a story that nobody cares about, it’s not a news exclusive, it’s just trash. Furthermore, they’ve been served with a notice of lawsuit for defamation by the offices of Assemblyman Kim.
Editor Jang gives her two options. Young-shin says she can’t resign, so he tells her to do the other one: “Do a proper job of it.”
Everyone gapes at him in shock, and he adds, “Either write articles, or find evidence to put forth at the trial. Dig and find something really solid. That’s how we can survive.” Awww, righteous reporter man isn’t entirely dead!
From the copy room, Jung-hoo tries to get pissy ajumma to talk to him, pouring on the aegyo—he calls her noona, then Min-ja sshi, and finally, yeobo. It’s pretty awesome, and at least that gets her to talk, even if only to call him a loon. Grumpy Min-ja warns him that she’s going to abandon him the instant he’s caught by police or sent to prison.
She asks if he means to keep up the Superman act, and he actually wonders which hero Superman was, being famously out of touch with the world. (“There are lots of -men! Which -man was he?”)
Jung-hoo tells Min-ja about a photograph he sent her, and describes two of the 1980 friends as “my father and Teacher.” He asks her to find out who the other three are, because while it would be easiest to just ask Teacher, “that old fogey” is out of contact.
Young-shin bursts in, interrupting his call, and drags him off on assignment.
Min-ja sends that photo on to that Old Fogey Teacher, who turns out to be the motorcycle-riding friend of the 1980 quintet. Min-ja explains that “your student” is starting to ask about Teacher’s friends—what should she do?
Furthermore, she warns that the student doesn’t seem aware of it yet, but his work and life are about to be confused because of a woman… and that if he can’t pull himself together soon, a “change” may be in order. Does Teacher have any kids in training who could take over as Healer?
Young-shin tasks Jung-hoo with playing chauffeur and spends the car ride singing (Tashannie’s “Haru Haru“), to his discomfort. He asks about her singing habit, and she explains that she doesn’t sing any song, but only classics. This is a song she sings on certain occasions, like when she’s super happy… or nervous and restless, like now.
They’re on their way to meet President Hwang, albeit without a clear plan on how to actually get to him. You get the sense she’s winging this, and she’s tamping down visible nerves at the thought.
As they drive up toward President Hwang’s place, Jung-hoo notices the cop car that’s on stakeout nearby, and then they spot the whole army of SS guards standing watch in front of the house. Panicky Young-shin issues a series of contradictory orders—drive past, no stop here, no turn around to strategize…
The choice is taken away when boss-man Sang-soo drives up and cuts off their path, and the rest of the SS guards swarm around the car, blocking them in. So they’re “escorted” in to meet President Hwang in his greenhouse, and Young-shin is introduced as that reporter who’d made life troublesome for him.
President Hwang leers at her mockingly, saying that he likes her spunk and would be happy to manage her as one of his “talents.” Young-shin admirably puts on a brave front despite obviously being terrified, while Jung-hoo wrestles with his need to maintain his cowardly image while wanting to step in and do something. I love the moment when you can see him decide to hell with it and step close to get Hwang to back off, but Young-shin beats him to it and manages fine on her own, shaking off his unwelcome arm.
President Hwang is seething underneath the laughing exterior, though, and refers to the accusations Yeon-hee leveled against him, like forcing her into prostitution and beating her. He grabs some branches out of a case and whirls on his female companion, thrashing her with it and then kicking her repeatedly, demanding, “You mean beating like this, huh?!”
Young-shin seizes up in shock and Jung-hoo quickly blocks her view, but we can hear the sickening thuds as Hwang continues his assault while the woman screams from the ground. Playing the part of the scared rookie, Jung-hoo pleads with Young-shin to run away because he’s scared, but she’s already starting to retreat into her mind—and we see glimpses of her childhood trauma flashing before her eyes, interspersing with Hwang’s violence.
Hwang throws his actress on the ground by her hair, and Young-shin sees her childhood self being flung to a bed. He grabs a golf club and starts smashing vases; Young-shin sees her attacker slamming a metal pole into the door. Child Young-shin walks down a highway at night crying for her mother, which must be the time she’d attempted suicide, which really doesn’t bode well for her state of mind in the present.
So Jung-hoo draws Young-shin close and whispers into his watch transmitter—he gives Dae-yong the signal to do “it” now. Despite protesting that there are way too many baddies around, she complies and sets the plan into motion.
Moments later, a gang of bikers zoom up to wreak havoc on the SS guards outside, pelting them with water guns and flour bombs and generally being a menace with petty vandalism. In the chaos, Dae-yong leaps into Sang-soo’s car, hooks it up to her phone, and has ajumma hack her way into the car’s system. Ha, the thugs can’t see her inside the car and freak out, thinking the car is haunted, and put in a panicked call to the boss inside about his car being possessed by ghosts. LOL.
It gets Sang-soo to leave the greenhouse with most of his guards (what does it say that Hwang is so brutal that even Sang-soo looks put off by the violence?), and Jung-hoo quickly sizes up the situation. He’s not wearing his super-spiffy Healer glasses but he eyes the props around the greenhouse with the same kind of analytical precision, biding his time to unleash some havoc of his own.
Young-shin’s mental state is veering into a precarious state, and then Hwang shoves Jung-hoo aside to kneel before her. He laughs that a reporter should only write about things she’s experienced firsthand, and taunts her to say something.
Despite the trembling and the traumatic flashbacks, Young-shin musters her nerve and stutters at him with full disdain, “Y-you’re t-trash, not even worthy of r-recycling. Utter trash.”
That spikes Hwang’s rage, and that’s Jung-hoo’s cue to act: He kicks over a beam, which knocks down a shelf, which sends vases crashing in succession like dominoes… Powder goes flying everywhere, acting as a cloud cover, and everyone scrambles to grab their bearings.
Young-shin finds Jung-hoo and checks that he’s okay. He feigns cowardice and begs her to save him, and she takes command of the situation, telling him to follow her.
She grabs his hand and leads him out of the greenhouse, and as they run, Jung-hoo sneaks a look at her and smiles.
So many things to enjoy about this episode! I’m a little nervous about getting my hopes up so high for this show because I’m always so disappointed when things falter (I never learn, honestly)—but on the other hand, I shouldn’t hold a drama’s goodness against it just because I’m scared it might not stay good, right? Why go courting trouble?
First off, the mystery thickens: There are many Healers? Innnnteresting. How many have there been, and how many are being groomed for the job? It makes sense from a business standpoint to have someone always in the role, so that your business model isn’t dependent upon one person, and given the mercenary nature of their relationships, it feels logical. It’s just interestingly cold for ajumma to be so ready to ditch the Healer—and yes, she’s always threatening that and Jung-hoo expects that of her, but we have this drama convention where people talk gruffly and are actually more emotionally invested than they let on. So it’s an intriguing dynamic to reveal, reminding us that there’s more to this operation than just three misfits who crack wise at each other.
Moon-ho fascinates me as well, and Yoo Ji-tae is so awesome at showing all of his complexity, making him both very relatable and yet giving him this opaqueness that keeps us guessing. You think you know what drives him and what he’s thinking, but he’s not a simple archetype, and he’s not a straightforward good guy, either. At first I wondered if his guilt was overblown (because he was such a nice guy that he took responsibility for something out of his power, for instance), but the more we see of him, the more I feel like there’s a twisted corner of him that hates to acknowledge that he’s more like his brother than he wants to be.
He’s not his brother in that he clearly struggles (Moon-shik seems quite content with the pieces of his soul that he’s sold) and wants to break free of that guilt that binds them together… but Moon-shik is so infuriatingly right about him being complicit. Moon-ho is no powerless child, and he’s not a victim—so in not fighting against Moon-shik all these years, he’s essentially chosen to let him off the hook. And Moon-ho knows it, which is why he’s so brimming with conflicting emotions, with his self-loathing just as palpable as the outward loathing he exhibits toward his brother.
On the other end of the spectrum we have Young-shin, who’s totally winning me over with her spunk—and spunk isn’t something dramas tend to get right. I find her trauma credible (as in, I don’t feel that it makes her weak or reduces her to a damsel in distress), but I admit having the vague worry that I didn’t want her to always be in need of Jung-hoo’s intervention. And I was afraid that we were going to get a repetitive episode when Young-shin had another breakdown and he stepped in to mitigate things.
Which is why I love that the end of this episode mirrors the end of the previous one, except for the key point where she stands up to the villain and saves herself—and saves him, even if he didn’t expressly need it. Jung-hoo’s exactly right in pinpointing what makes her so appealing, and it’s not that she’s totally brave or that she’s totally weak, but that one doesn’t preclude the other. She can be both, and being brave in the midst of your fear is actually more powerful than if she’d just flipped a switch and challenged him without fear.
That may be the difference between them, in that that’s the sort of reaction I expect of Jung-hoo. He doesn’t feel fear for his physical safety, and he’s so competent that he would just jump right in and fight, and probably win. So it’s a novel experience for him to register that she’s completely not like that, but being afraid for her physical safety doesn’t change anything about her moral convictions. It’s quite inspiring, which is why that little look at the end of the episode feels completely genuine to the moment—like he’s amazed and awed and maybe even proud.
- Healer: Episode 4
- Healer: Episode 3
- Kolorful Palette: Waiting for the train [Healer]
- Healer: Episode 2
- Healer: Episode 1
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- Reporters and buried secrets drive action thriller Healer
- Ji Chang-wook leaps across skyscraper rooftops for Healer
- Healer’s cast lineup and first script reading