Healer: Episode 6
Adorable. I feel like a giddy teenage girl watching this show, in all the best ways (squee!) minus the worst ways (you know, the mean girls and crushing insecurities and parents who just don’t get you), which makes it pretty much awesomely entertaining. I thought we’d had our story well in place, but we get a new game-changer that shifts relationships and setups around, and makes me itch to see how things will play out from here. Why are there only two episodes a week?
SONG OF THE DAY
Jang Beom-joon (Busker Busker) – “무서운 짝사랑” (Scary one-sided crush) [ Download ]
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Young-shin stands up to the thoroughly repulsive President Hwang, just as Jung-hoo knocks over a beam in the greenhouse that unleashes a chain reaction of chaos. While he whimpers in a show of fear, Young-shin leads him out to safety, where they duck out of sight of pursuing thugs.
She takes control of the situation, assessing the hectic scene outside as Boss Sang-soo and his SS minions try to stop his rampaging car. I love that Sang-soo orders them not to hurt his precious car while trying to keep it from running them over. Priorities, man.
Young-shin instructs Jung-hoo to make a break for their car, and he timidly agrees. Then the instant she’s off, his wimpy act turns into cool professionalism as he calls over to Dae-yong (who’s manning the “possessed” car) and tells her to call her biker gang off. While the gangsters are distracted, they slip into their car and manage to screech off before they’re stopped.
The two detectives are still camped out in their car in front, and Detective Yoon watches with hilarious bemusement as a succession of cars comes zooming by: first it’s the rogue car, followed by Sang-soo in pursuit, followed by Young-shin and Jung-hoo making their getaway. Those two screech to a halt and Jung-hoo beelines for Detective Yoon, begging him to take them to the police to report the scary gangster men.
He doubles over with feigned gagging and takes note of the handcuffs in the detective’s back pocket, just as the SS thugs come running up, ready to beat down the escapees. They disregard the two plainclothes cops until Yo-Yo joins them, and apparently he and Detective Yoon go way back. So the detective introduces himself and is ready to hear Jung-hoo’s report—only they look around and he’s gone. His partner feels his pockets and realizes his handcuffs are missing.
Next thing we know, Jung-hoo’s racing along a rooftop in full Healer mode, leaping impressively from building to building. He directs Dae-yong to a meeting location and she, still joyriding in Sang-soo’s car, heads there while fending off Sang-soo’s enraged attempts to pull her over.
Sang-soo does succeed in forcing her to stop by intercepting her with his car, and since he’s still got his keys, he forces open the door. Dae-yong scrambles to get away, but he grabs her firmly and demands to know who she is. She keeps her face hidden while swearing at Jung-hoo for taking so long—which is his cue to come flying at them, taking over in this fight.
Jung-hoo easily gets the upper hand and then handcuffs Sang-soo to his own steering wheel, leaving him doubled over in a comically awkward position while he settles back for a little chat. Sang-soo asks about his relationship to Young-shin, and Jung-hoo says that he was using her as bait to get to Sang-soo. Aha, smart! He says he’d been watching Sang-soo and noted his interest in the reporter, and therefore figured to use her as a way to arrange this private tête-à-tête. (Sang-soo blusters, You could have just come to the office!)
Jung-hoo fishes around for Sang-soo’s cell phone (making ticklish Sang-soo giggle inadvertently) and coerces him into giving up the unlock code. Sang-soo initially refuses, but all it takes is one photo of him cuffed to his car and a threat to post it to his homepage for all his underlings to see, and he gives it up. I get a kick out of how a desperate Sang-soo takes issue to Healer’s underhanded methods of blackmail and threatening, as though he weren’t in the very same business. Hee, Sang-soo’s really growing on me.
Jung-hoo is only interested in the special VIP phone that only lists one contact (“owner”) and takes a listen to a recorded calls, wherein Moon-shik orders Sang-soo to “take care of” the Healer. He’s got a hunch who Owner is and shows a photograph of the two brothers, asking which it is. If he doesn’t spill the information willingly, well, Healer can always call Owner directly and explain the whole part where Sang-soo failed his task embarrassingly.
Meanwhile, Dad and Yeon-hee arrive at the police station, where more SS guards are stationed to await them. They call in to Moon-shik, who also arranges for a fresh wave of news to hit the internet today.
Young-shin gives her statement to Detective Yoon, explaining about her attempted kidnapping and today’s encounter with President Hwang. She names Jung-hoo as a witness, which makes the detective laugh a little since he’s such a scaredy-cat, and Young-shin admits a bit sheepishly that he has a habit of running in fear.
Detective Yoon asks if she knows who Go Sung-chul is, which is a new name to her, and also informs her that she—and her paper, and Yeon-hee—have now been hit with a lawsuit by President Hwang.
She sputters in indignation and hits the web immediately, and finds a fresh spate of smear-job articles painting Yeon-hee as a gold-digging con artist who seduces powerful people as part of her swindle.
Yeon-hee and Dad are thoroughly ignored by the police, who leave them waiting for ages. Finally one arrives to take her statement, and it’s then that they hear that there’s a warrant out for her arrest. Dad protests that they’re here as the victim, but the officer just says they’ll have to take care of that alongside the other interrogation.
Dad’s too preoccupied to take Young-shin’s call, and she briefly considers calling Moon-ho for help. She dismisses the idea, but the situation is dire and she reconsiders. Aghhh, I love the look on his face when he hears her voice on the line, like it means so much.
She asks if he’d be able to broadcast her information properly if she gave him access to all of it—Yeon-hee’s testimony, her hospital records, her text messages from President Hwang. She admits that the video she’d mentioned in her article doesn’t actually exist, and says that she has no power and her paper is tiny and weak. But he’s part of a huge outlet with lots of resources—surely he can make something of it.
Moon-ho shares some disheartening truths about how his broadcaster just buries any story it doesn’t like, pumping out trash instead—because people enjoy trash more than truth. He asks, “Even when nobody wants to know that truth, do you still want to make it known?” She gets increasingly agitated, but he continues, asking why she doesn’t just ditch the story now.
Young-shin barks at him that she just wants to know if he will report the story or not, and that she’ll put her name on it if he doesn’t want to bear the brunt of the backlash. Moon-ho’s face takes on this interestingly twisted look—he’s excited and interested, but it’s not clear exactly what drives it.
Dad and Yeon-hee leave the station in nervous spirits, and he tries to assure her that he’ll confer with other lawyers to help them fight this. Young-shin arrives outside the station just as they’re stepping outside, about to be ambushed by the group of reporters that’s convened outside smelling a story.
But Yeon-hee is recognized and swarmed with cameras shoved in her face, looking like a deer in headlights. Reporters barrage her with questions, and Young-shin and Dad do their best to run interference while Yeon-hee looks shell-shocked.
Moon-ho arrives at his apartment to find Min-jae waiting at his door. While he puts together dinner, she tells him that the Yeon-hee story has taken a different shape—now it’s about scam artists who seduce and then blackmail their rich targets. Yeon-hee’s also accused of conspiring with a reporter to demand millions from an upstanding political figure. Guh, gag me with a spoon already.
In a tellingly casual-but-totally-probing way, Min-jae mentions “the first woman in your heart,” which he says she ought to have forgotten; he’d said them long ago, and seems sorry for hurting her with them.
She points out that no woman would forget comments like that, then reminds him that they dated starting from the time they joined the company together. She’d waited for ages and finally proposed when he never said a word… and his response was that there was a “first woman” already in his heart, and that Min-jae could only be second—could she be okay with that? She wasn’t, which explains why they’re no longer together.
They toast to his resignation, and she asks what he means to do now. Moon-ho says there’s a promising kid he’d like to develop, and he plans to teach the basics and asks if Min-jae will take her on.
Min-jae says he could just have her go through the proper channels at the station, but he points out that she refused to let him work on the Yeon-hee story, and he his protégé’s development necessitates that story. She asks why he wants her to take on the protégé later—what’ll he be doing then? He doesn’t answer, which I find unsettling.
Min-jae’s pretty sharp at reading between the lines and asks who this kid is and what she has to do with his first woman. She’s embarrassed at herself for being upset, and he tells her earnestly that he owes that girl a huge debt. Min-jae asks, “After it’s repaid, will the number one slot in your heart open up?”
He says that that’s his wish. And after the debt is clear, he means to leave far away: “Maybe Alaska, or Africa. Someplace really cold or really hot. I’ve lived too lukewarmly till now.”
A puzzled delivery boy arrives at the Healer’s abandoned building and follows a series of instructions to leave food at a drop-off point. That’s where Jung-hoo picks up his order, and something tickles his Spidey sense as he looks sharply down the empty hallway. But there’s nothing, and he continues on toward his lair…
At which point a man drops into frame from his hiding spot above, silently and stealthily. Aha, are you Old Fogey Teacher?
Jung-hoo checks his surveillance monitors and is satisfied with what he sees, then calls Min-ja, only to get her voicemail. He’s confused at her being out of touch all day, and also horrified at the super aegyo message that greets the call, which demands that her caller sign off with a cutesy I love youuuuuu~!
He leaves a message speculating that the person who ordered him killed has to be Moon-shik, which makes sense if you figure that he had Go Sung-chul hand over a file, killed him, then wanted Healer also killed to cover his tracks.
It turns out that ajumma’s right there listening to the call, purposely ignoring it while she talks to Teacher. She points out that Jung-hoo’s well on his way to finding out the truth with no help from her, and soon he’ll know that his father was friends with Moon-shik.
Teacher makes sure that Min-ja has tampered with Jung-hoo’s cameras, and we see that he’s out there in the hallway. He wonders how much Jung-hoo will find out, and she points out that it won’t take long, and that all he has to do is check the news stories to find out that his father killed his friend over money, and committed suicide when he was taken in for police interrogation.
Ah, and then he calls Min-ja “detective,” which explains a few things, like how she knows Detective Yoon and where she picked up her hacking skills (since Yoon is part of the cyber crimes department). Teacher worries about Jung-hoo’s reaction to finding out about his father, sighing over his dream to run away to a deserted island. But Min-ja points out that Jung-hoo has never once abandoned somebody—because it was always the other person abandoning him. Father, mother, grandmother, and even Teacher.
Jung-hoo’s civilian phone pings with a text from Young-shin, which he ignores. It’s followed by a swear-filled text scolding him for ignoring her, which makes him pause for a moment. Then another message comes in, and she worriedly checks to make sure that he’s okay, asking him to call her to confirm. It ends on a morose “I feel like dying right now.”
Jung-hoo doesn’t reply, but he re-reads her texts with amusement, laughing at her funny word choices. But he lingers on her last line, pondering her meaning.
Over at the Chae household, the mood is decidedly grim as Dad goes over the case. Yeon-hee’s badly shaken and Young-shin feels pretty low, as things do not look good at all for them. The stories cite Yeon-hee’s blackmail demand for 3 billion won, and Dad asks if that number ever came up. Yeon-hee recalls with a sinking heart that once the president had asked if she’d go along for 30 million won, and she’d retorted that money wasn’t the issue and sarcastically said that he should try giving her 3 billion. President Hwang must’ve recorded the conversation.
Young-shin steps aside to take a call, and is simultaneously scolding and relieved to hear Jung-hoo on the line. He explains that he felt sick earlier and vomited and fell asleep, sounding embarrassed and apologetic. Young-shin tells him matter-of-factly not to feel ashamed, and then confides that she has a similar condition where she finds it hard to breathe. But she says it’s not something to be embarrassed about—it’s only an inconvenience.
We see that he’s calling from nearby, watching her from his usual perch across the way. There’s a running joke that always makes me smile, as Jung-hoo once again forgets to talk “up” to her in jondae and Young-shin once again catches him at it. Usually he stammers an excuse or pretends she misheard him, but today he just continues in banmal and she lets it slide.
He asks about her comment about wanting to die, and she sighs that it’s a long story. He says he’s fine to hear it, and she explains about the pickle she’s gotten herself into with the article, and how the press has painted her in the bad light. As he listens, Jung-hoo leaps down from the second story and walks closer to her as she complains about Kim Moon-ho and how she had to swallow her pride to talk to him, only to have him distancing himself.
He gets close enough to see her face as she answers his questions about how famous Moon-ho is, and she admits that she’d liked Moon-ho quite a lot: “He was my idol and my first love and my longtime one-sided crush.”
She tells him about the poster she’d pinned in her room of him, and how beginning last year, she’d been “two-timing” him with another one-sided crush.
Jung-hoo asks who that other guy is, and she just says he wouldn’t know even if she told him: “He’s a nighttime errand boy.” Omo. That look on his face.
He stutters that he doesn’t know what that is, and she tells him that this guy is super famous in his world. She supposes that the rumors of his skills are probably exaggerated, “But he made my heart pound, and fantasize about him. That’s how One-Sided Crush Number 2 began.”
He already looks like his brain is going to explode trying to process this—especially when he can see just how giddy this talk makes her—but she has even more to add. She says that she figured she’d never get to meet him, but she’s pretty sure she ended up doing just that. She didn’t get to see his face, “But that feeling…”
Young-shin gets bashful and repeats, “That feeling…” And then she laughs in embarrassment and resumes her normal tone to tell him that he’s strange, and oddly comfortable to her. Oh, he smiles at that.
And then she adds, “Like… we’re sisters?” HAHAHA. He shoots her this incredulous look, sputtering after she hangs up and heads back inside the house. “Sisters?!”
Moon-shik takes a secret meeting with Assemblyman Kim at a bar, but curiously, it’s the elderly bartender to whom he defers. The Bartender is clearly some high-up figure, and the whole time that he speaks pleasantries with Moon-shik, Assemblyman Kim cowers miserably, knowing he’s in the hot seat. And the Bartender’s smooth, gentle voice has an undercurrent of sternness that make him an ominous figure.
The Bartender points out that there are certain lines that must not be crossed, which Assemblyman Kim did not observe, and that a lot of people worked very hard to make him mayoral candidate. It’s quite troublesome to have all that work go down the drain over one woman, isn’t it?
Assemblyman Kim begs for another chance. The Bartender does not look particularly forgiving.
Moon-shik goes home that night and assists Myung-hee to bed, assuring her lovingly that he never gets tired of looking after her. She asks about his day, and he says that he met yet more sorry types who guard their greed like bugs and their eggs, and wondered again whether the country would be okay left in hands like those.
Myung-hee remarks on how much he’s changed since he was a timid, reticent university student. These days, he’s more like Merlin, the wise and crafty wizard behind King Arthur. She asks, “Do you perhaps want to be King Arthur rather than Merlin?” He’s grown more powerful over the past twenty years: “Do you still feel lacking?”
Moon-shik tells her that he hasn’t changed from his younger days. He may have only been the driver while the others were off in pursuit of justice, “But I still did it. Saying that what’s not right isn’t right. I still want to do that. But in order to do that, I’ve learned that I need power, that’s all.”
She accepts that and apologizes for quibbling, but he’s not offended.
The next morning, Editor Jang is a mess of nerves waiting for a call from his boss, who’d promised to send over an attorney who hasn’t arrived yet. But he’s in for a bigger shock when Moon-ho arrives at the office, and the mere sight of him has they staff speechless and star-struck.
Editor Jang guesses that he’s here to do research on the Yeon-hee story, as in interview them for his news station, but his jaw drops when Moon-ho says, “I look forward to working with you.” Ohhhh. You mean you quit your fancy job at the TV station to work here? That’s awesome.
Young-shin arrives in the lobby a few steps behind Jung-hoo and playfully sneaks up on him, then wonders at the movers who’ve just arrived. They arrive at the office just as Moon-ho is familiarizing himself with the layout while Editor Jang scratches his head in confusion. Upon Young-shin’s arrival, Moon-ho announces that he will be creating a new video department, which will require more space and crew for a camera and editing team.
He talks about buying another floor of the building like it’s nothing (to be fair, to him it IS nothing), and just as Editor Jang is trying to explain to him how they operate, he gets a call from the paper’s owner… who has just sold this building. And the paper. Heads swivel to look at Moon-ho, whose presence suddenly makes a lot more sense.
Moon-ho tells Young-shin that she’ll be very busy from here on out, rapping her on the head and telling her to call home—she won’t be there for a few days. He smiles at her, Young-shin gapes at him, and Jung-hoo… well, he does not look happy.
Lots of layers to unpeel. Let’s start with the Kim brothers, who are both so charming and complicated, who are so in command of their outer facade that it’s difficult to know what version of them is the truth—or if we’ve even seen their truth yet. I feel like Young-shin angling to see the Healer’s face better in that one-dimensional photograph, as though by craning my neck I might catch a glimpse of these men that we’re not being given access to yet.
Do I believe Moon-shik? It’s tough to decide, because I don’t think he’s a flattened villain who just wants power for power’s sake. Even if he goes off the deep end, I can believe that he believes he has noble intentions underneath it all, although I’m still wondering whether he means what he told Myung-hee or whether he’s just really good at telling her convincing lies.
But ultimately, Moon-shik is less of a cipher than Moon-ho, because even if he’s a multi-faceted human, I know how I feel about him and his place in the story. Whatever his motivations, he’s adopted the Machiavellian approach to realizing his goals, and clearly crossed the line into abusing power. Moon-ho, on the other hand… he fascinates me because even when we know he’s not being open about something, you can see his underlying earnestness. Yet he strikes me as a tragic figure, and I have this niggling sense of unease about where he may end up.
His conversation with Min-jae was illuminating, and I felt for Min-jae as the woman who loves him in an uncomplicated way, only to have him return the feeling all twisted up with baggage. I admire her for walking away from a doomed relationship, but also feel for her frustration now, especially with Moon-ho being so exasperatingly flippant. He’s manipulative and shrewd, and although I don’t mean that in an evil sense, he’s not so different from his brother. What will determine his character is what he decides to do with his resources, because it’s not so much about what you’re capable of doing as it is what you actually choose to act on.
I wasn’t sure if we were actually going to get a standard love triangle including Moon-ho, because I could see the guilt angle being quite enough to carry his character without the romance. And I wouldn’t have minded if we left him out of the romance angle, although on the upside, this is one way to get jealous Healer, and c’mon, who isn’t looking forward to that? If we must do the first loves angle, which is never my favorite thing, I do suppose this is a nice way to handle it, because basically we’re doing the opposite of convention here—Moon-ho and Young-shin are each other’s first loves, but they’re not our OTP. And at least it’s not a great big coincidence throwing them all together twenty years later, since this is a story where their childhood connection is actually a reason for their adult connection, not just a coincidental byproduct.
But really, we want to squee about Young-shin and Jung-hoo, right? Her admission took me completely by surprise, so I feel like we were right there in Healer’s shoes when he realized who she was talking about, all stunned and giddy and incredulous. Now it makes sense that she was so drawn to mention of the Healer in the first episode, because she’d already known about him, albeit as something of an untouchable myth.
That “sisters” line was the perfect way to undercut the gooeyness of the moment (although really, I was fine with the goo), and also perfect for their dynamic. I laugh every time Young-shin calls him Bong-sook, which she took to doing early on despite his attempts to correct her. Bong-sook is a girly version of Bong-soo, which isn’t to say she’s calling him a girl—she isn’t saying he’s a sissy, but now it makes a lot of sense in light of her calling him a sister. Bong-sook-ah rather rolls off the tongue more than Bong-soo-ya, plus she’s the sunbae in the relationship so it makes sense that she sees him as this neutered, cute kiddo.
It’s one of my favorite dynamics of the whole Clark Kent–Lois Lane relationship, so I get a kick out of this dichotomy she describes, where Healer is all strength and mystery and unfinishable sentences, and Bong-sook-ah is the kid sister she takes care of. (Not even an unni! Oh the crushing indignity.) I suppose it would be fun to see Young-shin split between two virile hotties, but this way is hilarious in its own way, opening us up for more possibilities. Like the moment when Bong-sook goes from sexless to a sexy challenger to rival the Healer himself. What, like we can’t have our cake and eat it too?
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