Healer: Episode 7
Is passive-aggressive Healer not the cutest thing or what? His disguise is both a handy tool and a hindrance, since he’s bound by his secret identity to behave in a certain Bong-soo-like way… which, on the flipside, allows him cover to act blissfully ignorant while getting to be petty and jealous. I could pretty much watch this dynamic forever, but I suppose if we must occasionally break from the cuteness to deal with plotular movement, it’s not a trial to get additional clues to the deepening mystery and some satisfying moments of payback and advancement.
SONG OF THE DAY
Kim Bum-soo – “Lonely” [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Jung-hoo gets a rude awakening when Min-ja hacks in with a morning call and issues brisk instructions for the flight she’s booked him. Teacher Ki Young-jae has decided that the Healer should take a break and spend a year in Australia, which piques Jung-hoo’s curiosity for two reasons: One, Teacher’s back? And two, why is he being sent away so suddenly?
Min-ja tries to keep nonchalant, but Jung-hoo’s not about to agree without understanding the reasons. We know that Min-ja and Teacher Young-jae want to keep him in the dark about his father, but just shipping him off with vague instructions is hardly going to be persuasive. He’s made progress in his frame job investigation, honing in on mogul Kim Moon-shik, but Min-ja cuts him off to say that Teacher will take over that task.
Jung-hoo disregards her; he’s got a secret identity to maintain and an office job to get to. She bursts out that he’s long exceeded the three days he’d initially given himself, but Jung-hoo says hotly that she called him “Jung-hoo-ya”—it’s a slip of the tongue, more personal than the glib “Healer-ya”—and Teacher skipped out on him and cut off contact. Now they’re ordering him to leave? Nope, if they want to keep him from meeting Kim Moon-shik, then he’ll have to meet Kim Moon-shik. If the Teacher has anything to say about it, he can tell Jung-hoo face to face.
So Jung-hoo gets dressed in his nerdwear and heads out to the Someday News building, only to pause warily in front of it. His voiceover lets us know that his animal instinct is firing, warning him of a trap and urging him to run away.
But he remembers Young-shin’s giddy confession about the night courier she has a crush on. He thinks, “I really didn’t intend to even say a greeting—what’s the point, with people who’d never see each other again?” But his feet take him inside anyway, and he blames Teacher for driving him here (in ordering him away).
As Jung-hoo waits for the elevator, he sees Young-shin’s reflection as she tiptoes up wearing a gleeful face as she prepares to “surprise” him. Ha, I love the entirely unconvincing “Oh, you startled me” he manages to say.
Min-ja tells Teacher Young-jae “I told you so” about Jung-hoo not following blanket orders and asks what he’ll do next. As Teacher replies, we see that he’s actually watching Jung-hoo in person from across the floor—dressed as a cleaning lady, HA.
Teacher assesses Young-shin’s character and appearance with an approving eye, though he deems her above Jung-hoo’s reach. But he supposes that he can see the attraction, and decides that they really had better get Jung-hoo on that plane in short order. And then… well, he can step in next to Young-shin once the young whippersnapper is out of range. I’d make a gagging sound but ajumma’s got us covered on that front, making her disgust loudly known in Teacher’s earpiece.
We head inside, where Moon-ho makes his new status at the paper known to the team. This time we see through Jung-hoo’s eyes as he shoots a suspicious look at the new owner and wonders what Moon-ho’s up to.
Moon-shik receives the report that Moon-ho has sold off stock and bought the paper and the building it resides in. Moon-ho had informed hyung of his intentions so Moon-shik is already aware, but his secretary is worried nevertheless about acting without informing “the Elder” (our mysterious bartender grandpa). Moon-shik shuts the secretary down with one question: Even after twenty years of working for Moon-shik, is he still more loyal to the Elder?
Min-jae arrives for lunch with Moon-shik, at his request. She supposes that Moon-ho is the subject of hyung’s interest and asks for liquor over food; I’m not surprised that talking about Moon-ho would drive her to drink.
At the paper, Jung-hoo looks up in alarm when Young-shin starts closing the blinds to the copy room and fumbling with her pill bottle. It slips from her grasp so he quickly opens it and hands her two pills—oh no! The Healer knows she takes two pills, but he shouldn’t. (But oh yay! But oh no!)
She downs the pills and breathes hard, and grabs Jung-hoo’s arm as she slowly calms down. Apparently the spells usually hit harder, because she says in surprise, “I feel better. That’s strange.” He asks why she’s experiencing an episode when she’s not in a fearful situation, and she chalks it up to an accumulation of symptoms given all the recent excitement. She mutters about those gangsters and that utter trash President Hwang giving her nightmares, and Jung-hoo chimes in that her crush showing up at work probably added to the shock.
Young-shin levels a disapproving look at “Bong-sookie,” chiding him for bringing up something she admitted in a weak moment. But Jung-hoo pulls up a chair and says that he thinks Moon-ho came to Someday because of her. She says no way, but the idea makes her smile and reconsider: “Really?”
Jung-hoo asks whether she has any sort of intuition or feeling about Moon-ho’s motivations—she’s liked him for so long, perhaps she can read him somehow? Young-shin just supposes that Jung-hoo’s never had a one-sided crush, and he agrees, wondering why people have them. She replies that these one-sided crushes happen outside of your control.
He tries to imagine the feeling as she explains: One day she was watching the news, and inexplicably, she felt incredibly moved by Moon-ho. No reason, no control. And another day, somebody was talking about an errand runner who refuses to take on jobs that hurt people. She continues, “They say he’s always alone. He’s on his own in the dark. Nobody can know who he is, because he has to be alone. That feeling—you probably can’t even imagine it, can you?”
Jung-hoo hides his surprise as she explains experiencing a similar thing as a child: “Wanting to be seen by nobody, known by nobody, being alone.”
She recalls herself with a start, grumbling about getting off-track and heading out. She pauses to ask how he knew how many pills to give her, and Jung-hoo stammers that most pills are two per dose. She lets it slide, and he gets to breathe a sigh of relief this time.
Over wine with Moon-shik, Min-jae shares what she knows of Young-shin, which isn’t much. She admits to not wanting to know about the young, pretty woman Moon-ho’s taken an interest in, even if he’s driven more by obligation than anything else. She asks Moon-shik about Moon-ho’s “first woman” and how his recent actions are motivated by repaying his debt to her.
Moon-shik’s gaze sharpens at that, but he doesn’t know any more than she does. He chuckles lightly that they’re not brothers who share those kind of thoughts, but as soon as he leaves the meeting he puts his secretary to the task of looking into Young-shin’s background. He’s already got an inkling as to who she may be, considering Moon-ho’s recent comments about Ji-an’s coffin being empty all these years, and asks specifically about whether she was adopted.
The Someday offices are a whirl of activity, as Moon-ho wastes no time with pleasantries and gets busy directing his new staff. This has the harried Editor Jang in fits, but Moon-ho disregards his ineffectual protests and gives each reporter a research assignment related to the President Hwang/Assemblyman Kim story.
He gives Jung-hoo an assignment too, which he rescinds when Jung-hoo hesitates. But the job is to hunt down President Hwang’s favorite bars and hostess clubs and Jung-hoo claims it before Young-shin is given the task… which frees her to work with Moon-ho. Oh, I love his disgruntlement at that.
Jung-hoo makes a point to shove his way between them, using his meek facade to feign innocence as he asks for Moon-ho’s phone number. Then he pointedly shoves his way between them again… and then “remembers” that he’s headed the other way and shoves his way one last time. Muahaha, I love this. I want him to be petty and passive-aggressively shove-y all drama long.
The phone bit was so that Jung-hoo could plant a program in Moon-ho’s cell phone, and he directs Min-ja to give him access to its contents. Ajumma tries once more to persuade him into making his flight to Australia, but Jung-hoo just tells her to be sure to convey his message to Teacher: He’d better get in touch by the end of the day, or he’ll never call him Teacher again.
Next he heads out in a car driven by sidekick Dae-yong, who wonders why he’s heading out on a job in the middle of the day. He replies that after dropping by “that house” the last time, he’s felt unsettled.
Min-ja calls after hacking into Moon-ho’s phone, which has turned up some very interesting details. First off, the emails confirm that he is indeed the client who paid the Healer to get Young-shin’s DNA. But on top of that, he’s put in a new request: to protect Young-shin, particularly from his brother’s people and the SS henchmen.
Moon-ho begins his first training session with Young-shin on interviewing subjects. She starts to boast of her veteran experience, but he cuts through the bluster and strips her experience down to the bleak essentials: paparazzi stalking, lurking around hoping for photo ops, being so low on the media totem pole that she can’t even score interviews.
In her defense, Young-shin retorts that the people these days care more about entertainment news than politics or current events, and makes a pretty solid case for her line of work. It would be quite convincing, in fact, if we didn’t already know the truth of her higher aspirations.
Moon-ho appeals to those by informing her of Assemblyman Kim’s press conference slated for this week—and he’s thinking to send Young-shin. She should use the opportunity to ask him directly about the whole Hwang/Yeon-hee business, in plain view of all the media. He’ll teach her how to pull it off—if she’s up to it. Which, of course, she is.
Dad goes over the case with Yeon-hee, not that things look any better for them than they did the last time. She’s ready to put herself out there and testify, and adds that there’s proof in President Hwang’s home—he recorded the room salon visits he forced his ladies to comply with, using the videos as blackmail. But Dad knows that they need grounds and a warrant to seize evidence from Hwang, and her testimony alone isn’t sufficient.
Pickpocket Ajusshi interrupts to tell Dad that he had put out a request for some backup, per Young-shin’s instructions to keep Yeon-hee safe. Word got out amongst their circle, and now a whole cadre of ex-cons has shown up, all devoted to Dad for helping them in the past. Aw, it’s adorable how the tough guys all stand at attention and bow to “hyungnim” like he’s their mob boss.
Jung-hoo drives up to President Hwang’s mansion, using a simple distraction (dropping a toy on the ground) to get past the front line of SS bodyguards. It’s a pretty low-tech method for our hi-tech Healer, but I’m not getting the sense these SS goons are all that sharp. Approaching the house, he climbs up to the second floor, enters via an unlocked door, and makes his way inside.
He slips by the inhabitants and strolls right into Hwang’s study, who’s so agog at the stranger’s unexplained presence that he just stares as Jung-hoo picks up a penknife and looks around at Hwang’s collection of antiques. When Hwang doesn’t heed his warning to keep quiet, Healer slashes the priceless painting with nary a second thought, sending Hwang into a rage.
Jung-hoo easily sidesteps his swings, grabs a golf club, and says menacingly that Hwang sure likes hitting people, but probably doesn’t know what it feels like being on the receiving end. He delivers a few hard blows, and Hwang’s screams bring his bodyguards running, though they’re locked out by the heavy doors.
Hwang begs for mercy and promises to give him anything he wants. Jung-hoo asks him what room salons he frequents and gets a name, and advises Hwang not to go around beating women anymore now that he knows how much it hurts. Then he demands the room salon videos and finds a safe hidden behind the painting, which he proceeds to break into with little difficulty.
By the time the SS guards break into the room, the safe has been raided and the Healer is gone. Hwang screams in impotent rage at his lax security while Jung-hoo exits smoothly, not even breaking a sweat. He thumps his chest with satisfaction, saying that the troublesome feeling has worked itself out.
Moon-shik calls in Moon-ho’s jovial hoobae from the broadcast station, Jong-soo, and asks a favor. Jong-soo is utterly gobsmacked when Moon-shik asks him to resign his position and join Moon-ho at his new internet paper, because that’s like asking someone to give up his hard-earned New York Times post to go to a trash news blog. But Moon-shik offers him a position as a deputy director at his own paper and a doubled salary, all in exchange for a few months’ work spying on Moon-ho.
Back at the paper, Moon-ho prompts Young-shin to try a mock interview using him as the subject. The question at hand is simple—why did he leave his job to end up here?—but he picks apart each of her attempts at asking it. Too know-it-all-y, too roundabout, too timid. She flounders for a tactic, and he prods her to do something to keep his attention, even if she has to throw her shoe at him.
That leads into a flashback, where a child Young-shin (Ji-an then) asks teenage “Uncle” Moon-ho to fix her broken toy. But he’s fixated on his schoolwork and doesn’t stop studying—and so, Ji-an starts throwing toy blocks at him. He finds her so cute that he calls her Little Peanut and ends up chasing her around the room. When her parents come home to put her to bed, Ji-an insists on Uncle Moon-ho doing it instead, which he’s happy to do. They’re so freaking cute.
Young-shin finds Moon-ho staring at her with oddly intent eyes, so he forces himself back to the present, swallowing back all that emotion.
Moon-shik receives the report about the theft of Hwang’s video recordings. Assemblyman Kim’s footage doesn’t sound too damning—mostly him drinking with Yeon-hee—but Moon-shik says he knows Kim’s “dirty habits,” suggesting that the videos are a liability.
Moon-shik sees his wife outside and joins her with a warm smile, inquiring after her day and seeing to her comfort. Myung-hee motions at him to look off into the distance with her, sighing contentedly at the thought of the sunset that’ll happen later. At his impatience to see it now, she laughs about the old days, taking us back to their student days.
Young Myung-hee sits with Young Moon-shik at a junkyard (apparently his family’s business) while their friends goof off, saying happily that she’d like time to stop right now. Moon-shik counters that he doesn’t want to stay stuck in this time of uncertainty, preferring to move on. He notes that the other friends intend to pursue jobs at the same newspaper, but Moon-shik isn’t particularly moved by dreams of journalism.
Their bike-riding friend (now Teacher) adds that Moon-shik’s only concern is to stay next to Myung-hee, pointing out that Moon-shik should just tell her that he likes her. Even if he gets rejected, at least it’ll be a course of action. “If you drag it out, it’ll eat away at all five of us,” he says.
He’s outed the elephant in the room but still Moon-shik doesn’t say anything, and Myung-hee looks uncomfortable, making the moment taut with awkwardness. But it dispels as Myung-hee looks up at the sunset in awe.
Young-shin nods off while watching videos of old interviews, when a message pings her phone. The contents have her jolting awake at once: “Now. On the roof. Alone. –Healer.”
She arrives on the rooftop and finds a trail of arrows marked on the ground, which leads her to an envelope containing a hard drive. She checks her phone and finds a new message: “A gift — from Hwang Jae-gook’s safe.”
She can’t see any sign of the Healer but calls out to him all the same, deducing that he’d still be nearby. She asks him to talk to her, and hurriedly blindfolds herself with her scarf to induce him to stay.
Around the corner, Jung-hoo steps out to join her on the roof. He asks—in his normal voice, since it’s his Bong-soo voice that tends to be at a higher pitch—what she wants to know.
She asks if he’s the Healer, and if he saved her in the alley. And took her bag and clipped her fingernail. Now he gives her this gift—why?
Silently, Jung-hoo walks right up to her as she says she’s got a hunch. Jung-hoo smiles when she guesses that the nail clipping was for DNA purposes, and that he’s been watching her ever since, which is how he saved her from the gangsters. But again—why?
She asks haltingly, “Are you… my biological father?” HAHA, the incredulous look on his face. She adds, “Or maybe… my biological brother?” There goes another look. I’m sure it’s not just my imagination (or my wishful thinking) that he’s staring extra intently at her lips, given that it’s all that he can see of her face right now…
Young-shin’s hands graze his jacket, and she only now realizes that he’s standing right there. She reaches a halting hand out to touch his chest, and asks, “Who are you? And who am I?”
The air is full of tension and Jung-hoo’s a bit rattled, but he takes her hand in his. He leans in closer (omg*#[email protected]!%# feeeeelings) and drops his voice: “I told you—don’t go following random people fearlessly. And be careful of people who come near and act nice to you.”
Confused and all mixed up, she wonders, “W-why?”
Her hand still in his, he lowers it back to her side… and then he’s gone. She feels around in the empty air and pulls off the scarf—she’s alone.
Teacher Young-jae is joined at a cafe by Min-ja—and my, don’t these two clean up nice, like something out of a period romance. She notes that the day’s coming to an end—if he doesn’t call Jung-hoo soon, he’ll risk his continued wrath.
Teacher still calls her Detective Jo, since that’s who she was when they first met after his arrest. He was quite the handful with the cops, but he says he believed he could save his four friends if he only kept his mouth shut. Ah, the pirate broadcasting spree must’ve caught up to them.
He served eleven years, but upon release he found two of his friends dead, one half-paralyzed, and one a massive success. Min-ja reminds Teacher that he’d found the circumstances suspicious and wonders why he didn’t dig into it. Teacher says that finding the truth wouldn’t have brought happiness. They laugh sardonically at the word happiness, which Min-ja scoffs as being bullcrap.
Teacher replies that bullcrap and truth can be similar—and that a bullcrappy truth can be one’s fate, which has a way of pulling people in. That’s what’s happening to Jung-hoo. Min-ja: “You don’t always find happiness at the end of the truth. It could be hell.” Teacher: “But you can’t help it, since it’s fate.” They toast.
Young-shin dives into the hard drive of video footage, though her thoughts remain fixated on her encounter with the Healer, just as his are. He nearly runs a red light in his distraction, while she cuts her finger on a pop-top can (proving her father’s warnings about cans true).
Closing her eyes, she relives the moment of being in touching range of the Healer, and at the same time, Jung-hoo replays her words about understanding the Healer’s loneliness.
Moon-shik steps into his study and is startled when his hidden compartment opens up of its own accord. A voice warns him that his security cameras will be displaying dummy footage, warning him not to call for help and cause a scene. Moon-shik guesses that it’s the Healer, and Jung-hoo confirms.
Jung-hoo directs Moon-shik to sit and watch the screen, which plays footage familiar to him—it’s the file he tasked the now-dead Go Sung-chul with delivering to the Healer… and also the reason Moon-shik killed Go and framed the Healer.
Moon-shik feigns ignorance, but Jung-hoo says that this is footage he killed to protect, which makes it very interesting. With his excellent hacking skills, it would be the easiest thing to insert that footage into the evening news broadcast. That threat has Moon-shik concerned, probably because of the face we can recognize in the video—our enigmatic Elder.
Moon-shik reminds him that the Healer is known for carrying out his customers’ orders without stealing or blackmailing. Jung-hoo replies that it’s true, until somebody tries to frame him for murder. Moon-shik asks how much money he wants, but Jung-hoo sighs that people always resort to money, which he’s rather tired of.
So what does he want? “The real killer,” Jung-hoo answers. He gives Moon-shik three days to turn over the culprit to the police if he wants to keep the video private. Moon-shik scoffs that he can’t trust him to honor that, but Jung-hoo points out that business would tank if news leaked of the Healer intercepting a client’s delivery and blackmailing him with it. Jung-hoo flicks off the lights and reaches for the doorknob… which twists open before he reaches it.
The door swings open on a startled Myung-hee, who gets a completely unobstructed glimpse of his face. Jung-hoo quickly turns away, but she’s already gotten a look and exclaims, “Joon-seok-ah!”
He looks at her in surprise—as does Moon-shik, who recognizes the name. Far from afraid, she looks happy to see him, repeating, “You’re Joon-seokie, aren’t you?”
Ooh, so Jung-hoo is a dead ringer for his dad, is he? (I had to look it up, since Jung-hoo’s father hasn’t been mentioned much, but yes, Seo Joon-seok is his father.) It’s a great moment to go out on, because the encounter means something different to each of the three people, and sets them up for major discoveries. Moon-shik isn’t the type of man to shrug off coincidences so he’s bound to look deeper into the Healer’s identity, and Myung-hee, while oblivious till now, is not a dummy. I don’t expect her to see the extent of Moon-shik’s dark side, which he hides so well behind his doting care, but I do want to see her start wondering. And Jung-hoo’s already suspicious of his Teacher’s connection to this whole thing and sensing secrets being kept from him.
It’s gratifying to hear that Teacher is totally aware of the fishiness of what happened with his friends, even though he’s chosen to willfully ignore the truth. I can see how he might have arrived at that conclusion—it’s frustrating for the sake of those wronged friends, but given that he couldn’t revive the dead or fight those in positions of power, I understand his decision to go underground and take long vacations to Pacific islands.
In this way, it feels like you do really need a new-generation Healer to take the investigation to the next level, because the ones with direct knowledge of the incident aren’t willing to pursue it. Jung-hoo has that thirst and curiosity to follow his accursed “fate,” as Teacher calls it, even if he doesn’t even know quite what he’s chasing. It’s akin to pulling a piece of string and unraveling a whole sweater. It makes Moon-ho something of a pitiable character too, being caught in between the two worlds (and times) as he is—unable to move on, but needing to move on if he is to get anything done.
The show still makes me the giddiest when we’re dealing with Jung-hoo and Young-shin, but I do also find the handling of the past storyline to be deft and compelling. First off, they’re rooted in characters and relationships, which is a surefire way to induce us to care about things that are long over. And Healer in particular makes a strong case for intertwining the timelines, because you can see how the past has a direct consequence in the present, which prevents characters like Moon-shik and particularly Moon-ho from feeling lost in their pasts.
I loved that moment when Moon-ho thinks back to Li’l Peanut and comes back to the present moment, his eyes so full of feeling that he can’t quite hide it. He seems to have conflated his guilt and love for Myung-hee with Young-shin, and I wonder if he’s able to see either woman for herself, or if his grief and guilt have just grown so big so as to become one huge tangled mass of feeling. It can’t be healthy, but that’s why he’s so determined to right this ship, after all.
But above all, I’m just super happy that the drama’s making sure to give us at least one good meaty scene of Jung-hoo/Young-shin development in every episode. The progress is significant enough to satisfy the craving, but not the overall addiction—just enough to keep you on the hook for the next dose. Evil, crack-peddling producers.