Rating:
Average user rating 4.8
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Kolorful Palette: Waiting for the train [Healer]

Healer is off to a decent—but not fantastic—start and that’s actually something I feel surprisingly happy about. This year’s slew of dramas have been full of great beginnings and at this point I’ve started to dread having my hopes dashed (I don’t think I’ve ever left so many dramas unfinished). Healer had a perfectly enjoyable first week, but I’m probably more likely to keep enjoying it with a set of realistic expectations in place, and I won’t be so crushingly disappointed if I ultimately end up dropping it. In the meantime it’s something that feels fresh, and offers a nice change of scenery from the more regular fare I’ve been watching.

So far my favorite part of this show has actually been Yoo Ji-tae as Reporter Kim Moon-ho, and I don’t even think I’ve seen Yoo Ji-tae in anything before (I guess I need to watch more movies). He actually feels like the lead so far since he’s had so much screen time, not to mention the most emotional complexity and and a strong connection to all the other main characters. I’m certainly the most invested in his story and I don’t think I fully understand his motivations yet but I want to. He’s that approachable but somewhat mysterious type of person that it’s hard not to be drawn to, and we’ve already been shown that he has many facets to his persona. I can even see him making some dark choices if he’s pushed hard enough, and that could get interesting. Good old brotherly rivalry. Classic.

Moon-ho may be great, but the actual lead isn’t too shabby himself. I think we’re supposed to feel sorry for Jung-hoo since he eats take-out alone in a dark underground apartment, but for some strange reason I find myself admiring him. He knows what he wants and doesn’t seem unhappy or like he’s yearning for another life. Playing full-scale video-game tennis and living on a gorgeous private island doesn’t seem particularly terrible, and I almost wish he would achieve his current dreams instead of falling in love and changing. I even sort of like that he’ll take on any job, regardless of its moral implications. I’m borderline concerned that I feel this way, but I think it’s just nice to have a lead who doesn’t live either a completely miserable life or a pure and self-righteous one. Jung-hoo simply does his job well without holding himself to any lofty ideals or sacrificing what he wants for others, and we rarely see that in dramas. He’s selfish in a mature and realistic way, and although that’s not a trait I value in real life, I apparently admire it on TV.

The fact that Jung-hoo is so slick and collected also provides some extremely amusing contrast when something finally does break through his cool exterior. Probably my favorite detail from the entire first two episodes was the look on his nerd-disguised face while he watched Young-shin dance with her father in the cafe. This is a guy who barely even blinked when he saw his own photo in the bedroom of his target (Young-shin), but was consumed with sheer horror at the sight of her shamelessly dancing to bad music. It cracked me up.

I suppose I can’t complain about the characters at all because I’m actually loving Young-shin too. This is quite possibly my favorite role for Park Min-young, whose characters often end up coming off as a bit vacuous (even when they’re supposedly intelligent). In Healer she may not be book-smart, but it’s still the most savvy I’ve seen her and I was actually impressed that she can pull off a quick-talking, quick-thinking, risk-taking reporter so well. I’m used to seeing her a lot more wide-eyed and a lot less obviously capable, but this type of character suits her much better.

This scene I drew is from the subway tunnel right before Jung-hoo enters badass mode and takes out his competitors. I honestly had a lot of good scenes to choose from (a good problem to have) but this shot felt the most different from what I’ve drawn recently and had the added benefit of getting my brain working (even with simple images it’s surprising how much trickier it can feel to draw on black paper instead of white). I’m tempted to keep watching Healer even if it takes a turn for the worse just so I can keep drawing Jung-hoo look cool. I’m a bit shallow when it comes to such things.

Based on what I’ve written so far it probably seems odd that I’m not completely smitten with this show, but it does have its flaws. Probably its biggest issue is the pacing and abrupt changes in tone. In the first episode we jumped around from intense action to confusing family backstory to cutesy tabloid reporting, and it didn’t all mesh very well (the music didn’t help). The worst was the ending “cliffhanger” where Young-shin fell into Jung-hoo’s arms on the bus. Considering they had never met it had literally zero impact, and finishing an episode with an eye-roll is never a good thing. Thankfully it was a one time incident, and I was very grateful to see that the future skinship scenes didn’t feel remotely romantic (which suits the characters at this point in time). The scene where Jung-hoo robbed Young-shin and then clipped her fingernail was one such scene, and that scene was great in a lot of different ways. It was appropriately terrifying for Young-shin, but business-like for Jung-hoo, and it was well-choreographed to boot. It’s clear that Young-shin knows some self-defense, but Jung-hoo very specifically counters all her moves. Usually if a girl in a drama knows one judo flip she’s good to go, so it’s nice to see that basic training can actually be countered by advanced training. There aren’t usually a lot of in-betweens when it comes to damsels in distress versus ultimate girl-power, but I love in-betweens (you’ve probably noticed).

My other big beef with this show is the glasses. I can’t help but think that Jung-hoo would be so much cooler without technology from the future in a pair of glorified safety goggles. Can’t he just be scarily competent in his own right, Bourne Identity style? He’s at his best when he’s not using them, and this isn’t sci-fi or some Avengers movie where we’re going to nerd out over tech. It’s a small thing, but it annoys me frequently, and somehow takes away from the intensity of Jung-hoo’s scenes.

Overall though, the concept behind Healer has a lot of potential, and I think that concept could be much more fully realized if a primary tone was decided on. Personally I’d hope for something that feels slick and stylish with compelling action scenes, but we’ll see. Either way, I’ll be tuning in next week.

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Yay, more people watching Healer! Thank you Fanderay!!
I actually think the glasses look cool, mainly because not many kdramas use sci-fi elements. And the glasses is pretty much important device to keep him connected with hacker ahjumma.

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I too like the glasses, butthe technology behind them does seem to be overboard. Not that I mind though.

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I dunno, with hacker ajumma behind the scenes the goggles don't seem too contrived. And they seem to be more for her benefit than his- so she can see through his eyes and get additional info via visual data. Especially since they apparently don't like going in to anything with a plan, and seem to prefer making things up on the fly. I especially think it's good for the story so they don't have to go through any additional steps of explaining what's happening to ajumma.

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Yeah, at first I didn't like the glasses, but there's a scene in episode 2 (cafe scene) when he uses them to take a snapshot of someone (which is actually pretty plausible) and from that, Hacker Ahjumma identifies the person right away. I definitely found it helpful there. Also, for getting the videos of Young-shin to Moon Ho. Maybe he would look cooler without them, but then it would feel like him and Ahjumma aren't as much of a team because she's not seeing and commenting on everything. I definitely think the interactions between them make all the missions funner to watch. Also, it's not like they're throwing out a bunch of different spy gadgets. As long as they keep it simple with the glasses, I'll be good.

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Fanderay, how can you say that?

Would you prefer a drama that started off decent, but not fantastic, and from then on, was fantastic...

Or would you prefer a drama that started off fantastic and was fantastic all the way through?

And because people keep on comparing it to City Hunter, I think it goes without saying that City Hunter will be better.

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Well, I actually see what she means by this. And it is an opinion she likely formed from some of the dramas this year, which is completely understandable.

I personally thought the start was better than decent, if not quite fantastic. But this is because I actually weirdly enjoy how all the different tones and elements in Healer fit together. I don't mind the pacing or the changes in tone and even enjoyed them. I also don't mind the glasses.

And as far as City Hunter, well, I think it's too soon to say. This drama could be just as good in different ways. It has a completely different story to tell and something that I like here, is that the underlying backstory is being revealed slowly (unlike in City Hunter, in which we get the backstory that sets all the events in motion right away). I'm enjoying all the different layers here and can't wait to find out what happens next.

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Thats a wonderful picture you drew of Seo Jung Hoo.
And thanks for the summary of the show.

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I like the glasses because, among other things, they are the most effective disguise I have seen undercover heroes use in recent dramas.

The hoodie and hat, on the other hand, are so distinctive they are getting ridiculous. I expected Young-shin, in their last encounter, to wave at him and say: "Hi, Healer, how's it hangin'?" The last few days, she's spent more time close-up to him in that hoodie than she's spent with anyone else she knows. She should be able to pick him out of a crowd like Waldo.

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I cannot agree more with the Yoo Ji-tae commentary. I am really invested into his Kim Moon-ho the hot reporter character. I choose to be intrigued about his intentions and I have this weird feeling that, while not intended, he is shaping to be the protagonist with much conflicts that he needs to resolve. But then, there's the Healer. This Yoo Ji-tae hot oppa/ahjusshi must stop stealing the scene. I am so into him and his character that I would find it real sad if he falls for Young-shin and not get her. Haha!

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Frankly it would be off puting if Moon-Ho feel for Young-Shin. She is almost family to him, the daugther of his noona. Not because she is years younger but because he sees her as family like a niece.

I would find it refereshing if he didnt fall for her and wanted to help because he likes his Noona, her mother so much. Seems like he is in love with his brother's wife.

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thank you for the drawing of uri Puppy.. but please please draw my JiTae oppa too.. fangirl can never be too greedy ;)) ;))

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Thanks for the lovely drawing! Literally capturing the 'dark essence' of Healer in a nutshell.

BUT No Healer glasses = no awesome knitting/kimbap-making/4-Minute-singing ahjumma behind them. IS ALL. :D

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Thanks Fanderay, nicely drawn!

The change of scene and pace, I took as the attempt to set the background for characters and plot.

The music I actually liked, especially the main theme.

Love the glasses that I believe is both a video and communication device with computer input for face recognition. It keeps his hands free and keeps him in contact with ajumma.

This ajumma role for Kim Mi Kyung is my favourite among the ones (mostly mother roles) I've seen her in. More ajummas should be shown to rock like that with hi-tech skills!

And I could not stop laughing at that father and daughter dance scene with their staff covering his ears with tea cups!! :D All the actors' expressions and body gestures were priceless. LOL!

I also found it strange that she did not recognise the Healer straightaway as a reporter with his picture on her wall. I guess we will need to fall back on some serendipitous situations and coincidences to keep the story going the way it should. But I'm enjoying it so far!

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Thank you for the summary.
I really, really enjoy this drama right off the bat!! From Healer to his interactions with Ahjumma, from Young-shin and her father, and then Moon-Ho's friendship with his Noona it all spells out the essence of family.

What I can't understand is why you'd say that a person, who has only 3 phone numbers in his cellphone, plays tennis with an A.I., and his life's goal is to buy an island, but "he doesn't seem unhappy"? It seems more like he's become a machine himself with hardly any emotions. How can he not be unhappy? Working extra hard, non stop, without barely eating. What I get from his personality is he's closed off, a recluse, he said one line to the only other humanoid connection - his subordinate, and in the previews for ep. 3, he mentions being next to Young-shin as "fun". So I think the writer is going to draw him as someone who needs Young-shin to teach him how to enjoy life, and be happy, especially with her weird dancing ability. Lol.
Thanks again

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My issue with the glasses is that I think they make him easily identifiable. After the bathroom scene he runs into her on purpose to attached a camera to her bag - and he's wearing almost the exact same thing as in the bathroom. Same cap. Same glasses. I couldn't believe that she didn't recognize him or at least have a moments pause after the encounter that was supposedly so scarring.

Love the image you picked for this week!

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THIS. That was the one moment that bothered me.

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I can’t help but compare Healer to City Hunter, maybe because both deal with spy-action stuff, and it’s saddening that Healer’s nowhere near the directorial greatness of City Hunter. That said, I still think the drama’s great in its own merit, with its core story very intriguing, and great characters all around.

Like you, I very much like PMY in this role, and think that this is the best she’s ever had in dramaland. I love her spunk and devil-may-care attitude, and how she’s a great foil to Healer’s cool and collected demeanor.

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I always look forward to your artwork and the accompanying commentary.
You never disappoint.

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This is the show that should have been pinocchio except the writer in that one recycled her characters from i hear your voice.

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I love your drawn.

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I guess this should never be compared to City Hunter or Pinocchio cause Healer is way way way much better than those two like a thousand miles away!!.. The acting, plot and thrill is undeniably exciting, no dragging moments... This is just my all time favorite for so many years of watching kdrama, addicting... This is it for now hard to type on my mobile...

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