Healer: Episode 10
It’s an emotionally charged episode on several fronts, so everybody brace your hearts for some pinching. There’s plenty of cuteness and crushing to go around, but now that we’re at the halfway point, feelings deepen and entangle and get more complicated—especially with more of the past surfacing to shed light on the present. We thought we had a pretty good idea what the deal was, but the show has made sure to peel back its layers smartly without revealing the whole shebang, which keeps the surprises in play.
SONG OF THE DAY
Sentimental Scenery – “추억을 걷다” (Walking in memories) [ Download ]
EPISODE 10 RECAP
With the press conference about to begin, our stealth team prepares to infiltrate the heavily monitored hall to do some muckraking. Assemblyman Kim’s side is taking every precaution to control the event, so that the only thing viewers see is the politician’s polished image of integrity.
ABS has secured sole broadcasting rights to cover the event live, so they’ve got a vested interest in appeasing the assemblyman. In charge of the coverage is Min-jae, who directs from a broadcast van behind the hall, assuring her boss that her team has the event under control.
At the Someday office, Moon-ho takes a few cheesy promo pictures, and Editor Jang asks if he’s willing to take a hit to his hard-hitting journalist cred. Moon-ho recalls Min-jae calling him addicted to his popularity and gives the editor the green light to sell it all for the sake of their broadcast. Everyone will be watching in curiosity (or schadenfreude) to see what Moon-ho’s up to. So give ’em a show.
With that assurance, Editor Jang promises to do his job and create some trouble.
At the event hall, Moon-ho’s sidekick Jong-soo disguises himself as a service worker. Then Young-shin and Jung-hoo arrive, dressed to the nines and strutting in like they own the place. So when they’re stopped by the staff, Young-shin sniffs in her airiest heiress voice, “Why am I being restricted?”
Identifying themselves as guests of the engagement ceremony relaxes the guards a bit, but Jung-hoo’s large bag still draws a stare. Thinking quickly to distract the staffer from inspecting it, Young-shin lays her head on Jung-hoo’s shoulder and says pettishly, “Oppa. I’m about to be in bad mood. Do something.”
I love that we can see multiple layers to Jung-hoo’s act at the same time: He’s the Healer, acting as nervous Bong-soo, who’s acting as the authoritative boyfriend. He reaches for his phone to call his “secretary,” but Young-shin tells him to call the owner of this venue “before I explode.” The staffer hurriedly allows them through rather than risk his neck over offending some VVIPs.
Together with Jong-soo, the three gate-crashers hurry to the bathrooms to prep their equipment. HA, Young-shin charges into the ladies’ room fully expecting Jung-hoo to follow, and he does the same with the men’s room. He wins, and they throw on less attention-grabbing clothing and ready their cameras.
Moon-ho calls from the news desk to check their status, and reminds Young-shin that all she has to do is ask the question. Getting an answer isn’t important, since Moon-ho will be standing by to take over the report from there.
Jung-hoo steps aside to check in with Min-ja, who again pesters him to bow out before he finds himself in bigger trouble. She warns that he’s picked up a police tail—they’re sniffing around Young-shin, and he’s already been photographed. She’s got a bad feeling about this.
But Jung-hoo refuses to leave right now, even though there’s no legitimate Healer-related reason for him to stay. When she presses for an explanation, he replies that he received a job order. She knows nothing about it, and he replies, “It’s from myself. To stay next to Chae Young-shin.” Awwww. No excuses, just the truth.
Min-ja calls Teacher to inform him that Jung-hoo has “broken free of the reins.” Now what do they do?
Detective Yoon pulls the personnel files of all the Someday employees and orders them cross-checked against official documents, with particular emphasis on getting pictures of their faces.
Moon-shik joins the Elder at home just as the press conference is about to start, and they watch together as Assemblyman Kim takes the podium and begins his opening statements. Our trio sneaks into the hall by tagging along with a distracted official, acting like they’re part of his entourage.
Now it’s a matter of finding their opening. Assemblyman Kim begins taking questions, and Young-shin waits alertly for a chance to hijack the proceedings.
Moon-ho puts in a call to Min-jae, who’s busy monitoring the press conference. But he insists it’s important and sounds so urgent that she leaves her producer in charge and steps out of the van to take his call.
When the floor opens for another question, Jung-hoo shoots an urging look at Young-shin to take the moment, but she has last-minute cold feet and shakes her head no. Another reporter steps up to ask his preapproved question, and Young-jae wilts in chagrin, recalling Moon-ho’s reminder earlier to do whatever she had to do in order to ask her question.
So she bucks up the courage and sends Jung-ho a Let’s do this look. He starts recording as Young-shin steps up, interrupting before the other reporter has a chance to speak. She addresses the politician loudly: “You know Joo Yeon-hee, don’t you?”
Murmuring breaks out, but the assemblyman ignores her and the other reporter resumes his question. Young-shin is in danger of losing her opening, and searches for a way to salvage this. She recalls Moon-ho’s lessons, and how he’d told her to throw her shoe at him if it would hold his attention. So she whips off her trench coat and walks right into the aisle, eye-catching in her sleek red formalwear, and launches into her hard-hitting interrogation before anyone can react.
She lays out Assemblyman Kim’s association with President Hwang, connecting their shady backdoor dealings—Kim scratched Hwang’s back with construction deals, and Hwang returned the favor with women, including Yeon-hee.
While Young-shin is setting off this bomb, Moon-ho apologizes to Min-jae over the phone, admitting that he needed to draw her away for 30 seconds, and that he’s sorry it had to be her. It dawns on her belatedly that she’s missing something, and she runs back to the broadcast in horror.
Jung-hoo gets wrestled aside by security, but Young-shin is able to get out quite a lot of information before security gets to her. She turns to the wall of cameras to inform the viewers of Moon-ho’s upcoming report, then hurriedly signs off. Hilariously, she trips in her heels at the last moment, sending her face-planting right onto a camera lens.
Min-jae returns to her post and the ABS broadcast cuts to pre-recorded clips, but the damage is done. And while I have limited sympathy for Moon-shik in relation to him having sold his soul to the Elder, you have to admit it’s awkward for him to have to watch this with the old man, after working so hard to insist that his kid bro was harmless.
Moon-shik promises to take care of the meddling reporter, but the Elder points out that she committed no crime, the broadcast was live, and they can’t touch her without attracting notice. He concludes, “Kim Moon-ho has sent us a serious warning: Don’t touch her.”
The Elder puts his staff in emergency damage-control mode, but they were unprepared for the internet onslaught and don’t have appropriate measures at the ready. The old man is so impressed with Moon-ho’s planning that he cackles out loud, although he must be fuming as well. Moon-shik kneels penitently and promises to find a solution, while the Elder decides they’ll have to cut Assemblyman Kim loose. Would Moon-shik be interested in taking his position?
Moon-ho carries the rest of the newscast, describing the room salon video they were given by a secret informant and showing Young-shin’s recorded interview with Yeon-hee. He closes with a vow that although Someday may only broadcast sporadically, they will not put forth “broadcasts that shouldn’t be made,” wherein people in power abuse their resources to cover the eyes of the powerless. He promises they’ll come back when there are more things needing to be said, bows his head to his audience, and signs off.
It’s moments like this that you understand why Moon-ho is as respected as he is. He’s so damn impressive in that moment that his staff gapes in awe, and Young-shin sighs with shining eyes.
In mere seconds, Moon-ho shoots to the top of the search engine lists and Someday’s phones start ringing off the hook. The team members are hit with simultaneous waves of joy and trepidation at what they’ve done, but take their cue from the pleased Moon-ho, who thanks them for their work.
Jung-hoo clocks the return of Young-shin’s hero worship, and she practically jumps to take Moon-ho’s call. (And, crushingly, she turns around to chat giddily with him, her back turned away from Jung-hoo.)
Jong-soo wonders whether this is a sunbae-hoobae relationship or a budding romantic one, half-joking that he might try pursuing her himself, while Jung-hoo’s face wears this… expression.
Young-shin is ecstatic with the day’s results, her mood bolstered further when Moon-ho praises her for a job well done. She returns the sentiment, saying, “You’re a better person than I had thought. I misunderstood you momentarily.” Ahhh, it’s uplifting to see how her words mean so much to him, even though his voice remains even-keel. He hangs up and murmurs, “Thank you, Ji-an-ah.”
As the three head to the car and load their gear, Jung-hoo clocks the plainclothes cops watching from a parked car. They look away every time he glances over, and he keeps his face averted while he talks to Young-shin, who’s stumbling in her heels. When he offers her her boots, she smiles appreciatively at his thoughtfulness.
The cops remain on their tail as they drive, so Jung-hoo takes advantage of the opportunity when a large truck gets between the two cars. Urging Jong-soo to drive off down a side street, they temporarily lose the cop car. Just to be safe, Jung-hoo pulls the car over and ushers a confused Young-shin out with him, sending Jong-soo off alone. Not a moment too soon, because as he and Young-shin dart into a building, he sees the cops’ car driving by outside.
At least they’re in the clear now, and to explain his behavior, Jung-hoo plays it off like he just wanted to go out for drinks together. Young-shin assumes that he meant to ditch Jong-soo and enthusiastically agrees, conceding that it’s nicer without the third wheel. She suggests a wine bar, but Jung-hoo has a place in mind and takes the lead.
As Moon-shik leaves his meeting with the Elder, he flashes back to the first time he’d been brought here. Against his will, it looks like, from the way he struggles against the burly guards who drag him in.
Sporting a bloodied face, Young Moon-shik glares as the Elder speaks of “growth” as the process of closing one’s eyes, then reopening them to see previously unseen things. Moon-shik spits out, “Lying to the world, giving false testimony, betraying friends—you call that growth?”
The Elder replies that this is how Moon-shik can survive—and also the woman he loves. She can get the best medical care and recover, and then Moon-shik can set out atoning or loving. Hm, so it looks like we’re in the direct aftermath of the mysterious accident…
Jong-soo returns to the office alone, grumbling about being ditched by his partners. He cheers up to hear that Moon-ho’s treating the staff to dinner, and as he leaves, the camera lingers meaningfully on the bags of Young-shin’s and Jung-hoo’s clothing.
On the way up to Jung-hoo’s secret spot, Young-shin pauses in front of the elevator, balking at the last minute. She makes up an excuse about the best bars being underground, but Jung-hoo keeps her from leaving and says that he likes high places, where he can watch people from above.
The wording sounds curious to her, and he explains, “I can see people, but they can’t see me.” So Young-shin musters the resolve and marches into the elevator, although once she’s inside she clenches her fist and screws her eyes shut.
Jung-hoo sees her reaction and slowly moves next to her, his hand reaching out toward hers. As soon as she feels his hand, she’s the one who grabs it tightly and holds on for dear life. While his eyes widen in surprise, she slowly starts to calm, breathing slowly. Ever so gradually, he moves closer and closer, leaning in to kiss her forehead.
But the elevator dings, her eyes open, and he jerks himself back. He leads the way to the roof door, but he doesn’t have time to pick the lock before she gets to his side. He stammers that the key is in his other coat, and Young-shin just steps right up, pulls a pin from her hair, and jimmies the lock herself. He’s taken aback, and she warns him not to speak a word of this to anybody.
There on the roof, Jung-hoo presents her with a makeshift tent, furnished with a couch, fire, and icebox. As they settle on the couch sharing a blanket, she asks Jung-hoo to talk about himself tonight, since he’s always listening to her talk.
But he asks about Young-shin anyway, and whether the person she’s waiting for has returned yet. She chides him to talk about himself, so he muses, “Then… will I do?”
Omg. Is he making a confession? He asks, “Instead of someone you’re waiting for who won’t come, how about me, who’s next to you?”
A pregnant moment, and then she laughs like it’s his bad attempt at a joke. But he continues, saying that if she wants, he can live the way she wants him to: “For a long time, carefully, by your side.”
She sees that he’s serious and asks if he really means it, and he smiles down at her, saying yes. He tells her to take her time thinking it over, but she says she can’t. Touching hand to heart, she tells him, “Right now, there’s no room in here.”
Oof, rejected. He accepts her answer readily—so readily that she’s surprised, though relieved. She comments that he seemed like a different person just a moment ago, and tells him not to be too hurt because his rival is formidable. Jung-hoo plays the part of disappointed suitor and tells her not to rub it in, and they clink cans and resume their camaraderie. (Then she pesters him for details on when he first started liking her, and why.)
At the police station, Detective Yoon’s subordinate finishes the background checks on the Someday staff. The discovery that Park Bong-soo’s real card bears a different face is prevented, for now, by the discovery of more pressing news: President Hwang committed suicide.
Yet more of Elder’s work, of course, engineered by Secretary Oh. A simple suicide note has been left behind, with no signs of forced entry. But Detective Yoon finds the case curious for how neatly everything lines up—the penitent suicide note, the list of crimes he’s left behind, the apologies to the women he abused, and the admission of killing Go Sung-chul.
Hwang describes accidentally killing Go on the train with medicine, slipped in his drink to help him sleep, and says he was haunted with guilt. That liquid conveniently turns up in Hwang’s desk, as does his train ticket from that day. How kind of the man to make this case so easy for him, Detective Yoon says sarcastically.
When Jung-hoo arrives at home that night, who should be waiting for him but his Teacher, all smiles. Jung-hoo looks at him incredulously, as we flash back to their first meeting.
Teenage Jung-hoo is let out of juvie and ignores the smiling stranger who introduces himself as his father’s friend. Teacher follows him and reminds him that he’s all alone now, his grandmother having passed away while he was in the detention center, his mother remarried. Teacher sold Grandma’s home and possesses the funds, dangling the bankbook before Jung-hoo tauntingly.
Jung-hoo calls him a thief and attacks repeatedly, but Teacher knocks him down and prods him to steal the book from him. So Jung-hoo chases Teacher all the way to the abandoned building he now calls home. He goes after that bankbook again and again, day and night, over time learning to fight better and smarter. The training is constant and relentless, growing in intensity and acrobatic prowess until teenage Jung-hoo turns into adult Jung-hoo, and focused rage turns to exhilaration.
But one day, Teacher packs up a bag and heads off for paradise, saying jovially that he won’t be back. He finally hands over Grandma’s bankbook and a phone number to ajumma, calling that his income stream from now on. He says that Jung-hoo becomes an adult today and wishes him well. Goddamn old man, that’s cold. You left him on his birthday?
Jung-hoo calls after him, still thinking it must be a joke, watching his mentor walk away without a backward glance.
So it’s no wonder that the air is charged now, as Jung-hoo faces his deserter with distrustful eyes. Didn’t Teacher say he’d never come back? Why did he never call once? “Did you not want to?” he asks. “Or did you forget? Entirely?”
Teacher says there’s a stone in his gut that twists in pain whenever he sees Jung-hoo. Jung-hoo asks, “Where are there so many people who hurt at the sight of me?”
Teacher holds out the old picture of his friends and offers to answer Jung-hoo’s questions about it. So Jung-hoo asks why his father killed himself, surprising Teacher, who’d thought he didn’t know.
Jung-hoo has known for years, though, having heard bits and pieces from adults who weren’t as careful about keeping him in the dark as they thought. So he’d asked around and sought out his mother, but couldn’t bring himself to ask because she burst into tears at the sight of him.
So he decided to keep it to himself, and that photo was a great consolation to him; he could see his father’s smiling face and tell himself that there’s no way such a man would kill himself. But his ability to believe that ended the day he saw the same photograph in the house of the man who framed him for murder. So he needs to know, because that might give him “a reason.”
Teacher asks, “A reason?” Jung-hoo replies, “Teacher, I have no reason for living.”
He gulps back tears and admits, “And that scares me. That one day I might just decide like my father, I should just end it. I can’t continue. I’m afraid I’ll do that.” Is that what his father did? “Did my father have no reason for living?”
So Teacher tells him what he knows: Dad was a reporter, and in the course of chasing a story, he came upon money. And because of that money, he killed somebody.
Jung-hoo reels. Teacher tells him he’d dug up every bit of news after he was released from prison, but he’d found the story suspicious. Jung-hoo’s quickly losing his composure, however, and declares bitterly, “So my father was a murderer, and I’m a thief.” He screams and kicks things, and even blames Teacher for answering his question.
Teacher faces him sternly and says, “Listen up, Seo Jung-hoo. Your father, Seo Joon-seok, wouldn’t have killed anybody. I know that. You might not, but I do. So if you’re going to get so crazed over it, find out properly. Who killed your father. I quit in the middle. What will you do?”
Over at Moon-ho’s apartment, Healer checks that nobody’s home and then breaks in. He’s been prompted here by Teacher’s comment about a sixth member of the group—the little boy who snapped the photo, who’d been like everybody’s kid brother.
Young-shin sits down to write the Healer an email contracting his services. She doesn’t know his procedure or his fee, but requests a meeting with him—that’s her job request.
Jung-hoo searches Moon-ho’s home until he finds the old briefcase hidden in that chest, inside which is the collection of cassette tapes. There’s also a tattered booklet bearing the title “HEALER” and marked as a first issue, dated May 1981. The cover page bears the line: The media exists to diagnose and heal this society’s pains. Aha. So Healer was an underground vigilante publication.
Moon-ho wraps up his work at Someday’s office, and on his way out he knocks over a bag—the clothing we’d lingered on earlier. Picking up the dropped clothing, he finds something in their midst: Young-shin’s broken cell phone.
Omo. Oh no. He can’t find out before Young-shin! I’ve been so excited about the possibility of her putting together the clues about the Healer that I didn’t even think to suspect that Moon-ho would beat her to the discovery. It’s pretty great from a story point of view, but it totally puts me on edge—will he use this knowledge for good or evil, or if neither of those applies, at least for selfish gain? Will he let on that he knows, or will he keep this close to the vest and use it strategically? Of course, that assumes that he’s put together the whole story, because he may not be all the way there yet.
One of the reasons I love Moon-ho as a character is that I don’t actually know which way he’ll act. For everybody else, we can reasonably predict reactions or at least understand the direction of their emotions—but Moon-ho is smack-dab in the middle (not evil, but also not purely idealistic or naive either) and could swing either way.
For instance, he’s using the Healer as incentive for the police, and doesn’t seem conflicted at all about it—but then again, I don’t hold it against him, because he has no moral obligation to help out the Healer, just as the Healer’s appeal is his lack of moral interference in his clients’ lives. He has an interesting streak of idealism that seems at odds with his coldly pragmatic side. I suppose it makes sense when you think of him as Moon-shik and Myung-hee’s child, absorbing traits from both of them.
I did really love his execution of the internet broadcast, which recalled the freewheeling idealism that drove the original five friends in their pirate radio broadcasts. Moon-ho’s actions aren’t quite on the same level (he’s not doing illegal things or acting with their reckless vigor), but it’s in the same spirit, and it’s inspiring. I certainly felt he’d earned the awe from his team, because sincerity like that comes through. He eschewed the prestige and even his own reputation in order to present the truth, and although the process earned him some jeers, the end result proves the integrity of his motives.
It’s different from his brother, although the flashback to Moon-shik’s first encounter with the Elder sheds a more sympathetic light on his past. We still don’t know exactly when Moon-shik crossed over, but the timing suggests that Moon-shik had no hand in making the accident happen, and may have been injured in it too. No doubt he took advantage of the aftereffects, but even on that score he isn’t shown to be a scheming opportunist. He was backed into a corner, and if he was acting to save Myung-hee’s life first (and not motivated primarily by his desire to claim her for his own), then I can see how he started down his slippery slope. I like that it lends him a more pathetic air, rather than one that’s purely single-minded and selfishly motivated.
That rooftop scene was a classic case of Healer’s magic formula, because it’s simultaneously angsty while also taking the bite out of that angst. Jung-hoo’s being rejected, which sucks, but he’s totally being rejected in favor of his own damn self, which is hilarious, yet because he’s locked into his disguise, he’s not free to enjoy the flipside and has to feel the sting of not being the one she wants right now, and we’re back around to pain again.
Still, even as I’m watching through my fingertips thinking Ackkkfaksdlfjasdsalkdjf, it’s a kind of pain that’s enjoyable. Your heart feels bruised but you’re thinking, More please. It’s kind of masochistic.
But even though we know that the situation is ultimately “safe”—we’re getting our happy ending, right?—the reality is, in this form, Jung-hoo cannot be both Healer and Bong-soo at the same time. He hasn’t figured out how to be both men at the same time, and so, he can’t take Young-shin’s feelings for granted. The guise he is in currently isn’t the one she wants, and he can’t figure out a way for her to be with the guise she wants, so for the time being, he can’t be with her. Thus even though he knows she’s in love with (the other) him, his disappointment is real.
Which is why it was understandable (though surprising, to me) that he was entertaining ideas of putting his Healer life behind him. His confession was most touching to me for the way he was all set to give up that dashing hero side if Young-shin would accept him for his mundane half, because being that hero doesn’t really mean anything to him. Whose heart broke when he confessed that he had no reason to live? I see his falling in love as not only a cute romantic story but a way for him to find meaning in his life, an anchoring that he’s desperately wanted his entire life, without which he’s as lost at sea as that island he envisions as paradise.