Healer: Episode 11
More good stuff! It’s pretty gratifying to go into each episode hoping for the best and to be rewarded, because so often we’re met with disappointment instead. This episode makes some huge strides forward with connections being drawn and continued shifts in the relationships, bringing forth some unexpected (but totally welcome) alliances, while hinting at fractured ones to come.
Also, a quick reminder: We’re a staunchly spoiler-free zone here, so please be mindful of not posting Episode 12 details in this thread while waiting for the new recap. I know waiting is hard, but spoilers are evil!
SONG OF THE DAY
Ben (BeBe Mignon) – “You” from the Healer OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Moon-ho returns home to find his chest of mementos open in plain sight, which puts him on alert. A call arrives from an unknown number, the voice digitally altered: the Healer.
Moon-ho knows the Healer doesn’t do phone calls, but the Healer says he’s making an exception to ask a pressing question, “when I can see your face like this.” Eek, shivers.
The lights flick off, and a shadowy figure steps into view. In his normal voice, Jung-hoo asks about the photo of the five friends, and what happened in February 1992. What payment will he require of the Healer in exchange for this information?
Moon-ho answers, “Will you show me your face?” Healer starts to reject that request, but Moon-ho holds up Young-shin’s busted cell phone and says, “Park Bong-soo.” O.M.G. He explains finding the phone in Bong-soo’s coat and links it to the elevator accident. Is the jig up?
Moon-ho now calls him Bong-soo and requests to see his face—that’s his condition for answering the question.
So Healer sighs, steps into the open, and turns on the light. He walks up to Moon-ho, takes off his glasses, and looks him straight in the eye. Aieeeeeee.
Moon-ho holds up the photograph and asks which friend he’s interested in. At Jung-hoo’s indication, Moon-ho seems to confirm a hunch and names the friend as Seo Joon-seok. Then he asks if Jung-hoo knows what “Morumoru Island” is, so-called because nobody knows where it is (mo-reu = unknown).
Itching for information, Jung-hoo impatiently replies that he’s quite serious, just as a memory hits him. He hears giggling children and a little girl’s voice asking, “Do you know what Morumoru Island is?” But he doesn’t quite know what to do with the recollection, and prompts Moon-ho to continue talking.
Moon-ho explains his noona recently telling him about a burglar whose face was strikingly similar to an old friend’s. Now Moon-ho also sees the resemblance, and has deduced why the Healer, whose existence requires such secrecy, might reveal himself to know this information.
“You, with eyes so similar to his,” he notes. “Are you Jung-hoo?”
Oof, so many emotions. Jung-hoo struggles to process, and then the girl’s voice rings in his ear again, calling out, “Jung-hoo-ya! Play with me!” The memory is visual this time: Ji-an chases Jung-hoo around a room while Teenage Moon-ho builds a fort with furniture. Ji-an declares, “It’s Morumoru Island!”
Moon-ho lets the kiddos inside and tells them to play quietly or risk pirate attack (ha, clever).
In the present, Jung-hoo’s chilliness prompts Moon-ho to sigh, “You guys used to be quite close to me.” Jung-hoo picks up on the plural and asks what happened to the girl. Moon-ho replies, “She died. In 1992.”
Jung-hoo has only now recalled Ji-an but it’s a shock to hear of her death. He turns back to the question of his father, and the person he killed. Moon-ho identifies Gil-han—the man next to him in the photo.
Jung-hoo reels, stammering, “H-he… killed his f-friend?”
But Moon-ho tells him that he asked the wrong question: “Your father was a murder suspect, not a murderer.” He died before he could clear his name, and Moon-ho asks if Jung-hoo came to him because he wants to prove his innocence.
So Moon-ho suggests working together toward that goal, and to continue his Bong-soo act at Someday to facilitate contact. Hearing of this later, Ajumma reiterates her opposition: She doesn’t like Moon-ho because he’s a facile liar. Plus, why does Jung-hoo want to clear his father’s name now, at this late date?
His answer makes her gape: “Because I want to tell her. Chae Young-shin.” He’s willing to admit to his thieving Healer duties, but not so comfortable with the my-dad-was-a-killer part.
Jung-hoo supposes that Young-shin will probably want to beat him up for lying at first, “But she’ll get over it right away, because she’s that kind of person.”
He guesses that ajumma’s ready to replace the Healer now, but asks her to hold off until he can clear Dad’s name. He has an uneasy feeling, and asks her to have his back for just a while longer. Ajumma just stares at her computer screen—and the new email that’s arrived from Young-shin. To tell or not to tell?
Young-shin arrives to a bustling office in the morning, busy in the wake of President Hwang’s suicide. Moon-ho directs his employees, sending reporters out on assignment and dealing with server problems; they’ll have to move overseas to skirt interference.
Young-shin asks Jung-hoo for the skinny, but curiously he just ignores her, leaving her hanging. Aw, is he playing the part of spurned suitor? When Moon-ho sends Young-shin on assignment, she automatically calls for Bong-soo to assist, but he ignores her again. To her confusion, he then jumps up to tag along with Moon-ho today, leaving her wondering at the sudden shift in dynamics.
Young-shin asks Bong-soo if he’s avoiding her because of their rooftop talk. He just says evasively, “Um… can you… step aside?” When she asks point-blank if he dislikes talking with her, he replies, “Yes.” HAHA. She’s so confused and disappointed at the sight of Bong-soo walking off chummily with Moon-ho, like the two have become best friends overnight. This is so great.
But the air is strained once they’re alone, as Moon-ho reminisces and Jung-hoo listens in annoyance. Moon-ho says he should’ve guessed his identity sooner, to which Jung-hoo snaps, “That would never have happened.” He bristles at Moon-ho’s familiarity and asks, “Are you going to keep doing that? Acting friendly?”
Moon-ho eyes him with sympathy as he asks how he ended up as the Healer, but Jung-hoo remains aloof and pointedly calls him Boss. Moon-ho reminds him that he used to call him Uncle.
They arrive at Moon-ho’s family junkyard, which he describes as home base for the friends and their pirate broadcasting activities. We see the flashback through his perspective, playing near his father while the friends worked and goofed off together. Moon-ho recalls, “The scenes in my memory are all like that—they’re laughing, caring, and warm.”
Jung-hoo cuts him short every time Moon-ho’s nostalgia gets too long-winded for him, and when Moon-ho mentions feeling glad to reunite with an old acquaintance, Jung-hoo says curtly that he doesn’t need to know that feeling.
Moon-ho asks kindly, “Do you have any friends? And do you have anyone to ask whether you have friends?”
Jung-hoo can’t meet his eye, and fidgets uncomfortably before putting up his bravado again, saying that he doesn’t trust Boss yet. He points out Moon-ho’s extensive investigation of Young-shin, while acting none the wiser to her face. He advises Moon-ho to drop the interest in him.
Moon-ho returns to his recounting, arriving at that day in 1992. In flashback, we see Gil-han and Joon-seok arriving together to see Moon-shik. Established as a hit reporter-photographer duo, they’re working on a new story and ask Moon-shik to borrow a car. Slush funds are being transferred tomorrow, and they want to follow; they even enlist Moon-shik as driver, like old times, so he can be in on the action.
Moon-ho recalls how the three friends headed out the next morning… and then Gil-han was dead, and Joon-seok arrested for killing him. And Moon-shik was the witness.
Moon-ho arrives at the point at hand: They need to get to the police records of Joon-seok’s interrogation when he was arrested. Moon-ho has been blocked at every turn, and he hands over a package containing all his research. He admits that he couldn’t trust the Healer either, and that he tipped off the police that the Healer would be lurking near Young-shin.
Annoyed, Jung-hoo excuses himself and heads off. Watching his exit, Moon-ho envisions Joon-seok walking next to Jung-hoo, as father and son display the exact same mannerisms. It brings a tear to his eye.
Detective Yoon and his partner find it suspicious how quickly the Hwang suicide is being wrapped up. Hwang’s suicide note is awfully convenient and informative, naming several names of important politicians as bribe-takers.
Thus Detective Yoon concludes that the Healer has aligned himself with powerful people, because they’ve managed to free him from murder suspicions very easily. Ack, a shrewd inference, except it’s wrong! Detective Yoon is just smart enough to be a royal pain in the ass—he knows enough to cause trouble, but not to solve it.
Thankfully, ajumma’s faster than Detective Yoon and hacks into the database to doctor Bong-soo’s driver’s license. An officer had pulled it up previously when it bore the original face, but he’d been distracted before showing it to Detective Yoon.
Anticipating the media furor, the Chaes arrange to have Yeon-hee moved to another location, with the family of a former client that Dad defended pro bono. Dad and Young-shin both awkwardly decline drawn-out goodbyes, only to have Yeon-hee ignore them and give her heartfelt thanks anyway.
Detective Yoon drops by the cafe looking for Young-shin, and takes a look around her father’s office. He asks if her father is in the habit of recording his consultations, and as she’s replying no, Detective Yoon spots a recording device tucked into a planter. And another one in the bookcase. Ack!
Young-shin is totally stunned, but plays it cool as the detective asks if she knows the Healer. He notes the interesting timing of events—Healer steals a video from Hwang, that video ends up in Someday’s hands, Hwang dies.
Young-shin replies that the Healer is known for not killing people, but the detective merely says that info must be out-of-date, since he is currently suspected for two murder cases. He implies that Healer forced Hwang to write his suicide note, or forged it.
Young-shin holds her shock in and feigns indifference to all this news, slapping on a smile.
Jung-hoo settles back in his Healer pad to start reading Moon-ho’s research, while Min-ja gets ready to open a can of worms. She’s finally decided to alert him to Young-shin’s email, admitting that it took her some time to think over how to handle this.
Listening only with half his attention, he tells her to read it aloud, but the moment she reads the subject line (“I am Chae Young-shin”), he jumps up and orders her to stop. Ajumma forwards it, and then hilariously starts singing along to “Some”—you know, that song about the ambiguousness of the dating game: It feels like you are, but you’re not, but kind of are mine / It feels like I am, but am not, but kind of am yours…
Jung-hoo reads the email, rapt. (And trips over his own feet.)
Young-shin: “I am Chae Young-shin. I must meet you, Healer-nim. If you don’t want me to see you, I will cover my eyes again. If you tell me not to say anything, I won’t make a sound… To have you comply and come to me, and watch from somewhere behind me—that’s all I want. That’s enough. And so, this is also a request for a date. Will you accept?”
At home, Young-shin gets dressed with anticipation. Jung-hoo heads for his closet too, disregarding ajumma’s continued warnings against it. She hits where it hurts, though, pointing out that Young-shin has a pretty good life, and can expect to meet a respectable young man with a stable career, who would give her every security in life. Jung-hoo, on the other hand, has never shown his face to her, can’t even tell her his name, and has nothing to offer but random talk about an island.
Jung-hoo feels those words, but counters, “Then… I can just show her. My face.”
Min-ja retorts that revealing himself to her makes Young-shin an accomplice to his accused crimes in the eyes of the law. And that makes Jung-hoo reconsider. Min-ja urges him to leave Young-shin alone, and he sighs that he should at least reply to her question.
All dolled up, Young-shin heads out for her date, pausing briefly to recall Detective Yoon’s warnings about Healer being dangerous. She shakes aside the thought, and spots the cops stationed outside to monitor her safety. Good thing for her, they’re not too attentive.
As she sneaks out, her voice narrates the rest of her email, which informs the Healer how the date ought go to. First, they’d start by walking together, just talking and laughing. She notes the happy couples doing just that as she walks on alone, arriving at the next date stop, a food stand. She eats alone while wistfully watching other couples doing as she describes, bickering about what to order.
Then, time for a movie. She goes to the cinema alone, saying that they don’t have to sit together, that it’s enough that they both see the same thing. She promises to wait for him there, and asks, “How long should I wait?”
She waits in the lobby for hours until she’s kicked out at closing time. She leaves the building in disappointment, shoulders slumping—until suddenly, the revolving doors start to spin, as though inviting her back inside.
She wanders into the lobby until she comes upon a hallway, and it’s lit with candles. Oh, Jung-hoo, you’re such a romantic it kind of hurts. Heart lifting, Young-shin follows the lit path through doors that open automatically for her.
Inside an empty theater, a spot has been prepared for her. She takes a seat just as something dings, and the stuffed rabbit on the table plays a recorded message (in ajumma’s voice, lol), asking what kind of movie she likes. She decides to go with whichever movie is longest—and then, the sound of footsteps makes her freeze. Omg omg. I can’t handle this. I need a higher-pitched word than squee.
Young-shin tenses in anticipation, and Jung-hoo takes a seat in the back row; his face is uncovered, but she doesn’t turn to look. Then the lights dim.
The movie plays (it’s Lee Seung-gi and Moon Chae-won’s Today’s Love), and Jung-hoo spends much of the time just watching Young-shin. By degrees they both settle in and start enjoying the movie, and then it ends.
The lights come back on. Young-shin gets up to find the theater empty, her mood now sinking with the return of reality. Jung-hoo watches from around the corner as she slowly heads for the exit, both of them feeling heavy-hearted.
And then, his hand shoots out and grabs her arm.
She stops there in the open doorway, and they stand there facing opposite directions while being inches apart. Appropriately, she’s in the light while he hangs back in the darkness.
His hand reaches down to hers, fingers intertwining, holding tight. The moment stretches out as they both drink it in, and you can read on their faces how momentous this contact is. Finally he has to let go, but it’s with a smile that she can walk on.
Outside, she finds a car waiting for her, its driver holding up a matching stuffed doll to signal that he’s Healer-sent. Jung-hoo watches her leave with those sad eyes.
Moon-shik receives an angry visit from Assemblyman Kim, who accuses Moon-shik of masterminding his downfall. We know that Kim dug his own grave, but he accuses Moon-shik of engineering this to usurp Kim’s position as future Seoul mayor.
Ever unflappable, Moon-shik has Kim escorted out. He receives the latest message from the Healer, who has agreed to discard that video (the one that involves the Elder, which he’d used to threaten him with) now that the Hwang case is no longer a threat. Moon-shik chuckles and decides, “I want to have the Healer.”
Secretary Oh points out that it’ll be difficult since they tried to pin him for murder and all, but Moon-shik tells him to proceed in their usual way—either bring the desired person onboard, or get rid of him.
Secretary Oh also worries about Myung-hee’s outing today, because she has gone to meet Joon-seok’s widow (Jung-hoo’s mother). Moon-shik acts like he’s calm about it, but for once he’s visibly upset.
Myung-hee meets Jung-hoo’s mother in a cafe, and the latter is too burdened with the past to even look her in the eye. Myung-hee assures her that she’s never believed Joon-seok was guilty, but Jung-hoo’s mother says that in the eyes of the world, her husband killed Myung-hee’s husband.
Myung-hee reaches for her hand, but she draws back. But Mom finally looks up at mention of the young man Myung-hee saw recently who reminded her of Joon-seok. Myung-hee says she knows why Mom left Jung-hoo—to protect him from the world’s censure, because staying would mean he’d be marked by his father’s stigma.
“I’ve lost a child too,” Myung-hee reminds her. “I wanted to meet you and hold hands. We used to be close.”
But Mom contradicts her. Yes, she didn’t want Jung-hoo hearing “murderer’s son” his whole life, but she had another reason. She’d done anything and everything trying to clear her husband’s name, until she was told to quit and remain quiet if she wanted to make sure Jung-hoo was safe.
Myung-hee sits up in alarm—who said that? Mom looks at her in genuine surprise. “You live with him,” she says. “I thought you had to know.” Ooh. That’s got to put a crack in that trust.
Young-shin practically dances into the office the next morning, feeling great. But “everyone” is gone, and she asks where “they all” went, though by “everyone” she really means Bong-soo, who is out on the boss’s secret orders. She sputters in indignation, wondering why those two are suddenly so tight: “Why are they so friendly? Why?!”
She marches up to Moon-ho’s window, and he smiles widely at her while closing the blinds shut in her face. HAHA.
It’s because he’s on the phone with Jung-hoo, informing him about the police records pertaining to his father. Jung-hoo’s on his way to the station now, and Moon-ho suggests that he wait until nighttime. But that means increased security, so Jung-hoo takes a different approach, dressing as a salaryman while Min-ja works her hacker mojo.
Jung-hoo enters a restaurant frequented by office employees at lunch, and scopes out the faces until he finds a target. He strategically trips near him, dropping food down the man’s front, and then smoothly swipes the man’s ID badge when he washes up in the bathroom. That allows him to pass through security, his head bowed to avoid the cameras.
Once inside, he accidentally-on-purpose drops some files being transported by a file clerk, and helps him pick them up. Striking up friendly conversation as they walk to the records room, Jung-hoo is allowed easy entry, and from there he tracks down the appropriate section.
He finds his father’s filebox… which is empty, all its pages replaced by blank sheets. Moon-ho isn’t surprised but is still dismayed, and while he has a few guesses as to who’s responsible, he’s not certain.
Jung-hoo merely replies that they’ll have to find out, then. Connecting next with Min-ja, he informs her of his plan: Direct family members are allowed access to those reports. Min-ja balks: “Are you crazy? Yes, you’re crazy.”
Crazy or not, Jung-hoo presents his ID card with the request form at the front desk. This time he’s dressed as something of a slacker/party boy, looking empty-headed and chewing gum carelessly.
The clerk inputs the request, which pulls up a warning that the file is restricted. Furthermore, this pings an alert to Moon-shik, informing him that somebody is requesting access to the file. It’s the son.
Moon-shik delegates the matter to someone else, since he has another destination today. He arrives at the Someday office just as Young-shin is leaving, and calls her by name, introducing himself. She’s happy to shake the hand of the important media mogul.
Looking utterly unconcerned, Jung-hoo waits at the station, where he’s detained by officers. He maintains a cheerfully blank facade as he’s led into an interrogation room, looking around idly and waiting to see how he’s treated.
So many great moments in this episode. I was dying to see how Moon-ho would use his information, and I wasn’t disappointed—either in his character, or in the way this spins our story into the next direction.
I found Moon-ho’s reaction to finding Jung-hoo really moving, because it felt so inviting and genuine. I haven’t always been certain of Moon-ho’s motivations (there’s such a complex web of emotions driving him that it seems simplistic to chalk it up to one word, like guilt or redemption), but he was so sincerely relieved to see Jung-hoo here in front of him—and then, there was that extra punch when he realized that Jung-hoo wasn’t living a happy life abroad as his mother said, but was actually quite lonely and neglected. So here he is, happy to see him yet confronted with another life whose sadness he’s responsible for, however indirectly. It’s pretty heavy, and a fortunate thing that Yoo Ji-tae is so wonderful with gravitas.
I really felt for Moon-ho’s reaction to Jung-hoo at the junkyard, where Jung-hoo was snappish and defensive, trying to act like he didn’t care while obviously caring deeply. Moon-ho felt like a parent with an errant teenager in that moment, where even as Jung-hoo was lashing out at him, he regarded him with gentleness and acceptance. Anything Jung-hoo might say, Moon-ho was going to take, with no retorts or counterattacks. It may be the closest example of unconditional love Jung-hoo has been shown in ages (or ever), and I freaking love that it comes from Moon-ho.
On the flipside of that is Jung-hoo’s reaction, all full of bravado and false fronts. He puts up that act like he is just sooooo bored by Moon-ho and his feelings, but it’s almost frightening how transparent that facade is, ready to shatter under the weight of too much scrutiny. He has every reason to be wary of Moon-ho, but his sense of longing is palpable, and I wonder if perhaps he’s afraid of his own desire to trust in him.
Goodness knows there’s a long way both men have to travel for that trust to build, but I so want to see it happen. Because how hilarious is it to watch Healer and Moon-ho being buddy-buddy at Someday News all of a sudden? Sure it’s just an act for the outside world, but it’s so entertaining. And as great is it is to watch Young-shin and Bong-soo together, or to watch Bong-soo being jealous when she’s off with Moon-ho, it’s even more awesome to see her disgruntlement when she’s the odd one out and now the boys are suddenly as thick as thieves. It’s unclear whether her complaint is more because of Bong-soo or Moon-ho, and that makes it hilarious.
It may be premature to say she’s jealous of Bong-soo being closer to somebody else other than herself, but I would dearly love to see her unconsciously missing him, and taking a while to realize why. I love how Bong-soo’s reaction is the completely normal thing for a guy who’s been rejected, and yet in this case we know it’s completely faked, and that her angst is unwarranted. But it’s also satisfying, in true Healer fashion, since it’s so much fun to watch the scenario play out the obvious way while knowing that there’s another layer going on. So she can stew for a little while, and I can enjoy seeing her pout that Bong-soo’s no longer hanging on her every word.
Not that the girl has anything to complain about, not after her Healer date. I loved everything about this date, from the way she made the first move (particularly after he tried but failed to think of a way to keep in touch) to the way he executed the details. There are certainly things that Korean dramas may not pull off well, but one thing that really works for me is in the instances of repressed emotion that become somehow much more powerful than the grand declarations or gestures.
The scene is utterly simple, with no words exchanged and little physical movement—but we feel every beat and understand the feelings from moment to moment. The hand-hold is one thing, but even better for me was the expressions on their faces in the moment, not despite their distance but because of it. They’re looking in opposite directions, facing away, separated by the doorway, but it’s like they’re feeling every aspect of their closeness in a palpable way. I love the small touches that carry meaning, such as Young-shin being literally awash in light while Jung-hoo’s shrouded in shadows, her dressed in white, him in black. They have one point of connection—literally, and symbolically—but it’s an intense one nonetheless. For now, it’s enough for them, as Young-shin noted in her email… although okay, fine, I’ll always want more. Gah, now I’m getting greedy because I just keep wanting more. At least I know better than to be ungrateful. Thank you, Healer-ya! Also, please give me more of all the things!
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