Healer: Episode 14
Oof. It’s a wrenching episode, taking us on a roller coaster ride of wild emotional ups and downs. Our hero has to grapple with some weighty, nearly unbearable, burdens, struggling to make sense out of the insensible. Thankfully for him, he isn’t as alone in the world as he thinks he is—and thankfully for us, roller coasters have upswings to counter the violent downs. Up, up, and away!
SONG OF THE DAY
Yellow Monsters feat. Horan – “Dear” [ Download ]
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Teacher dies. Jung-hoo arrives at the station in time to see his body being wheeled out to an ambulance, and his knee-jerk reaction is to charge at the scene furiously.
Dae-yong and several buddies are thankfully on hand to hold him back, though it’s a struggle. He flings them aside a few times, but they manage to prevent him from being spotted and drag him out of sight. It’s a good thing, too, because Detective Yoon just misses spotting Jung-hoo, keeping Healer undetected for the time being.
Dae-yong blocks Jung-hoo’s path to the car, and Jung-hoo slumps down against it, suddenly weakened. He reels, physically winded.
Then he gets in the car anyway, shoving Dae-yong aside, and drives off. Gah, not in that condition!
Min-ja is just as devastated by the news, and answers Dae-yong’s call with a heavy heart. But she pulls herself together to address the problem of their rogue Healer. So she puts in a phone call to Moon-ho, not bothering to introduce herself; she doesn’t need to, because the second she drops Teacher’s name, Moon-ho’s all ears.
Jung-hoo storms into the hospital with a single-minded goal, and his rage provides a tunnel vision that makes him think nothing of beating down the poor doctors who get in his way. He gets to the morgue efficiently—but once there, he hesitates, trembling in trepidation.
As soon as Moon-ho arrives at the hospital, Detective Yoon recognizes him and stops him to ask a few questions. Moon-ho’s got bigger concerns right now, but he can’t just shake off the curious cop.
Jung-hoo enters the exam room and has difficulty approaching the body, his hands shaking as he draws back the sheet. One look at Teacher’s face is all he needs, and the tears spring forth immediately, even as he says, “It’s not true, right? I remember how you played a trick on me last time just like this, you know. So get up. Teacher.”
He asks pleadingly, but reality is slowly setting in. Slowly, Jung-hoo sinks to the ground in a crouch.
Detective Yoon leads Moon-ho down to the morgue, and along the way they encounter the unconscious orderly in the hallway. While the detective calls for help, Moon-ho hurries forward to the morgue ahead of him—but when he arrives, the exam room is empty.
Moon-ho moves to draw the sheet over Teacher’s head, but pauses—this must be the first time in over a decade that he’s seen his hyung’s face. He wells up with tears.
When the detective asks how he knows Teacher, Moon-ho replies that this man was like family to him. Tears dripping down his face, Moon-ho leans over the body and promises, “Hyung, I’ll take care of this now.”
His reaction to the supposed Healer’s death naturally makes the detective wonder, and I’m hoping this doesn’t signal complications for Moon-ho… even though it totally will, right? Detective Yoon calls for reinforcements to beef up his investigation, and anticipates that they’ll have “guests” dropping in to get Teacher’s statement. They’ll have to set a trap.
As Jung-hoo drives off, he thinks back to earlier days with Teacher, such as the time he’d proudly presented Jung-hoo with home-cooked birthday soup (which did not go well). Then there was the time Jung-hoo had presented Teacher with his high school equivalency certificate and “won” a promised briefcase from the Teacher (which was full of porn, HA).
A car overtakes him on the road, then screeches to a halt in front of him, forcing Jung-hoo to stop. Jung-hoo tries to drive around it, but Moon-ho literally puts himself in front of the car, then grabs to hold Jung-hoo back while explaining that a woman called to tell him he’d be coming this way. And that he’d be out to kill.
Moon-ho blocks his path with his body and pleads, “Don’t do it! Don’t! You’d become a murderer because of bastards like that? Why?!” Moon-ho continues to try to stop Jung-hoo, who keeps knocking him aside, not giving up even after receiving several hard blows. Jung-hoo isn’t so far gone that he’ll seriously hurt Moon-ho, though, and stops himself from delivering a severe punch. Moon-ho gasps out that his teacher wouldn’t have wanted him to do this.
Jung-hoo asks in frustration what he has to do, and Moon-ho’s promise to figure something out isn’t good enough—he needs something now. He bursts out that he’s like this because there’s nothing he can do, so he demands that Moon-ho tell him something.
Moon-ho yells back that he’s felt this way for the past twenty years, fighting the frustration of being unable to do anything. Oof, you know, that is a very good point.
“So just give me a little time,” Moon-ho asks. “I’ll find a way.”
But now Jung-hoo turns the blame inward: “I called Teacher here. He didn’t want to come, but I called him. I made him talk about things he didn’t want to talk about, and got angry when he did. And because I was angry, even though he was here for the first time in eight years, we didn’t eat a single meal together. But that damned old man…”
Jung-hoo’s really struggling, and Moon-ho tells him to go ahead and cry. Instead, Jung-hoo bellows his frustration, then gets back in his car. Moon-ho blocks his car door and swears to take down every single evildoer and make them pay for their crimes, asking Jung-hoo to trust him.
Jung-hoo asks, “How? Aside from stopping me, what can you do?” Moon-ho doesn’t have an answer, and he finally steps back. Jung-hoo drives off.
Moon-shik receives reporters at home for an interview, now that he’s a mayoral candidate, and Myung-hee keeps up appearances as the loving wife in front of the cameras. But her face is stony when she listens to Moon-shik giving his interview, as he laughs how it’s both his strength and weakness that he’s exactly the same on the inside and outside: “I can’t hide a thing!”
Young-shin is puzzled when she can’t get a hold of Bong-soo. The boys were at her place all night working, and he supposedly only stepped out to go running, but never returned. Reporter Yeo points out that Bong-soo has a habit of running away in fear at nighttime or at dawn, and speculates that he must’ve seen something that scared him off… insinuating that Young-shin spooked him with her behavior, ha.
He and Editor Jang look at her expectantly for an explanation of what she did to run him off, but she doesn’t have to give one since Moon-ho arrives to explain Bong-soo being absent today.
Young-shin proposes to Moon-ho that they interview Moon-shik, saying that she’d like to tell him directly that they find his past shady so they can get his response to it. The problem is that he might decline a request for interview, so she asks Moon-ho to pull some strings, since he’s his brother.
“From today, he isn’t,” Moon-ho replies, startling her. “I’ve decided that Kim Moon-shik and I are not brothers. Not anymore.”
Despite the surprise, Young-shin doesn’t ask questions, saying merely that she’ll try getting the interview on her own. She admits to a particular interest in the wife, having read about how amazingly close the spouses’ relationship is. She allows that Moon-ho knows his brother and must have good reason to consider him unfit for office—but perhaps a man who is so devoted toward one woman all his life isn’t all bad. At the very least, she’d like to meet the wife and draw her own conclusions. Moon-ho agrees to think about it, which she takes as a positive sign.
She asks if he talked to Bong-soo, and he just says that he must be out with a cold. Young-shin starts texting Bong-soo, but deletes each attempt. First she asks “Bong-soo-ya” if he’s sick, and then she asks more formally, “What is your name?” Finally she sets the phone aside, not texting after all.
At her desk, Min-ja sets a shot of soju before a photograph of Teacher and asks him to wish her luck—she’s about to resurrect some long-dormant superpowers. Then she gets to business, unleashing her full hacker skills on her keyboard, which soon goes detected by the police department. Detective Yoon races to his terminal to get in on the action, recognizing the hacking pattern, a look of gleeful anticipation on his face as he counters.
Flashback: Min-ja is the lead cop on a stakeout, with a young Detective Yoon weathering the brunt of her rebukes as she outlines the importance of the case they’re working on. They have to wait for a warrant to be issued before charging in, but until then they have to make sure their targets don’t catch wind and delete their computer files.
While they’re waiting, Min-ja takes a call with her irate husband, who screams, “You call yourself a mother?!” It’s because she won’t leave the stakeout, although Detective Yoon overhears and urges her to go, because her four-year-old is in the hospital after yet another surgery. Just then the warrant is issued, and Min-ja orders her team into action, choosing work again.
In the present, Detective Yoon springs the trap. But Min-ja outmaneuvers him, freezing the system while she downloads the files she needs.
This hack brings back more painful memories, and the next flashback shows her husband accusing her of not being a mother, because she wasn’t there when her child died. Making things even worse, her police boss issues orders from above to cover up the case and delete those hard-earned files after all.
Well, it’s no wonder she quit the force after that. Ajumma raises a sardonic toast to Teacher and drinks.
She hacks into the Healer pad to tell Jung-hoo that she got Teacher’s recorded statement, which sounds to her like a message meant for Jung-hoo. Jung-hoo watches Teacher’s video, where Teacher says that he never gave too much thought to the jobs he took on, but ought to have. If he had, those thoughts could’ve been his signboard, directing him where to go when he felt lost, warning him of cliffs or construction ahead, or to turn around.
When asked whether he murdered Go Sung-chul on commission, Teacher replies that he doesn’t accept those jobs:
Teacher: “If a person kills another person, they become inhuman. You should die a person. That way, you can reunite with those people you want to see again, those who left before you. There’s one thing I regret: I should have quit from the start.”
That’s when Teacher turns away from the detective and faces the camera instead: “Give it up. Go live with the woman you love, raising two kids, a dog, two cats, a few goldfish. I should have.”
Shaken and confused, Jung-hoo can only ask in a small lost voice, “Why?”
Ajumma advises Jung-hoo to honor Teacher’s dying wishes, and offers to make him a new identity, or to solidify Bong-soo’s. But Jung-hoo says heavily, “It’s too late. She already knows everything. Who I am.”
Then he corrects himself: “No, not everything. She doesn’t know that being with me will bring her pain. That it might even kill her.” He ignores ajumma’s barrage of questions, saying that there’s nothing he can do but sleep.
So he sets out unplugging all his computers, pulls the battery out of his phone, removes his watch and ring, and heads for bed. Checking out of life for the time being.
Moon-ho drops by the ABS station, and although his former boss Min-jae is still peeved at him for the press conference stunt, she agrees to a chat. Moon-ho apologizes for putting her in a bad position, then explains how a close hyung recently died, and that he thinks he knows who killed him. Then there’s another guy who used to be close to him in childhood, who has been out of touch for three days.
Min-jae’s understandably frosty with him and tells him impatiently to get to the point. Moon-ho’s answer is a bit surprising—that she is the only name saved in his phone as a friend, and today he’s here to talk to a friend. “Because I have nobody to talk to.”
Min-jae notes that despite Moon-ho’s image as a fearless figure, she knows he’s actually the opposite: “You only ever fight when you won’t get hurt. You run away when you meet someone frightening, using an appropriate excuse.” She tells him it’s nothing to be ashamed of, however, “Since we’re all like that.”
Young-shin and Jong-soo get busy working on the Moon-shik story, and in between interviews she tries to track down Bong-soo at home using his resumé address, which turns out to be nonexistent. She sends him messages chiding him for skipping work when they’re short-staffed, her voicemails going from concerned to stern to threatening, warning that he’s missed his forgiveness window.
But by the fifth day, her voice is scared as she sits in the dark, asking, “Did I… do something wrong? Is it because I said I would wait that you can’t come? Should I have said I wouldn’t wait… that you shouldn’t worry? Should I cancel what I said?”
ABS schedules a talk with Moon-shik as a live broadcast, and Moon-ho decides to use that as Someday’s next broadcast. As soon as Moon-shik answers a question on air, within the next ten minutes, Someday will counter that answer.
Of course, that requires them to know what questions will be asked. But Moon-ho knows his brother will only answer questions that have been prepped in advance, and turns to his spy, asking if he’d like to be a double agent. Jong-soo would NOT, thank you very much, but really, there’s no refusing. He nervously agrees.
Moon-ho finds Young-shin still huddled in the dark, and she jumps up guiltily. He asks for her phone, and she assumes she’s in trouble and promises not to make any more personal calls on the job, only to have him punch in a number—it’s Myung-hee’s. He gives permission to use his name in asking for an interview, and Young-shin excitedly hurries off to make the call.
At home, Myung-hee heads into her husband’s empty office and tries opening his desk drawers. They’re locked shut, to her disappointment—but she catches a glimpse of something mounted to the underside of the desk. A button.
She presses it, and bookshelves slide open to reveal the secret space behind it, where the hidden TV screens are mounted. That’s when she gets Young-shin’s call, and more surprising than her request is the news that Moon-ho is her boss at Someday—all this while, she thought he was still at the broadcast station. Wow, she has really been kept cut off from the world.
Myung-hee’s also surprised that Moon-ho would have given her number to a reporter, as he knows that she doesn’t meet people. But she likes the sound of Young-shin’s voice and asks for time to consider, and Young-shin thanks her enthusiastically.
Min-ja sends Dae-yong on the rounds to track down all of Jung-hoo’s vehicles, trying to pinpoint his whereabouts. But everything looks untouched, and Min-ja deduces that this means Jung-hoo isn’t moving at all, which suggests he’s holed himself up at home. Dae-yong offers to go in person, but Min-ja says that even if she showed up there, she couldn’t get inside without Jung-hoo’s permission.
Next thing you know, ajumma charges into the Chae family cafe (yesssssssss) like she owns the place, ordering ajusshi to open half an hour early and demanding a female server. Haha. I love how she doesn’t explain a thing, and just lets them think she’s a weirdo.
Min-ja imperiously motions Young-shin aside to take her order, and Young-shin complies, despite her bafflement. Once Young-shin sits down, ajumma asks if she recognizes her voice, and repeats her words from her previous call to jog her memory.
Young-shin gasps upon recognition, suddenly alert and pelting her with questions. She says that Bong-soo’s been unreachable for days, her worry obvious.
Ajumma asks for her phone and links it to a device, fiddling with it as she tells her that Bong-soo’s been immobile for six days, probably not eating. She’s certain he won’t let her in, which leaves one option: to force him to open the door himself.
Understanding what she’s getting at, Young-shin asks tearfully, “Is he… okay? Is he not okay?” (I notice she’s now calling him “that person”—her way of referring to the Healer—instead of Bong-soo.) She grabs ajumma’s hand and begs her to tell her where to find him.
Ajumma notes Young-shin’s vehement reaction and replies, “I had to see your eyes.” Then she hands her back the phone, all the information there at her fingertips.
Young-shin follows the directions to Jung-hoo’s building, her lock-picking skills coming in handy in getting past the first locked door. She heads up the elevator, through the dilapidated warehouse floor, up some crumbling stairs, and to a seeming dead end. There’s nowhere to go from here, but the signal on her phone indicates that this is where she should be.
So Young-shin starts tapping on the walls and calling out for Bong-soo. Getting no response, she pulls out her tools and finds a stethoscope, using it to listen through the wall… and then she hears something click. A sign dangling on the opposite wall moves, and when she moves it again, the wall springs open.
Cautiously, she steps inside the inner lair—and there he is, in bed, looking half-dead.
Young-shin races to his side, and as she reaches to call for an ambulance, Jung-hoo’s eyes slowly open. She tells him gently, “Bong-soo-ya, I’m here.”
He sighs, “Daebak.” Which, all things considered, is hilarious. He reaches his hand out to touch her face, wondering at this dream. He murmurs that he’s cold, and at that she climbs in bed with him and cradles his head in her arms. It’s incredibly sweet. And as she holds him close, he snuggles into her side.
Some time later, he wakes up, alone in bed. Young-shin comes up holding a ladle (and are those his clothes she’s wearing?), holding it out for him to taste.
He struggles to get up, not at all happy to see her. She disregards his displeasure and informs him that she’s put in a personal day at work and intends to stay till tomorrow, and that he’ll eat her cooking whether he likes it or not.
He tells her wearily that this is no place for her, and that she should leave: “Forget this place, and don’t come back.”
His demeanor is cold and uninviting, and Young-shin looks at him intently and asks if this is the real him. Bong-soo didn’t talk like that, “But you’re a little scary.” She informs him that it’s dark and late, so she’ll leave tomorrow if he wants.
Ignoring his surliness, Young-shin sets him up comfortably and presents him with dinner. His mood darkens further as he grabs Young-shin’s things, thrusting them at her and pushing her toward the exit.
She whirls out of reach, refusing to leave, and he’s frankly too weak to do much else. Staggering closer, he asks in exasperation, “Why do you have so little fear?”
She replies, “I’m not afraid of you.” He points out that he’s hiding more from her than she could even guess, and she answers, “I don’t care.” He fires back, “Are you an idiot?”
“Don’t send me away,” she says. “If you send me away, you’ll cry forever.”
He says bleakly, “I could get you hurt.” She shakes her head, full of certainty: “No, you won’t get me hurt. Never.”
He struggles with himself, then grabs her wrist to drag her out. But she stops him, turning him toward her and pulling him into a hug. “Don’t send me away,” she asks again.
Jung-hoo’s face crumples in tears, and then he buries his face in her neck and grabs tight.
She holds him like that for a long moment, and then pulls back to wipe his tears from his face. She kisses him.
So many things to write about, and they’re not even about that kiss! (Although, eeee, that kiss!)
I was really happy with where this episode took Moon-ho—even as far as yesterday I wasn’t sure what direction he would ultimately take, but today solidified his place standing alongside the Healer. I know he’d declared his intention to work together in the last episode, but it took seeing his old hyung cold and dead on that slab to finally cut the cord, and to realize that his brother had in fact crossed the line fully, that he couldn’t spare him from justice. I don’t think he was necessarily waiting for his brother to redeem himself, but he had enough hope that he wasn’t so far gone.
So now that he knows Moon-shik would (and has) killed, he’s finally ready to take the stand he’s been waffling on taking for the past twenty years. Moon-ho really is the linchpin in this entire story, because even now he possesses more information than anybody else, and it isn’t until he makes the decision that our mother-daughter reunion can start on its path. I suppose if he had had his brother’s ambition his kind of masterminding might be an ominous thing, but as Min-jae rightly points out, Moon-ho is actually rather timid. Good-intentioned, but lacking the courage to fight the big fight.
I guess that’s why he needs Healer and Young-shin on his team to see through the final takedown of the Elder. And while it sucks to have Jung-hoo so shaken by the loss of Teacher, it’s the perfect narrative catalyst to bring them together—because till now, they’ve shared the general stance of being anti-Moon-shik, but differed in their personal motivations. Jung-hoo doesn’t care about the Elder beyond what he does to people he loves, so he isn’t swayed by Moon-ho’s appeals for greater justice. Now, though, Teacher’s death provides a link, and I’m excited to see how these two work together from here on out. One brotherly bond may be severed, but who says another one can’t be formed? (As for the baddies, we’re still unclear on what exactly the Elder does, but based on what we know thus far, I’m imagining a shadow society of elites who manipulate all aspects of society to benefit themselves—I’m thinking Kishokai of Gaksital, for instance.)
I loved how the show depicted Jung-hoo’s reaction to losing Teacher, which felt real and raw, and bolstered by acting that totally made me cry along with the characters. There was an immediacy to Jung-hoo’s grief that I found powerful, and am so happy to see Ji Chang-wook become this character so wholly.
More than the kiss itself (although again, eeee!), I was moved by Jung-hoo’s reaction to Young-shin’s stubborn insistence on staying with him—the anger, confusion, fear, and eventual acceptance. Most of the time, noble idiocy in dramaland arises when a character pushes someone away “for their own good” in a situation where that angst is unnecessary, hence the idiocy part of the term. But it’s not noble idiocy when the reasons are credible, and it makes perfect sense that Jung-hoo’s reaction to losing one of the last loved ones in his life is to shut down entirely, especially when he blames himself for that death.
The heartbreaking thing is that the Teacher did totally die for him, indirectly; I don’t think he knew he was going to die, but you get the sense that Teacher would willingly do it again and feel it was worth the cost. He wasn’t able to protect the baby bears through the end of their lives, but he made good on his promise by protecting them through the end of his. But to Jung-hoo, all he sees is that people around him die, and that’s devastating in a twofold way: first, he costs good people their lives, and second, he then has to live in a world where they’re dead.
So he’s become deathly afraid of building any sort of meaningful relationship, because every time it burns him, it cuts deeper and deeper. Yet in comes charging this girl who refuses to let him bully her away, informing him that she will stay put, and refusing to accept his fear of hurting her. Moreover, she isn’t about to let him sink into self-ruin, and insists on taking care of him. Young-shin is totally badass in all the best ways, and she just keeps getting better.
I love how he sees her next to his bed and sighs that it must be a dream, and only in his half-conscious state does he allow her to come close. Despite the fact that they totally got to snuggle in bed together, I appreciate that the scene wasn’t sexy in the least, but more poignantly sweet, letting our damaged hero find some comfort while his guard is lowered. When he’s fully awake, you can see how much he wishes he could believe her while his head warns him not to… but thankfully for all of us, there’s only so much denial you can handle before you cave and have to accept it already. (Accept the truth, kisses and all!) Somehow it feels fitting that he gets to be with his girl against the backdrop of his imagined paradise, ’cause I think he’s doing just fine where he is in his reality, once he finally allows himself his honesty.
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