Healer is the second of screenwriter Song Ji Na’s works that I’ve seen, the first being the beautiful and moving Faith that aired two years ago (Lee Min Ho and Kim Hee Sun FTW!).
You can’t always guarantee the quality of a drama due to its actors (see Lee Jong Seuk and Doctor Stranger) but you can be quite assured of how good it’s going to be if a good writer is helming it.
As such, I honestly came into this with high expectations, seeing the writer’s skill, how slick the stills were, how beautiful Park Min Young was, and how gorgeous Ji Chang Wook and Yoo Ji Tae were(*fans self*).
Gosh, the smexy in this drama is no joke. Thankfully, the acting is really good as well. I was a bit worried about that as Kim Hee Sun’s over-the-top character did take some time for me to get used to at the start of Faith (though Eun Soo evolved into utter perfection) but thankfully there was no need for concern in that quarter. What I loved about Faith were primarily its characters, and how complex yet relatable they were despite the 700 year gap in customs and setting. They were constantly maturing and evolving into better, (well excluding Gi Cheol and Deok Heung) stronger versions of themselves and it appears that Healer is no different.
Healer himself made quite the impression by starting off with a straight-up reveal of his slightly perverted nature.
We aren’t given his real name yet in the show, so Healer he is, for now. He’s rather unconventional to begin with. I mean who really wants to live in a tropical island in the middle of nowhere while raising a pet leopard/wolf (and buying a yacht). I wouldn’t survive two hours without Wi-fi (plus how would you see dramas?). This episode reveals more of his persona than his personal life. Healer is exceptionally skilled in what he does, running odd jobs for all manner of politician, newspaper, and basically anyone with clout in Korea. Though he only has a single partner in Hacker Ahjumma (with hair so frizzy I fear for it after the endof this show), he’s good enough to take down quite a few thugs sent by rival agency SS Guard.
Can I just express how much I love that Courtlady Choi from faith is now Hacker Ahjumma? I love Kim Mi Kyung and seeing in these sorts of kick-ass roles really cements my fondness for her. She makes an excellent, intelligent wry counterpart to Healer’s stealth and skill. I also loved the odd moments of hilarity between them, even in the midst of a situations with such high stakes (like opening the wrong door). The technology in this drama is also no joke. It’s not like this is some sci-fi film either with futuristic tech but I mean, wowee, look at those glasses. I’m not sure if this is some sort of promotion for Google Glass but seriously though, it’s freaky to see just how much they reveal (from identity to the cost of those earpieces the SS guard thugs were wearing!). Talk about privacy.
I can’t really speak much for Healer as a person, seeing how little we’ve gotten to know of him, but from the diversion tactics he uses, to his very unusual goal in life, to his serious fighting talents (I’d really like to have seen a shot of him escaping from that train though, the zoom-out almost felt like a cop-out) he appears to be quite the character (and babe). Our three leads also appear to have quite a complex (and intertwined) past, and it’s going to be super interesting to see that play out.
Kim Moon Ho (played by the stunningly sexy Yoo Ji Tae) is a rather interesting character. We actually don’t see too many like him in dramaland. You either have the earned and hardworking but unrecognized reporters, or the powerful and famous but nasty reporters (à la Song Cha Ok from Pinocchio), rarely do we see the best of both, an earnest, hardworking and famous reporter. Kim Moon Ho appears to be quite stalwart and definitely the kind of person you’d want on your team (if you play for the good side that is). His behaviour does result in problems for his coworkers though, which is a well-placed character flaw, seeing the juxtaposition between being lauded by people for being an unbiased reporter and causing trouble at the broadcasting station for everyone he works with. Though I’m firmly in his camp, I’ve no doubt that I’d hate him, were I his co-worker! He does appear to have a serious beef with his brother though (I honestly thought it was his father until the whole sister-in-law mention) and is searching for a girl (who is definitely Cha Yeong Sim) for some reason. Is it weird that I thought that he was searching for Healer and that they were brothers for an instant? Pinocchio’s rubbing off on me a bit too much xD
(HOW IS THIS MAN 38? He’s adorable!)
Cha Yeong Shim is a step above Park Min Young’s usual characters. She’s as bubbly and effervescent as well, but with added street smarts this time (unlike her character in A New Leaf. I’m still pissed that there was no romance between her and Kim Myung Min btw). We’ve all seen the gutsy heroine who’s not too book-smart but chases after her goal with strength and fortitude before though, so I’m hoping that we’re going to have added dimensions to her character to differentiate her from those of years past.
I love a tale that withholds most of its cards from the very start and plays the few it does, very close its chest. Unlike Pinocchio where we’re given EVERYTHING beforehand, so the remaining episodes revolve around a “when the hell is everything going to come out but who cares because CDP and CIH are so perfect”, we’re given tiny hints as to just how tangled the web Cha Yeong Shim, Healer and Kim Moon Ho are a part of. I actually prefer it this way as you’re always guessing, as opposed to simply waiting for that big reveal that you know is coming and wondering what the hell the story is going to have left after that reveal (and the requisite angst that will follow). Both Pinocchio and You’re All Surrounded made this mistake, and while it isn’t nearly as glaring in Pinocchio, I do wish that they’d withheld some information from us, seeing how well done Healer’s start is.
But there’s a flip side of this that Pinocchio and Healer also illustrate. The copious amounts of exposition in Pinocchio allow us to get intimately acquainted with DP and IH very, very quickly. You knew them inside out by episode 2. Things are a bit more blurry for Healer due to its withholding of information, I still have no idea what Healer’s really like, while Cha Yeong Sim and Kim Moon Ho remain blurred outlines as of yet. I don’t mind so far as this writer has really proven her ability depict character quite beautifully before, but this can turn off those who are looking for a quick easy watch. Once again, I prefer it this way as there’s nothing worse to me, than giving us these well written, complex characters whom you feel like you know personally, and then having them do irrational things, completely out of line with who you know they are. Pinocchio suddenly stepped this direction in episode 11 (WHY DID YOU MAKE GRANDPA CRY?) and I’m honestly a bit confused and disappointed at how it turned out. This isn’t to say that I expect every character’s decisions to be perfectly in line with said characterization (people do make irrational choices) but it’s when those choice border on sheer idiocy (or noble idiocy) that I start banging my head against the table (dang it, it’s not like either of them didn’t know that they had to get past DP’s rift with In Ha’s mother. Why is that suddenly cause for break-up when it wasn’t before? We had such an epic show of unity in episodes 9 and 10, and there’s no doubt that In Ha has the fortitude to continue standing by DP’s side against Mom, so what the hell is this sudden melodramatic separation for?)
And also I’m glad that we don’t have melodrama written into every corner of this episode (whereas we definitely did with Pinocchio). I do love deep-running emotions and a bit of angst in dramas (Angel Eyes ❤ well excluding episodes 14 – 19) but if every episode is suddenly chock full of angst laden scenes, then I honestly begin to yawn after a bit. It might seem weird that I’m including all of this in this first episode review but I find this to be common flaws in dramas, and Healer is off to such a good start that I can’t help but fret that something may spoil this along the way (the same way Pinocchio suddenly dropped a notch for me). DP doesn’t have to suddenly give up everything to chase his goal. He has a bloody family that cares and wants to support him and yet he’s suddenly going the noble idiocy route and hurting everyone who loves him. Man, I get the pain, shock, and agony he’s going through what with the big reveal and hyung’s arrest but you can only excuse so much stupidity. Covering up hyung admitting to murder was bad enough but this separation? I mean they’re separating so that DP can “fight properly without holding back and worrying because of InHa” but the first thing he does upon seeing In Ha when researching the bus driver case is worry about how it’ll make things hard for her. Then what’s the use of separating? Go sit in a corner, Pinocchio, I don’t want to see you anymore (though I actually do because I need to know what happens next). See the contradiction?
All in all, Healer is shaping up to be a great ride, while Pinocchio has me banging my head against the table. Not that I hope that the situation will reverse, but hopefully they’ll deliver nothing but the best going onwards!
( I feel like I’m going to seriously love this couple)