Okay, my shirt is soaked with tears. I’m not even exaggerating in the slightest, my eyes feel raw. I feel raw, numb, dazed. This is going to be some withdrawal.
Let’s start with an overview of how far we’ve come before we get to the nitty gritties. Kill Me Heal Me, was a production that by all rights should have been a failure. Tossed and turned between actors and actresses, it was a surprise when an established pair suddenly clinched the lead roles. And one for which I’m profoundly, unbelievably grateful. Not only did Ji Sung and Hwang Jungeum rise above and beyond to make this show a success, they did it with such incredibly heart and passion that it’ll be a while before I forget this (if ever). Kill Me Heal Me started off as a comedy of sorts, with a rather violent first two episodes, some pretty fun engrish and much flitting between genres. I liked it from the start, Ji Sung’s “I will come back…and break every single piece of your bone” had me gasping for air from how sexy that drawl was. I knew I’d be coming back for more. I just didn’t expect it to be this good. The show’s tone began to change slightly as we wore into episodes 4-7, pain, self-hatred, fear, concern, family politics set a rather serious tone, broken only by the alters; appearances and the trouble they caused. Episode 8 was where this took a turn towards the light and happy, with Rijin becoming Dohyun’s physician and Yona running around wreaking havoc and surprise kisses (*squeal*) and bouts of chasing after each other (literally and figuratively) and trying to tame Segi. Throughout it was an undercurrent of tension, a frission of conflict, regarding Dohyun’s past and just who the child in the basement was. Episode 14 was yet another turning point upon which all major secrets were revealed and Dohyun and Rijin broke down in agony. Pain, sacrifice, love and sorrow wrung hearts throughout episodes 15-17 until Segi reappeared and stretched out his hand, after which all the alters took turns in ensuring that Dohyun’s happiness was safeguarded. Episode19 was where ends began to tie up. And Episode 20 was where it was all wrapped up with a bow on top.
I truthfully don’t know whether I can bear to watch this drama again until after a while has passed. This episode was painful, to say the least, as we said goodbye to all the alters, including out very recent Mr. X, in a process that showed just how they might have been formed in the first place.
Nana’s farewell was yet more closure for Rijin, and I really appreciate that the show isn’t playing down the fact that while Dohyun suffered more after the abuse, in the end it was Rijin that had to undergo the abuse and therefore needs just as much closure. Speaking to her past self (did anyone else notice just who brilliantly Ji Sung imitated the little girl’s voice?) is cathartic, and sets off a wonderful healing chain reaction. Not only is she healing Dohyun, but she’s healing herself. Her assurance that she grew up just fine with loads of love was all Dohyun’s psyche needed to hear, while giving her to chance to hug her childhood self, and tell her that everything’s going to be alright. In fact, 21 years later, it already is.
Mr. X was an enigma at first, much like how he appeared with that mask in the teaser still and preview for the show early on. I wondered whether he was a random comedic character thrown in, in yesterday’s review. I’m glad to see that even he has meaning, and his appearance shows us just how Dohyun’s psyche works. Yona said that Mr. X wouldn’t appear if Rijin smiled. Rijin didn’t realize it then, but Yona did answer her question. That’s who X is, that’s who many of the personalities have been. Parts of Dohyun that wanted Rijin to be happy. If any memory resurfaces, where he feels he caused her some sort of hurt, if any mention of some wrong his family might have caused hers arrives, his psyche can’t take it and splits, forming an imaginary figure, designed to keep Rijin happy. With the loss of little Rijin, came Nana. With the loss of Rijin’s parents, came Mr. X. it’s as simple as that. Guilt, anger, resentment, distress. There was a reason Dohyun was able to hold things and rein in his emotions (such that even Secretary Ahn never saw him get annoyed) in all those years. He compartmentalized some of them into different people. As Mr. X said “I am whom you wanted me to be.” And so, in order to stop splitting apart whenever something painful occurs, he needs to truly heal. And so, we’re a round of farewells to say.
Ahn. Yo. Na. That’s how she said her name. I honestly can’t think of a better farewell for her than that which was given: some time with a fellow girl who could take her on, and real time with a handsome oppa, including kisses and selfies (poor Ri On!). It’s everything she wanted to experience but never had the chance to. One could even call it cruel, for her to have to leave upon just having experienced some sense of normalcy, a snippet of just what life was like. But she can’t stay anymore. She knew it upon leaving the house, knew it upon bribing Rijin, knew it upon snapping picture after picture with a wailing Ri On. Looking back, those tears she shed upon Ri On pretending to go to the army were her own, though she’ll never admit to it. And I admire her strength in going with such strength, considering just how much she wanted to live. As ‘Manager of Distress’ Yona has absorbed Dohyun’s suffering more than once. And she’s prepared to take the final step, and ensure that he never has to suffer again. And so in trademark fashion, she leaves as cheekily as she came. Bright, and fun with a devious mind (I died at RIjin’s forehead). Only on the inside does she finally break down, wanting to stay. But as Yosub says, Dohyun is healing now. And their time is finally up.
I really wanted a proper farewell for Yosub, so I cried like mad when he just left, just like that. But that was always in his nature. In episode 7, he meant to commit suicide but oddly enough waited for Rijin for a minute, even when she was late. That, more than anything showed that he wanted to be stopped, but had given up hope of there being anyone who would do so. That Rijin came and stopped him was a shock. Here, was someone who cared. And as she became an integral part of Dohyun’s life. Yosub no longer had reason to want to die, therefore, neither would Dohyun. Yosub is a realist and quite the pessismist. As such, he knew he would be going soon. He probably expected to leave first, as seen in his emotional good-bye to Rijin. This was it, and he knew it. There was no point in torturing himself with what could have been, or returning for final farewell. As seen in Yona wearing the headband, the other personalities share some level of Dohyun’s consciousness, enough to know the presents were for them. There’s no doubt that Yosub saw his. Someone cared. That was enough. It was time to let Dohyun live, hence Yosub’s last words, of gratitude and of acceptance.
Le vente se lève, il faut tenter de vivre
I’ll miss you, Yosub-ah
A few more kinks needed to be sorted out before Dohyun could get to living, mainly that shareholders’ meeting and the who-killed-Min-Seo-Yeon subplot. In a family as mental as this I’m not surprised that the uncle was behind it (though I was expecting Dohyun’s mom to have done it, but that little conversation with Grandma at the end of Episode 19 proved that it couldn’t be her). Things are smoothed over and dug up, but really it’s all about Dohyun gaining the courage to admit his illness once more, and take another step out into the world and his own identity.
Are there flaws in this show? Yes. The little details in Dohyun and Rijin’s life were never central, the company, her job at the hospital, and the familial subplots were rushed over. I mean we still don’t know whether Grandma knows of Rijin, and considering her reaction last episode to Dohyun’s mom’s revelation, I feel like she’d be far from pleased. She might have mellowed a bit but she was still quite vicious and I’m glad that the show doesn’t show Dohyun softening to her immediately. I’m sure reconciliation will be a while coming. Dohyun’s mom remains just as terrible as she used to be, but what else is new? Cha Kijoon’s plans are foiled, and Chaeyeon is likely crying under a rock somewhere or moving on with her life. Point is, we don’t get full closure with these characters. For some, that’s poor writing. For me, it’s nothing important.
This show was always about Dohyun and Rijin, nothing mattered more than those two, time after time. That’s why I’m so grateful to have spent the bulk of these final episodes on them, watching them blossom under the warmth of each other’s love and affection and take the steps necessary to ensure that their life together will be happy.
And we’ve one last hurdle to surmount before that.
I honestly expected Dad to wake, the moment Rijin mentioned forgiving the perpetrator. Granted, the show didn’t need to go that direction but the question had been raised of just what would happen if Rijin did meet Dohyun’s father and that needed an answer. More than that was the painful reality that Segi would continue to exist so long as that uncertain threat to Rijin existed.
I won’t make any comment on Dohyun’s father’s apology or crimes because Rijin really said it all. She won’t let him enforce his need for forgiveness on them. And she’d never truly going to be able to forgive him out of the kindness of her heart, but for Dohyun and Segi’s sake alone. When that happens is only a matter of time, but the first to know will be the man she loves.
Truthfully, it’s painful for me to write this. Segi was the personality I was the most drawn to and it was his farewell that I feared the most. Even if all the others vanished, I wanted him to stay. Why? Because he was the most broken part of Dohyun, fractured in a way that Dohyun never was, having born all that pain and guilt for 21 years. Born out of a need to do anything to protect the girl he loved, Shin Segi wanted nothing more than for that girl to choose him in turn, without question or hesitation. Just as he’d done. Rijin knows this, hence why she felt so guilty about calling out Dohyun during ep 18. What Segi wanted more than anything in the world was her love. That’s why this good-bye broke my heart. Because Segi, who wanted to live, so damn badly, made his last stand, rushing in once more to save Rijin from Dohyun’s father. He was aware of just what it meant, that he was the final personality left and that coming out now would mean he would never come out again, but even that was fine, so long as she wouldn’t be hurt. Rijin’s well aware of his nature now, and for the first time, uses his name to prevent him from possibly killing Cha Joonpyo. She know how badly he feels her pain, and how badly he must be hurting, and stands in front of him, protecting him this time, not letting him do anything stupid because of her. I especially loved her wording when she said that she’d only forgive Dohyun’s father on “this person’s behalf”. She didn’t mention Dohyun or Segi, but the entirety of who they both were. To her they’re one and the same. Though Segi took a while to realize it, there never was a choice for her to make, between Dohyun and him. It was always him and it was always Dohyun. You see, of all the various personalities, Segi was the only one that was a part of Dohyun, as opposed to a manifestation of someone else. That’s why the two will never truly be apart. That’s why Dohyun himself greeted him during the final amalgamation. Perry Park, Nana and X are forever gone. Yosub, and Yona exist to some extent, born out of manifestations of Dohyun’s distress and depression. (Hearing Cha Dohyun say ‘unni’ was honestly the most adorable thing I’ve heard yet)
But Segi will never leave. He is Dohyun’s rage, anger, and pain, his recklessness, and deviousness, his will, and his drive to protect Rijin. She is aware of this as well. We’ve seen her note just how similar to the two are on many occasions. They are far too similar for Segi to simply die off. But instead, he can never appear in his present incarnation again. As Dohyun said, he is the owner of this time and body now. And so, this too is goodbye, because Shin Segi, the man himself can never truly walk the night and race highways again. Like an ice-cube dropped in water, there will be no telling where he begins and Dohyun ends. But he accepts it anyway, because that’s what Dohyun and Rijin need. And Rijin’s word is law to him.
The present Rijin gives him is not out of pity. Because she did come to love this broken man who came after her each and every time, whether it was on a motorbike, giving her sexy winks, or in that red sports car (aka, the Segimobile as christened by the amazing people over at dramabeans), or when Ri On brought her home, or when Dohyun was too weak to return to her. He would always, always go and stretch out his hand. Time and time again. It really isn’t as though Rijin felt nothing for Segi. In fact, he kissed her before Dohyun did, and she was certainly a willing participant. She did come to care for him, even more so after understanding just how painful his story was. He’s always been nothing but genuine and painfully honest with her. So the present she gives him is just as honest, raw and real. Segi was wrong when he said that he’d never be able to have that which he wanted most. Rijin acknowledged him as a person and gave him herself, during that final moment he remained as Shin Segi, but more than that she gave him herself forever, for all those moments he would now live as Cha Dohyun. (And I wept buckets with Ji Sung’s beautiful, beautiful OST tenderly seeping into my ears)
Dohyun makes sure that Segi is aware that this isn’t goodbye. “You’re me,” he says. “I’m you,” Shin Segi finishes bravely, with an added snarky comment on how Dohyun should live well, seeing that the two of them are now one.
With that, he bows out, and the final, largest and vital piece in Dohyun’s puzzle is finally in place.
And the resulting picture is beautiful.
Farewell, Shin Segi. I know it’s not really goodbye, but farewell nevertheless. See you again as Cha Dohyun.
The previous episode, when Dohyun returned from drinking with Ri On, Rijin noted that though his voice was Dohyun’s, his manner of speech was Segi’s. Smiling Dohyun responded that they’d just go by whatever they felt like at the time. And this is honestly how I see things going, henceforth with Segi’s characteristics manifesting themselves throughout Dohyun’s life. Just as in the ending of this episode, when Dohyun spoke with a faint drawl and Segi-style responses (“Just try and take that ring off”), which retaining the gentleness that made him, him. I’m grateful to know that the wonderful, though broken, man, Segi was, will live on. I honestly, didn’t think I’d anymore tears to give, but there you go. I remain an emotional wreck. This drama is going to be very difficult to re-watch especially knowing the fate of the personalities, and Segi is eternally going to make me weep, but I wouldn’t trade this show for the world.
I didn’t expect a time-jump. But it’s one of those good ones, so I’m pretty pleased. I love the meta placement of Kill Me Heal Me within Kill Me Heal Me, oh Oh Ri On, you’re so screwed once your sister gets home. Ri On seems to have slowly moved on, over the past year. For which I am truly glad. Writing that romance must have been a cathartic experience (way to fit it all in writer-nim!) and it seems that he’s ready for the future…one without Ahn Yona in it. Love, love, love the random cameo and poor Ri On’s reaction. Hang in there Ri On-ah, I’m sure you’ll find some feisty violent girl soon enough!
I find it extremely appropriate that Dohyun has done what his father did all those years ago, and adopted the name Perry Park, living life freely, just as he always wanted to. Ji Sung’s secretaries and aides continue to rise to higher positions than him (first in Secret, and now once more). I’m super happy for Secretary/Executive Director Ahn, and hope that he’s enjoying his job to the hilt. Regardless of what Grandma says, I don’t see Dohyun returning to the company. In fact, I’m pretty sure Secretary Ahn’s going to be taking over those reins. If he survives Dohyun’s beer that is. HA!
That ending was everything I ever wanted and more. The couple rings are absolutely adorable, and I love how similar they were to engagement rings, box and all. I loved the music and inherent warmth it brought about. There’s a languor, quiet joy and companionship between the two as theirs hands entwine. As if they’ve faced fire and steel, and walked away from it, their bond all the stronger. Nothing can really touch these two now and we know it. Whatever it is, whether it’s Rijin’s parents (who are certainly in for a shock, a pity we didn’t get to see it) or company inheritances issues or whatever troubles the future may bring, you can bet that they’ll be there, hands linked, to face it. As Dohyun said, only we can turn the light on and dispel the darkness and fear within our basements. We don’t know just what’s in the briefcase in front of us. But that’s no reason not to open it. Who knows what lies in store for us in there? Perhaps it’s a stuffed bear, perhaps it’s a top hat, a pink rabbit-eared headband, a pair of glasses, the world’s finest liquor, or perhaps it’s a random meeting with a confused man, who mistakes you as a mental patient, and suddenly transforms into an eyeliner-wearing, sexy drawling, rather violent man-boy. But we all know how that one goes.
And they lived happily ever after.
Final thoughts (3/13/15)
I’m beyond grateful for that farewell message Ji Sung left us off with. Starting with Shin Se gi, to Yona, to Perry Park, alters waved farewell to us, just as we did for them. I’m grateful for the level of fanservice and viewer appreciation that both this drama and its actors showed us, and glad that the show ended on just as humourous a note as it started. Wistful and sweet, with rivers of emotion that ran deep, I’ll miss this show a great, great deal. Farewell, Kill Me Heal Me. Thank you for a rollicking, wonderful, touching ride.