The Team Feels Wrap Party: Healer Edition

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BE ADVISED: Y’all know there will be spoilers.  Come on now. Click here for the previous post.

DDee: So it’s over! It’s time to say good bye to the baby bears! I’m left scratching my head at many things, but I think I’m satisfied. Mostly. I think. I mean, it was a happy ending! And nobody died, which is a good thing. Right?

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First, can we talk about Myung Hee for a sec?  I was struck by how after knowing everything that Moon Ho has done—dishonouring their friends, tearing her family apart, murder–she thanks him for his care for her and for taking her in when she had nowhere to go.  She honoured that relationship, and then she completely burns him by unmasking his lies and telling him his love for her was ultimately twisted and could never be reciprocated. It was a stunning moment. I mean, Jesus what a woman. Just her strength and the finality of her walking away like she summoned up some long-buried something from somewhere, and that look on her face and the fire in her eyes when she says “I don’t trust you”. GUHD.  This actress, Do Ji Won, just completely blew me away. This scene had everything I dig in a dramatic reckoning—pathos, power, and the villain’s balls shrinking before my eyes. The one thing that was just shy of reaching perfection here was the actor playing Moon Shit. I mean, for an ensemble cast that’s been tops across the board, he’s been the weakest link. Pity.

Vanessa: YES. This was arguably one of the strongest scenes of the final two episodes for me. I was expecting a speech full of bitterness and rage, but what we got was Myung-hee staying true to herself; that core of dignity and strength that she has. It was actually really touching? I mean somewhere deep in Moon-shit’s twisted black little heart, he genuinely does care about this woman, and she both understands and acknowledges that. She knows he loves her, but in all the wrong ways. He has done so many terrible things in the name of that love. And while she can be grateful and gracious for the things he has provided for her, she’s not going to stay with him out of any sense of obligation or guilt. It was fantastically done.
Also agreed on Moon-shit’s actor – it was strange for me, because while I could understand on some level that the character was a lot more complex than your average kdrama villain (especially when you look at it in the context of him also starting off as a victim of a much larger system of corruption which nudged him along the road of bad choices) but the acting didn’t always seem to deliver.

Sarah: Which is sad really, because I feel like the actor playing young Moon Shik could have brought the fire.  Like when he goes from tortured false confession to living and breathing the bullshit in the space of one scene?  AMAZING.  And yet the actor playing older Moon Shik fell flat.  Although I have noticed some drama actors who have been around awhile are stuck in old school soap opera mode, so subtlety isn’t in their wheelhouse.  It’s camp or bust (as it were).  Maybe that’s this guy’s problem. As for Myung Hee, she rocked that scene OUT.  I think they gave her the short end of the stick in later scenes, but this one was on point.  I did think that Moon Shik showed a little bit more depth in this scene then he has in pretty much the entire rest of the show.  Just the fact that she was telling him that she knew everything, that the jig was up, and he was so deep in his own lies that he didn’t even know how to say what the truth is anymore.  I actually felt (a little) bad for him (sorta).

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DDee:  So even though I wanted to see Moon Shit burn literally and I wanted her to light his funeral pyre, what she did was true to who she was as a person–Myung Hee is just so goddamn full of grace it kills me.  Like mother like daughter, right? (And I’m choosing to believe Moon Shit drank himself to death in the Moon mansion, suffocating in his own vomit, which sent lizard face Sec Oh into cardiac arrest because he couldn’t cope with the mess. And he falls face down in Shit’s puke and dies.)

Sarah: That’s pretty dark, sir.  I like it.  I did wonder if maybe he hasn’t just been doing this since Myung Hee left him.  Secretary Oh said he gets that way when he drinks in the evenings.  What if he had been drinking every evening (and getting like that) and we just didn’t know?  Maybe that’s how he self-medicates when he can’t deal with who he’s become.

Vanessa: That is dark, my friends. And that in his drunken guilt sessions, he refers to himself as Gil-han, and Moon-shik is someone else sitting on the couch across from him. So guilty that he would much rather disassociate (if that’s the word?) because the alternative is to be alone with himself and his thoughts and memories. Moon-shit is going to metaphorically burn in that house, surrounded by all his wealth and trapped in a madness of his own making. That’s punishment enough, I’d say.

DDee: And then, the show gives Myung Hee a hero’s welcome at Someday News!  And everyone honours her and the legacy of her work with her comrades all those years ago! That completely just…I mean, I was so proud, and it’s so awesome that Young Shin/Ji Ahn continues her work and follows in her footsteps.

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Vanessa:  I was swelling with pride when Myung-hee arrived at Someday News! And I was so glad that ragtag little team of people had the chance to meet a flesh-and-blood role model for the kind of work they’re doing now with Moon-ho. I have such a soft spot for them – they were just celebrity news reporters! Barely a step above paparazzi! Just trying to make a living and keep their wives’ chicken restaurants from shutting down (I love that detail so much I don’t know why). They had no higher ideals, they weren’t carrying deep dark family secrets or ancestral legacies of free speech and democracy. They were just doing what they were told to do, initially. But imagine doing those live broadcasts, and every day they get new information and the realization that this work is far, far darker and more dangerous than stalking celebrities on dates. And they stick with it, and they bust ass and make things happen I’m just so proud of them gosh.

Sarah: Also nowhere near as deep and important, but I got all cuted out because Young Shin was gushing to her mom about boys!

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DDee:  This brings me to the baffling choice the show made not to show Young Shin’s reunion with her mother. So much of the narrative hinged on healing the wounds of the past and bringing families together and it feels like a huge gaping hole that we didn’t see mother and daughter finally being reunited. It’s the moment I was waiting the entire show for. And it’s not just any mother and daughter, it’s THIS mother and daughter!

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And I just don’t get it. We had a beautiful scene of Appa showing Myung Hee Young Shin’s baby pictures and it’s implied that Myung Hee knows, but that is not nearly enough by a long shot! And it’s not a matter of the live-shoot system taking its toll in this instance. I mean, they put Jung Hoo’s on-camera interview in there which was sweet and cute but throwaway in the grand scheme of things. So what gives?

And there’s the whole Moon Ho coping to what he did to Noona which happens off screen as well. The show really let Moon Ho get away with a lot of crap. And I know folks will probably say that he’s suffered enough already, but really, who suffered the most here? Where was his mea culpa to the person most deserving of it?

Vanessa: I’m so glad you brought this up because seriously. At first when Myung-hee rolls into the coffee shop, all tears, I was like YES REUNION TIME. And then nobody said anything? I mean there was some crying but then…? The scene with Appa and Myung-hee could have been transcendentally beautiful, you guys. I was ready to start bawling the minute he walked into the room but then it was like oh wait- these people aren’t on the same page yet. Can you imagine if he had just known? Known that he was talking to the birth mother of his daughter?. And he decides to share all these years of Young-shin’s life that Myung-hee never got to live with her? God.

I actually almost wish there had been an extra episode to sort through all the relationships, because there was so much that needed to be shown. You’re so right here because the past, and broken families finding each other and healing, and revealing truths are all such fundamental elements of your narrative and themes. Honestly I would be totally okay with cutting down on some OTP screentime if it meant we could see Young-shin and Myung-hee finally reuniting as mother and daughter. And Moon-ho unburdening himself of 20 years’ worth of guilt. I mean I’m glad he’s not dead and all, but his “atonement” is a pretty huge deal in the grand scheme of things. It’s what essentially kicks off the plot of the show. And it’s a major part of his character arc. Moon-ho coming clean to Myung-hee was one of the scenes I was most eager to see in these two episodes and then… no. It happened offscreen. And as a result his arc feels incomplete to me, and his happy ending almost unearned.

Sarah: Ok so, I’m gonna go ahead and say here that I think the show was tied up a little too neatly.  And it’s because of what you both point out.  No one we love died (What.  When does that happen.), the boy and girl lived happily ever after, and everyone got their just desserts.  Except for the one person I really wanted to see get told off.  But no.  All we get is Moon Ho going off with a “I’ve got something I need to tell you.  But not now, ok?” Which is basically the whole problem with his life so far.  And then he shows up all smiley pushing Myung Hee’s wheelchair likes he’s Santa Claus bringing Young Shin a present.  And no scene AT ALL between him and Myung Hee with any sort of revelation.  At this point I really think I could have taken just a scene where she forgave him and that was ir.  But nothing?  Also has anyone else noticed that Moon Ho is always randomly standing around when Young Shin and whoever else need to have a MINUTE?!  I’m like, “Moon Ho get out of the room so they can TALK.”  He’s like emotional birth control.

Vanessa: EMOTIONAL BIRTH CONTROL omg. But you’re right, it did feel a little too neat, despite the fact that we didn’t get much closure with regards to many of the important relationship dynamics. I’m okay with nobody dying, I think? But overall the stakes never felt urgent enough, and the Elder & co. takedown was brushed over so quickly that I don’t think I was really able to take them seriously as Big Scary Villains (but perhaps that wasn’t the point? Grandpa himself might just be another cog in the big machine). But it’s going to take a while before I get over the fact that Moon-ho and Myung-hee’s conversation happened off camera.

DDee: I’d say that the show was too neat in all the ways that weren’t important to me. I’d rather the show spent time resolving all the crucial relationships and arcs than launching into a last ditch Evil Elder takedown because he is, as V said, a cog in the machine and as Moon Ho himself indicated as well. I wouldn’t have minded if the show allowed Evil to live another day, and because Omega Holdings is like Hydra–another Evil will take his place–it would’ve made sense. Without the important follow throughs for those characters I care about and spent 20 hours with, the show lacked punch at the final stretch for me.

And speaking of gaping holes, how did Ji Ahn go missing? And why did Shit lie about her death? And that incident and Myung Hee’s accident are not related right? Gees, for once we get no flashbacks when I really could’ve used one! And I could go on about that nonsense with the biological weapon, deadly bacteria, Chinese (Korean? Or was it Russian?) researcher and the Evil Elder take-down (intrigue was never this show’s strength).

Vanessa: Dude don’t even start. This show was going pretty strong on the 1980s timeline until we started seeing more and more of the Elder and his shady goons. I’ve been trying to parse through all this, and the only thing I’m sure of are that Myung-hee’s accident was accidental (after she hid Ji-ahn away and started running to distract the bad guys?). What else? Ji-ahn goes missing after young Moon-shit picks her up from the police station, then stops at a convenience store to buy her a drink. Ji-ahn sees a woman who looks like her mother and chases after her. Moon-shit returns to see no kid, and then simply decides not to look for her. But was this an order from the Elder or just Moon-shit being shitty and relishing in his newfound talent for making shitty decisions? Also I’m curious to know where Young-shin’s memories of being abused fit into all this – was she adopted at least once before Appa found her?
Some flashbacks would have helped a loooot – I was glad to see Young-shin’s Tragic Hot Dad again but sadly he was only a drunken hallucination and not a memory.

Sarah: Okay I think that the bad guys that Young Shin was hiding from found Myung Hee (they were Elder’s goons) and beat her up, as a threat to Moon Shik.  And then when she was in the hospital Elder told him that if he said that JH’s dad killed YS’s dad (to cover up the paint thing) they would not only not kill her, but would pay all expenses to get her healed from her “accident”.  And YS was adopted before (I think they said she had been several times before Appa.)

Vanessa:  Also the stuff about the biological weapon (it was a Chinese-Korean scientist working for a Russian research team, I understood that much at least) felt kind of shoe-horned in, or  maybe it was because I was seriously having trouble keeping up with the intrigue/conspiracy elements on this show. There was a point when I had to rewind to make sure I heard it right (deadly bacteria? we’re doing biological warfare now?) because I suddenly thought I had been watching a different show.
The airport shenanigans were tense and nicely planned, but I was put off by the fact that 1) airport security was virtually non-existent, 2) the Double S/Elder goons were just running around in their black leather and crowding up the damn place and nobody finds this suspicious? and 3) that Moon-ho just pulls away some poor random lady to be the scientist woman’s decoy; like dude these people are out to KILL and you’re dragging a clueless civilian into the middle of things when you can’t guarantee her safety what are you thinking. So yeah, the logistics of that could have been handled better.

Sarah: But are we REALLY surprised that Moon Ho pulled in a random bystander to serve his own ends? Also it bugged me that Young Shin was trying to hold the interview in a room that has no door.

Vanessa: On a plus note I was actually really glad to see Yo-yo again! That bit where he silently refuses to eat Ahjumma’s half-consumed kimbap roll will stay in my heart forever.

Sarah: Yo Yo!  Oh my Lord and when JH ducked and he got slapped y’all.  Those old-school slapstick feels.

Vanessa: In a lot of ways it’s a testament to the strength of this show’s characters that the plot holes don’t hugely affect my ability to enjoy the viewing experience, because I would have been very annoyed with all this happening on any other show. It just feels patchy, a little rushed, and there was the sense that some choices were made that ended up being detrimental to other elements of the show (namely the relationships).

DDee: But let’s get back to talking about people I care about—Ahjumma!  Ahjumma finally met Jung Hoo! Yaaaay!

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But they didn’t eat together. Pooooh! And it was amusing to see everyone’s reaction to seeing her made flesh like a god descended from the heavens to play with mere mortals LOL. It’s like they couldn’t believe their eyes. You know, I almost wish she didn’t reveal herself to everyone and just kept on being the all-seeing, all-knowing Ahjumma because she lost a little of her mystique. But she needed to meet Jung Hoo, though I don’t think the show did nearly as much as it could’ve with that moment.

Sarah:  GAH I DIED.  I wanted…well let’s face it.  I wanted for JH to go in for an awkward hug and for Ahjumma to dodge it.  It would have been just the right amount of something.

Vanessa: They did have a drink together, if that counts? And Ji Chang-wook and Kim Mi-kyung have such terrific chemistry when they’re together in the same space, I really wish there had been more face-to-face interaction between them (what would I give to see Jung-hoo being clingy and affectionate and cutesy at Ahjumma and she just gets progressively more pissed off). The more I think about it the more I wish there had just been more time to get to all the Team Healer shenanigans and do justice to all these relationships.

DDee: Again I quibble but she’s Jung Hoo’s mother and I LUFF HER SO MUCH and she’s such a huge presence in the show that I wanted everything for her.  That bit when we see her knitting shrine, I mean, people, she made toys! TOYS! My heart!

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Sarah: Her little FACE when she looked at the toys!  I had a little heartbreak moment.

Vanessa: And she packed her kimbap roller before going on the run, too, did you see? Priorities!

DDee:  And where does she go from here? Now that the anonymity has been compromised, does she continue with Healer 2.0 with Dae Yong? There’s so much more I want to know, which goes to show how strong a character she is, strong enough to merit a show of her own! I’m so ready for The Life and Times of Ahjumma! In fact, any of the women on this show could anchor a drama all their own. But if not I’ll settle for Season 2 with all the women, and Jung Hoo and Young Shin’s Appa i.e. the only two men I like.

Vanessa: Hear hear! And it was both lovely and hilarious that Ahjumma also found the time to gang up with Detective Yoon and boss him around like the old days. I would have liked to see him take more of an active role earlier in the show too, but it was nice to see him still so loyal and admiring of Min-ja after so many years.

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Sarah: I’ve been kind of wishy-washy about the detective during the rest of the series, mostly since he doesn’t really get much screen time.  But I loved his blind, almost kinky devotion to Ahjumma here at the end.  I wish, like with so many other characters, that we got to see him play a more integral part throughout, but I feel like he gave us an opportunity to see a different side of Ahjumma, and he was definitely more gleeful to see her in person than JH seemed to be.  Plus, he served as a pretty convenient plot device to get rid of all the crimes of which Jung Hoo is actually guilty.  For a little bit I wondered if JH’s little “interview” was something he left for Young Shin to hold onto while he served time, but hey, who complains about OTP cuteness?

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Vanessa: And speaking of Dae-young, how great was she this week?? Kicking ass, taking names and snarking back all over the place.

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It would have been nice to see a little bonding or moment of acknowledgement-as-equals between Jung-hoo and his (presumed?) successor, but I was just happy to see the girl getting shit done. Did you see her awesome takedown of the blackmailing photographer? And Moon-ho’s expression of dazed, admiring delight? Perfect.

I too wish the show had touched a little bit on the aftermath of the Elder-takedown for characters like Ahjumma and her team. Does she re-establish Healer HQ somewhere else? Does she rope in Detective Yoon as part of her intelligence team and then work with him on actual police cases for his department too? I don’t see her going back to law enforcement or generally having any sort of conventional career at all – she’s far too eccentric and anti-establishment for that.

And cheers to the writer for doing such great work with individual characters on Healer,. After 20 episodes, I can say that I would gladly watch a prequel/sequel/supplementary series about pretty much anybody on the cast; Ahjumma’s adventures, Moon-ho’s twenty years of silence, the rise and fall of Moon-shit, original Team Healer 1980 hijinks, Young-shin’s childhood with Appa and convict ahjusshis, a day in the life of Yo-yo and his Boyband at the Double S offices, how Secretary Oh became the devious lizard-faced bastard he is today, you name it.

DDee:  So though it was a patchy ending as a whole, I’m the kind of person who is very forgiving of plot wonkiness if the show’s themes and characters resonate with me, and Healer falls squarely into this category.  I really enjoyed the show and at its height, the feels were so off the charts in a way I didn’t even know was possible. And it all started with this OTP.  I mean, they were magic. Jung Hoo and Young Shin had a story, a romance that that grew and flourished as they each did as people, just like how actual human relationships function in real life. It’s sad that I suspect a big reason why this OTP and the show caught on (among us international fans at least) is that we rarely get to see a healthy, loving couple in a genre show like this. Starring a decent guy, for once. Maybe that’s it, a nice male lead, and everyone goes ga-ga. And then the swoony skinship–all of that ridiculous almost-chaste hand-holding and petting, and the sickening eye-sexing–the way he looked at her! And their gorgeousness and blinding beauty, just the glamour and the seduction of everything about them. I mean, those two were like my teenage dream come to life.

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I think that entire paragraph was me saying I love this pair to bits, but there was just too much filler OTP scenes in the final two eps, time which the show could’ve put to better use elsewhere. Like oh you know, a proper mother-daughter reunion perhaps?

Vanessa:  Yeah, this really wasn’t the strongest ending of any drama I’ve watched, but the characters and themes truly made up for it, as you say. When the people who populate your story are this well-defined and lovingly fleshed out, there’s very little that plot wonkiness can do to make them act in ways that would be false to who they fundamentally are as people. At the end of episode 20 I was more frustrated with what didn’t make the final cut, rather than what we actually did get. A killer bacteria subplot? Sure I can live with that. But where is my mom-daughter reunion scene? Where is Moon-ho’s moment of redemption? Where is the payoff and the follow-through for all these wonderful emotional arcs you have been setting up since the pilot? I feel really shortchanged about this in particular, I can’t lie. I’ve read some reviews by people who didn’t mind not seeing those scenes on camera (e.g Moon-ho’s confession) because the excess emotional angst would have just cheapened things so late in the show’s run. But I have to disagree so much – not only do I feel that those scenes were necessary for narrative, thematic and emotional closure, but this show has carried emotional scenes in smart, subtle and truthful ways without ever overdoing stuff or coming across as contrived.

I probably sound a little bitter right now so let me cap off with all the things I did love about Healer as a whole – and I really, truly loved the experience of watching this show, even though I only jumped on the bandwagon after episode 10.

You’re right, Ddee, the OTP is seriously such a huge reason why I got invested in the show. Healer gave us a flawed but sensitive and respectful hero. It gave us a female lead who (to paraphrase myself) came across as a fully-realized human being with strengths and fears and weaknesses, and not just a person-shaped collection of quirks. Their relationship was sweet and healthy and full of trust and openness once they really got going. Skinship was abundant and natural. (and so hot). We got multiple supporting female characters who all had a role to play in the story beyond being love interests or being fridged to fuel Manpain. And all of them lived! We get tragic dead dads instead of tragic dead moms. We got a second male lead who was too busy being flawed and tortured and complex to play a one-dimensional, standard romantic rival to the hero. We got wonderful parents and parental figures and mentors and friends, all with rich inner lives and depth. We got some terrifically-executed common tropes (birth secrets and hidden identities), the subversion of some harmful tropes (reverse wrist-grabbing!) and absolutely none of the more overdone or annoying ones (sudden terminal illness, surprise! Amnesia).

Sarah: I agree on all counts.  I feel that the show did miss out on some real opportunities for closure in the final two episodes.  And I’m not going to lie and say that this girl isn’t more than a little emotionally frustrated.  But on the scale of bad endings, this one doesn’t even come close to…well, bad.  Especially in terms of other endings that left something to be desired in this genre (City Hunter, anyone? 14 Days?).  The strengths of the drama were in character over plot from the very beginning.  I guess because recently the plot had finally started to come together I got complacent, but in the end our characters never ceased to be who they are.  And I think as you have both said, Healer has broken a lot of ground in portraying healthy relationships between partners and families, even as the plot occasionally jumped the shark.  And for no other reason than that Minion finally got her ass-kicking moment, Healer wins my overall support.  Will I watch it again?  Probably not (once was enough to nearly kill me) but the bar has been raised pretty high for any dramas to come.

***

All the Team Feelers would like to give a special thank you to everyone who read, liked, commented and shared these past few weeks.  We hope you had as much fun as we did.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll be back again soon…in the meantime, be well and stay tuned!

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Bong Sookie LIVES! Team Feels Rejoices for Healer Episodes 17-18

Healer_ep18_15_zpswcjob2ktHello All!

We’re back, and in much better spirits this week.  Healer entered the home stretch with a vengeance, and we couldn’t be happier with all of this week’s surprising developments.  We’re not really kill joys, I swear 😉  Anyway, stop on by DDee’s place for the Squee Party.  We need you!

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Bong Sookie is Dead: Team Feels Mourns for “Healer” Episodes 15-16

Healer_ep16_4_zps4xz7paebBE ADVISED: Team Feels did not pull any punches this week.  We focused our attention on a few key issues, and I think it’s safe to say that some of our views may be unpopular with the internet-at-large.  That said, we believe strongly in freedom of speech, so we welcome any opinions you would like to share.  This post contains spoilers through Episode 16. Go to DDee’s page for last week’s installment.  Enjoy!

THE CONNOTATIONS OF CANOODLING

vlcsnap-2015-01-31-15h12m24s202DDee: So one of my biggest frustrations with the show, if not the biggest, has been the repeated withholding of the truth from Young Shin.  And I was at the point where I would’ve settled for her finding out any damn way–telegram, messenger pigeon, smoke signals, anything–because it was casting such a dark cloud over her blossoming relationship with Jung Hoo.

Especially when things accelerated beyond all imagining with last week’s kiss. (We wrote about why we all thought that kiss was misplaced, and I don’t want to repeat myself except to say that Jung Hoo waiting until after he at least told her his real name would’ve been the right thing for him to do by her. The show prioritised his manpain over her right to know with that kiss.)

My biggest fear after the kiss, a fear that I never really seriously entertained (it is K-drama after all!), was that they would end up in bed together at the beginning of ep 15 under false pretences. And when that happened, the wind got taken out of my squee sails big time. All their post-coital cuddling, a thousand shades of cute and every OTP fangirl’s wet dream, didn’t do shit for me. I was so disappointed in him and in the show, because I think full disclosure before sex is kinda, you know, really important.

And if you think about it, there really is no valid reason for the show making him wait till after to tell her his name other than the fact that it just didn’t think she needed to know. And see, what’s so clever (and I’d argue insidious), is that it is impossible, given the set-up, to argue that her refusal to ask questions is a character flaw either, because she is the embodiment of trust and compassion, and she’d told him she’d wait until he was ready. Was he not ready? Because it seems to me his fear was and has always been, the implication of his father having murdered her father, and the impact this would have on their relationship. I didn’t need him to tell her all that, I just needed him to spit out his real name, a step I think he was ready for, and it would’ve been fine. I would’ve been fine.

And I know the exact moment he could’ve done it too. That moment when he’s helping to dry her hair with a towel, a moment so already charged that it could’ve deepened into a thrilling intensity enough to lay waste to my poor soul.

vlcsnap-2015-01-31-15h17m09s136vlcsnap-2015-01-31-15h17m19s109 Because look what happens when he leans in to kiss her with her eyes covered (a call back to their very first kiss), she pulls the towel down to cover her mouth and looks deeply into his eyes instead, as if to say “No, I don’t want my eyes closed this time, and you don’t need to hide from me.” And he, already drowning in her eyes, could’ve just said the words. And then they could’ve kissed each other madly, and then sexy times!

Sarah: Where to start.  So many things.  First of all, as some people who follow me on Twitter may know (Heidi), I was in a pretty serious snit after Ep. 15.  I agree with DDee that the two of them sleeping together before the truth was out was pretty gutting.  I wanted to believe that they would wait until more things were settled.  Thinking back on it, I may have been a little harsh, because:

  1. Both of them were in a pretty serious emotional state at the time, and when that happens your ability to reason isn’t necessarily in top form.
  2. They had both been waiting so long to get to it that the temptation would be pretty difficult to overcome.
  3. I think my initial reaction was motivated by this idea I had in my head that Jung Hoo should have been the one to spit it out.  And he should have, don’t get me wrong.  At the same time, I think that the dynamic of their relationship has changed Young Shin’s character.  She is a journalist.  Her job and her passion is to uncover the truth.  And yet she refuses to ask questions when it comes to Jung Hoo.  She allows him to hold the truth over her and keep her in the dark.  In one sense, their “activities” in Episode 15 take on a sinister overtone because Jung Hoo holds a position of power over Young Shin by withholding the truth of her birth and his involvement in the violation of her privacy.  At the same time, however, Young Shin is a very grounded, strong and independent woman.  And without getting too graphic, I think that she wanted to be intimate with him as much as he did with her.  While sleeping with her may have been a spiritual violation and a violation of trust, at least we can say Jung Hoo did not physically violate Young Shin.

That said, names have taken on a great deal of importance in this drama.  Seo Jung Hoo is tied to his father’s murder case because of his name, Young Shin has gone practically the whole drama without knowing her birth name, and Moon Ho will never escape the shadow of Moon Shik because they are tied together by their generational names.  In that context, the fact that Jung Hoo not only withholds his own name but does not allow Young Shin to know her birth name is a pretty serious offense.  So I’m with you on that one.

DDee: I completely agree that she wanted to be with him just as much as he did, to say anything less would be a disservice to what we know of Young Shin as a woman with her own mind. My argument was never that he coerced her into sex. My beef lies in him choosing the easier way out, of not being truly vulnerable and taking the risk right then and there to come to her as Jung Hoo. I mean, that’s what true intimacy is all about right? Because each time they had touched each other up until that moment connected them physically and emotionally to a deeper and deeper degree, but when it came down to the most intimate act of all, it just felt like empty fanservice because he risked nothing of himself. I know I’m being hard on him, but damnit Jung Hoo is so loving and so ready to be loved that it guts me that he choked.

And then Jung Hoo consults with the WORST PERSON EVER about truth-telling.

vlcsnap-2015-01-31-15h27m59s126When he and Moon Ho were drinking their beers like best buds and talking about when to tell her the truth as if they had any right to even decide that for her, I was like, are you fucking kidding me? Because from where I’m sitting, she has as much stake in this as the two of you yahoos. Even more so. The men on this show, I swear to god. They say they can’t tell the women the truth because they’re afraid for their safety and their well-being, but it’s really about them being afraid of the women acting in ways they can’t predict and therefore can’t control.

So when the shoe finally dropped, I felt so relieved, but it was also too little too late. And I’m not even talking about the final reveal about her birth mother, because god this show doles out the truth to Young Shin in dribs and drabs, and it forces her to deal with wave after wave of shit in ways that are so her, but also in ways that aren’t fair to her.

And maybe it’s unfair of me to expect the show to do what I want it to and then to be disappointed when it doesn’t.

Vanessa: I’m mostly with you here – the double act of Moon-ho and Jung-hoo keeping things from Young-shin and then having those conversations about when and what to tell her was incredibly frustrating to watch. I could have bought it for any other reason apart from vague claptrap like “we can only tell them when it’s safe” or “she didn’t specifically ask so I sort of generally didn’t tell”. Like, what. WHAT. WHAATTT.

vlcsnap-2015-01-31-15h25m55s177vlcsnap-2015-01-31-15h26m09s34Healer_ep16_12_zpszolu0tvrContrivances like this, where characters don’t have conversations with each other, where they don’t talk (and with such flimsy reasoning) are truly the bane of my existence. And I must admit that the OTP interactions this week were kind of soured for me by ALL THE LIES (although things picked up considerably with all the angst in ep16).

VANESSA’S CORNER: THE MANY PHASES OF THE MOON HO

Healer_ep16_7_zps19ttvt0lThen again – and I really, really might be giving the show too much credit here –  I wonder if Moon-ho being the Worst Truth-teller Ever might somehow factor into his tragic arc (which is all in my mind right now, but we’ll see how things turn out in the show). Because the thing with tragic characters is that they have that one fatal flaw that ultimately becomes their downfall. All our characters on Healer are nuanced beings with weaknesses and shades of light and dark, but I keep coming back to Kim Moon-ho and his cowardice (which ties into his silence, his apathy, his procrastination). He kickstarts the entire plot for us, he is complicit in the reason for Young-shin and Jung-hoo’s lives and families being broken in so many ways, he is the catalyst for the revelation of multiple truths, the bridge between generations and atoner of a great sin which he may have to pay for with his life, especially if it really is going to be too little too late at this point.

So we have Moon-ho, a man who thrives on a certain type of attention, on being seen as the epitome of righteousness and justice. As Min-jae tells us, he loves being looked up to and he loves being right, but he is never going to fight for anything to the extent that he might hurt himself or tarnish his image. It’s a flaw he recognizes in himself, and a type of self-preserving cowardice he admits to.
And then we hear about Moon-shik and his relationship with Secretary Oh, and how the former has managed to keep his hands entirely clean while the latter does all the dirty work. And honestly, it’s a chilling comparison. Two brothers, equally manipulative, equally adept at framing truths to serve their own ends – one is willing to call out and be called out on his shortcomings while the other remains wilfully unaware of anything seedy he may have done in the past 20 years. This revelation about Moon-shik is honestly intriguing to me – how much of what Secretary Oh gets up to does he really know about? How much would he have consented to? Or is he so far gone that Myung-hee is the only thing keeping him on track right now? I think we can safely say at this point that Moon-shik has done most of what he has done for Myung-hee’s sake. What happens when she completely defects from his side? I need to call up a prayer circle for that woman right now – she is being awesome and getting shit done (tapping into Moon-shik’s phone! recruiting herself into Team Healer 2.0!) but things are only going to get more dangerous for her. She needs at least one ally to back her up here, and fast (oh when will Moon-ho come clean to his beloved noona?).

Also a quick shout-out to Yoo Ji-tae’s acting this week! He’s been solid and consistent throughout, but for some reason the one sequence that got me seriously verklempt was the scene where Moon-ho is on the phone with Myung-hee. First he breaks out that hateful fake light-hearted tone, that smile he plasters on his face even when he knows nobody is watching (like he’s trying so much harder to convince himself rather than anybody else who might be in the vicinity).  And then you see his face crumbling, looking like he’s about to burst into tears if he has to keep up this false cheeriness for just one second longer? Dammit Kim Moon-ho. You weren’t supposed to give me the feels.

Sarah: I really felt for him here too (which I was a little resentful of, to be honest).  Think you’re right that his facade is beginning to crack, especially now that he is close to Young Shin.  But I think he is finally realizing how much he is betraying Myung Hee’s trust.  And I think that is breaking him because in the end everything he is doing he is secretly doing for her.  She is the only mother figure he has ever had.

CHAE YOUNG SHIN: THE REAL MVP

Healer_ep16_14_zpsvpefyibxVanessa: Poor Young-shin. She continues to be delightful in so many ways (how much do I love that her ability to talk shit for hours actually comes in handy when Team Healer needed to buy precious  time at the cyber crimes department). I love the way she reacts to those truths that are presented to her (albeit in “dribs and drabs” as you say, Ddee). If there’s a saving grace in this whole mess of Young-shin not being told the things she needs to hear by men who seem to think they are in a position to make decisions for her or “protect” her, it’s the way she has reacted and dealt with these revelations that feel so consistent and so true to herself as a character. The onset of panic attacks, hiding under the bed (oof!), attempting to sing to herself. Her abhorrence of violence which dictates the way she reacts to Jung-hoo’s presence in her room – she is afraid and repulsed but also so obviously conflicted about how she is reacting to this man she has come to love and trust. She is angry, she is confused, she is overwhelmed, but she holds no grudges. She deals and processes things the way she needs to, for as long as she needs to, and then she comes back (her  sheepish admittance to to Moon-ho about not having enough perseverance to stay angry at people for long, omg adorable).

Sarah: I have mixed feelings about the way that Young Shin’s revelation was handled.  I’m glad that she finally found out the truth.  And I’m overjoyed that they let her react like a human being and shut down over it.  The scene where she hid behind the curtains and hid under the bed and tried to sing her blues away killed me.

Healer_ep16_3_zpsmdtkgcqcIt was so her, and it was so fragile and human.  And it reminded us that Young Shin is still a little abandoned child on the inside.  And by the way, I was a big fan of the fact that Jung Hoo cared enough to take her call while he was kickin’ ass.  Priceless.

But that’s pretty much where the positives begin and end for me.  While Jung Hoo was allowed to completely shut out everything and dissolve in his own grief over the death of Teacher for a whole episode (days and days in drama time), Young Shin was given a matter of minutes.  And while this may be in keeping with the way her character has dealt with trauma in the past, I don’t think that’s the whole story here.  Young Shin has coping mechanisms like singing and dancing so she can push down her traumas rather than deal with them.  She demonstrates symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress.  And yet, when we finally get to a time when she could let loose some of that anger and sadness, she once again has to force those feelings down.  She has been betrayed, stalked and lied to by two of the most important people in her life, and she refuses to express that so that she can hold onto them.  So that they don’t leave her.  Truth be told, I can understand why she hopped down those stairs and begged Jung Hoo to come back.  When you love someone the way she loves him, it’s hard to withhold forgiveness, even when they break your heart.  After spending so much time putting his happiness before her own, she can’t let go of this impulse to make him feel better.  Even if it means playing into his cowardly denial.

Healer_ep16_17_zps5zfb4yd0Healer_ep16_11_zpsyswrnbskHOWEVER.  And this is a big however.  The situation with Moon Ho is different.  He may be her idol, and he may be the person that knows the most about her early life.  But he does not deserve a latte.  He deserves to have everything in his office thrown at him and that stupid grin wiped off his stupid face.  That moment when she walked into his office with coffee and said she couldn’t stay mad was heartbreaking for me.  Because I know that she hasn’t processed her feelings.  She is feeling guilty for her anger and frightened to lose yet another person in her life.  And Moon Ho, instead of begging for her forgiveness just smiles and acts like the benevolent Uncle.

DDee: She needed to get mad, y’all. NEEDED IT. Why does she not get the chance?! The show gives her no time, no time at all to process what should be the most oh i dunno WTF to say anymore. Jesus. Everything she thought she knew about her past she discovers is a lie, her everything has been thrown into a tailspin, she’s been lied to by her lover, and what the hell is she doing smiling and giving coffee to the man who straight up lied to her face countless times? I admire her strength in being able to swallow that hurt, and we saw how she dealt with her anger earlier when she first finds out Bong Sook is Healer. We got to hear her tell him she was angry at him. Why not now, when the revelations are even more shocking, and the betrayal and lies cut deeper? Instead everything circles back to Jung Hoo’s pain. But dammit, what about her pain? If anyone deserves to get mad, it’s this woman right here.

Healer_ep16_16_zpszgxxo2pcmad dad 3So yes, it killed me when the show denied her the anger and instead let her comfort him, again, to such an extent as to completely erase his wrongdoing. Because he did do something wrong! Terribly wrong. She was right, Jung Ho wasn’t on her side. And that’s the thing with him, after everything, he chose Moon Ho, and even defends him to her face. Seriously, Jung Hoo?

Healer_ep16_15_zpszw5ucv9rmad dad 4Vanessa: I had to step back and take stock of those scenes again after reading your opinions, and I have to say I’m with you guys on this. I think I was initially so relieved that Young-shin was allowed to have any sort of reaction at all, and that the men were being decent enough to step out of her space without demanding immediate forgiveness and understanding, that it never registered with me that her coping mechanisms were unhealthy. Nor did I catch on to the injustice of her not being given the same time and space and permission to process her feelings outwardly.

DDee: I felt a little sad for her in many ways this week. A part of me died when she had to pretend she was looking for her crush at the police station as a distraction. Talk about undermining yourself professionally. And just the way the guys had agreed she shouldn’t be told the truth made her feel somewhat separate, maybe even a little of an outsider, from Team Healer because if you think about it, even Ahjumma knew the truth about her past. It took the shine off a little for what should’ve been fun times, especially since we haven’t seen them work together since Bong Sookie days, days I sorely miss.

THEMES AND THINGS

Vanessa: These two episodes did do a pretty solid job of weaving themes of identity, truths and trust. You have Jung-hoo introducing himself as Seo Jung-hoo for the first time in god knows how long, and yet he still questions who that person even is. Take away the Healer, take away the orphan or the vengeful son or the hundreds of disposable names and faces he has worn all these years – what remains? Who is he? And I love that Young-shin has become this anchor and catalyst for him to start questioning these things, now that he has found a reason to live, a reason to become a fully-realized person.
You have Young-shin learning her birth name and then rejecting it (for now, anyway), because everything she is right now, everything she has grown to be, and everyone who loves her knows her as Chae Young-shin, and she isn’t going be called Ji-ahn just to cater to someone else’s nostalgia for a past she can barely remember.

Sarah: I found this part especially touching because I think part of it is that she recognizes that her birth name was given to her by parents she doesn’t remember.  The name she has now is part of her unbreakable relationship with her adopted father.  For her to throw Chae Young Shin away and become Oh Ji Ahn would be to disregard everything he has given her.  And she’s not going to do that.

Vanessa: It’s so fitting that someone so whole and so strongly rooted in who she is and where she belongs should be that “anchor” for Jung-hoo.

DDee: I dunno, while I do think Young Shin is the stronger of the two certainly in terms of being sure of who she is as Chae Young Shin, I think the reveal of her birth secret tells us there’s room for her to question it as well. Which is why I’m really disappointed we don’t get to see her grapple with this because it means so much for her story. It seems to me that she has as much searching to do as Jung Hoo now that she’s discovered her mother, and I hope the show allows her to do that in the last episodes.

Vanessa: You have the arrest of the corrupt cyber crimes cop, you have Teacher’s death finally getting some airtime, and a stronger link between 1980s Pirate Radio Gang and the continuing legacy of Moon-ho, Young-shin and Jung-hoo as reporters, as messengers of the truth. The callback to how we are first introduced to Righteous Reporter Kim Moon-ho in the pilot – as a teller of stories, of marginalized narratives in a world where the “truth” depends on who has enough money and influence to make sure only their version of events is legitimized.

DDee: The thing I appreciated most about ep 15 was we got closure to Teacher’s story and gave him a send-off he deserved. It was a fitting tribute, and that moment when Young Shin told him that he had good people around him, almost felt like turning over a new page for him.

There’s also the recurring theme of truth and consequences–those who had the courage to not only pursue the truth but reveal that truth at great personal cost (the Underground Journos), those who tried and became embittered (the detectives investigating the murder), Moon Ho, someone who knows the truth but chooses to withhold it, and then those like Jung Hoo and Young Shin still desperately searching for it.

THE SINS OF THE FATHER…AGAIN

Healer_ep16_13_zpsjm3ibjk1Sarah: And now we come around to the central problem in just about every Kdrama ever.  Someone killed someone else’s dad.  Or did they?  I can’t help but feel (and I am probably way off here) that this particular subplot wasn’t needed.  The only purpose that Jung Hoo’s dad’s murder case seems to serve is to drive a wedge between Jung Hoo and Young Shin.  His mother could have left him because of pressure from Elder’s people.  She could have feared for his safety.  And the whole unsolved case could have been what really happened in the car accident, because let’s face it.  That shit don’t add up.

In addition to that, the real wedge between Young Shin and Jung Hoo should be the web of lies between them as a couple.  And yet, the show shuffled that right off in favor of the “Sins of the Father” trope.  I just don’t get it.

Vanessa: See, I was starting to wonder whether there was something that didn’t quite add up in the larger plot, because everything about the 1980s generation (the car accident in particular) feels so vague, and I still have so many questions about young Kim Moon-shik and the details of his deal with the Elder. Jung-hoo’s father seems to have taken precedence over other mysteries that I found more pressing (and to be honest, more interesting). That’s not to say that the recent episodes bored me – I actually found Jung-hoo’s conversation in the cathedral with the ex-detective on his dad’s case to be pretty compelling stuff. But there was constant nagging feeling of things not being quite as cohesive, narrative-wise, as I would have liked.
You’re right in pointing out that the web of lies between our OTP should really be the biggest issue they need to deal with (all these LIES Jung-hoo), and I actually would have loved a scenario where Young-shin is clued in to the truth much earlier and gets to join the crusade against Moon-shik and help discover the truth of both their pasts.

DDee: I was so thrilled when Jung Hoo told Ahjumma back in episode 12 that whatever his father did twenty years ago has nothing to do with him, because it meant that Jung Hoo was looking to the future and was wanting one with Young Shin. Alas, K-drama laws dictate that your parents will haunt you from beyond the grave. And you know, this puts Jung Hoo fully in charge of their relationship, as in the final arc of the show will be fully dedicated to the completion of his hero arc independent of Young Shin. Which explains why the show doesn’t dwell on the revelation of her birth secret.

PARK BONG SOOK: IN MEMORIAM (OFF THE CUFF EDITION)

vlcsnap-2015-01-31-17h21m33s134Our brains were truly dead at this point, so this is literally a conversation we had about why we love (and are going to miss) about Bong Sook:

DDee: He’s twitchy, so twitchy.

Vanessa: and stuttery. repeats words. also that flat, awkward laugh. Haa ha. ha.

DDee: and that great little stutter. Especially the one he did when he asked her to go drinking…k-k-ke-reum.I DIED.

Sarah: Oh God.  I love him.

Vanessa: remember when dad and cakeshop ahjussi cornered him and he turned towards the bookshelves like the BOOKS were going to save him? ah yes. bookshelf.

DDee: Personal contact! Personal contact! *Poke poke*.  That is so Bong Sookie.

Vanessa: and that dorky smile when young-shin called him SO BRAVE for calling the police to save her.

Sarah: His big-eyed, innocent face

DDee: god his FAAACE. Damn his goddamn beautiful face.

Sarah: How he used to pretend he was scared so she wouldn’t suspect

DDee: that face when he looks at her at the cafe.  When she reached out and wiped his lips…GOD.

Sarah: When he said he didn’t have any family.

DDee: …while eating his whipped cream!

Sarah: DAMMIT

Vanessa: when he walked in between young-shin and moon-ho like EIGHT THOUSAND times to stop them from touching each other (bc jung-hoo and bong-soo are equally petty bastards tbh).

Sarah: You know what I think would have been great? If JH really was Bong Sookie when he doesn’t have his super hero outfit on.

DDee: there was makeover bong sookie too

Vanessa: i firmly believe that jung-hoo and bong sookie truly became one entity in that makeover scene. nobody can fake that look of sheer horror.

Sarah: DAWWW

Vanessa: omg rooftop confession!

Sarah: Dead.

DDee: That was Bong Sook/Jung Hoo for real.

Vanessa: Rooftop confession FAAACE.  It’s top ten.

DDee: And he teased her too.  Just before laying it out there.

Vanessa: Also ALL the phone conversations they ever had (and bong sookie perpetually addressing her informally because he “forgets”).

***

So basically, we loved Bong Sookie.  And he has officially left the building.  But the truth is that the reason we are so tough on all the lead characters this week (including Moon Ho) is that we cared so deeply about them throughout the series, and we had such high expectations for them.  To see them fall short of those expectations, and to go so far afield of what we have come to love is disappointing to say the least.  That said, there is still time left for everyone to redeem themselves.  With the exception of Moon Shik.  And we’ll be coming back for more torture next week!  Tune in to DDee’s page then, and see you next time!

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We’re Back! With Battle Scars: Team Feels Survived “Healer” Eps. 13-14

Healer_ep14_9_zpsdni1bi9o

Hello Friends and Readers!

DDee and I have returned for another round of Feels and Reals for last week’s Healer episodes.  Head on over to her page this week and join us at the party.  We love hearing from you!  But be forewarned:  These last two episodes hit us like a ton of bricks.  We are remarkably less squeeful this week and a lot more…emotional.

Also please welcome our new addition to the group!  See you soon!

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Team Feels Flatlines for “Healer” Episode 11-12

I don't know, but I died.

I don’t know, but I died.

BE ADVISED: The following post contains spoilers for Healer through Episode 12.  Please read with caution, as this post also contains prose that is neither dignified nor entirely coherent, and recounts scenes that some readers may find overpowering in retrospect. The following post was written by me in collaboration with DDee of Obsessive Compulsive K-Drama Watching DisorderClick here for last week’s review. Enjoy!

AFTER EPISODE 11:

vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h48m16s0vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h48m52s111vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h49m31s39S: First of all, what is with Moon Ho?  One minute he’s all, “I want to help you clear your father’s name and deal with that whole murder situation.”  And the next minute he’s like, “But Ji Ahn is dead just FYI.  Don’t go thinking that girl you’re in love with in the adorable starry scarf and cute haircut is the same girl you used to build forts with, because it’s not ok?  It’s not.”  And then I’m all like, couldn’t Jung Hoo put 2 and 2 together?  I mean, who else would Moon Ho be looking for with a DNA test?  Why is he having you hang out with Young Shin all the time?  And didn’t you hear him call her Ji Ahn on the roof?  Sound at all like Kil Ahn to you? Put your brain on Healer!

D: *BIG SIGH* Oh Moon Ho.  I keep wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt, but then he does something like withhold the truth, and throws his ex under the bus and treats her unprofessionally despite her being his boss, all because they used to date, and I’m like NO.  I know he’s conflicted and guilt-ridden, and he’s trying to correct the past and is going about it the only way he knows how.  But I feel that for him, the end justifies the means, and in that sense he ain’t so different from Moon Shik. I’m sure others more knowledgeable about Korean history and context could make a case for his character being symbolic of something larger, maybe being of a generation that bridges the Korea of an oppressive past, and today’s generation who has no memory of what it was like to grow up during a military dictatorship (which is what Jung Hoo says when they’re at the junkyard).  Song Ji Na, the writer, said that Healer is about “the children of the Sand Glass generation who confront the world their parents left behind” (there’s a link somewhere…oh here: http://jichangwookkitchen.com/2015/01/10/magazine-lady-kyunghyang-2015-january-issue/) If so, then what does Moon Ho stand for as a reporter and as a person?  Does he really believe in uncovering injustice?  Or is it just about taking down Evil Elder/Evil Bro?  And does it matter if it’s just the latter?

S: I think that you are definitely on to something here.  But while Moon Ho may be a bridge between the two generational shores, it’s like there is a tectonic shift going on, so that he is constantly pulled in both directions at once.  On the one hand he has the thirst for justice and the need to speak the truth of Myung Hee and Kil Ahn.  On the other, he has Moon Shik’s ambition and understanding of the way the world “really” works, which is at the hands of overlords like Evil Elder.  And for him, sometimes protecting the safety of the people he cares for most trumps the “greater good”.

D: As for Jung Hoo, yeah I get what you mean.  I’m chalking it up to him being needy, and being ruled by his heart and not his head right now.  I mean, why else would he have exposed himself to this degree?

S: And Ahjumma.  How deeply I love all her knitting and her crazy socks, and how much she doesn’t want Healer to get hurt.  I’m ready for her to bust out of whatever basement she’s in and kick some Moon Shik behind!  You know she’s got the moves.  And at the very least she could poke him with her knitting needles.  No joke, that white thing she was knitting…that was the biggest yarn I have ever seen in my life!

vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h29m07s221D: Awww, Ahjumma luffs him and wants him to be happy!  But more importantly, she wants him to be safe.  I love that he knows she’s got his back and will come through for him.  Because she basically set up the whole date right?  People seem to think it was all Jung Hoo, but to me the boy is clueless.  Lord knows he’s got the right instincts but dates like this require experience.  And he has zero.  I mean, can you see him picking out bunnies?

S: OMG the Couple Bunnies?  There was a girl one and there was a boy one and they MATCH. And somebody gave that to the driver and he was like, “Yeah, I’ll totally wave a stuffed animal at a stranger.  For a small fee…”

vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h43m32s17vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h43m48s180I love how all Young Shin had to do was reach out and he was there!  There was no “I can’t put her in danger.  I must pretend not to care and stay away.”  Naw, he was like, “Screw that, where’s that shirt that makes my footsteps sound sexy?”

D: He pretty much just got dressed and showed up.  Ahjumma probably tsk tsk-ed him and said, “Boy, leave it to me.” Right??

vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h26m20s153(And speaking of experience, I mean, I so don’t want to go there but I kinda do.  HALP.)

S: Oh, dude, he’s totally still got his V-Card.  Unless he orders in the nookie, which I seriously doubt.  I mean he’d have to keep his glasses on…

D: And all that knitting, it’s for him right?  I think she’s got a whole closet full of things she knitted for them that she’s saving to give him as a farewell gift.  Maybe she does it subconsciously, like, “Darn, this thing is too big for me.  Eh, he can have it.”

S: That.  Is the most adorable thought anyone has ever thunk.

D: Before we get to the date though, the convo on the roof with Ahjumma!

vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h18m29s72vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h18m19s8He totally nails it.  That is exactly what YS would do, she would kick his ass!  While I love that he’s 100% sure of his feelings, he’s only able to be so sure of hers because she confided her deepest darkest secrets to him under false pretenses.  He’s gotta work for it, more than he expects to.  And I hope he does, cuz if Young Shin doesn’t flip her lid and give him hell I’ll be disappointed.  He’s all like, her heart is all I want and need, is my heart not enough for her?  And Ahjumma, bless her, the voice of reason is totally right.  What does Jung Hoo have to offer her?  I mean, other than his undying love, and that body, those hands, those eyes, nose, lips…

*Slaps self*.  Sorry…where was I? Young Shin doesn’t know Jung Hoo after all.  That’s the reality he maybe doesn’t want to think about too much.  But he’s working on it.  That’s what I love about him, he’s actively trying to have a future with her by resolving his past.  The other thing I love about this character is that he could so easily be that dark, embittered, angry archetype.  He has every reason to be (stolen childhood and all that) but he isn’t.  He doesn’t resist his feelings for Young Shin and doesn’t really think himself unworthy of her, which speaks of his resilience.  He’s just been waiting to love and be loved.

S: Right?! I mean here’s guy whose been lied to, abandoned, abused, hunted, misunderstood and everything else, and he still believes true love will conquer all.  How can you not LOVE that?

D: Compare that to Moon Ho, who is filled with so much self-loathing that he pushes away the woman he loves.  And here’s where the romance is woven neatly into the bedrock of character and plot, which is the sweet spot for us romance fiends, right?  Nice work Song Ji Na!

S: Where is Min Jae by the way?

D: Now, and this is what we’ve been saying all along.  If only the men would tell Young Shin the truth.  And here’s where if I turned my brain on I’d say that Young Shin better start turning her brain on or else…I like how she paused before her date to think about the detective’s suspicions, which tells me the show’s given it some thought.

S: And the hand holding.  I mean…I can’t.  Take it away DDee.

D: Oh right you left this part to me, like you had nothing to say about it at all??? But I get it.  I definitely needed a moment.  I was flushed, sweaty and heated like it was my first time holding hands with the hot secret man I was in love with.  I mean Jesus.  Did you see the way he slid his hand ever so slowly down, down, down?  And then the way their palms and fingers outstretched as if to feel every inch of skin?  Was I the only one thinking of other body parts entwining here?!

vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h31m18s93vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h31m39s42vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h31m49s174Healer_ep11_01_zps44fc7486vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h32m53s39vlcsnap-2015-01-18-12h33m03s144S: Definitely not.  I mean when she almost left and then he caught her arm (HOW did he get there so fast by the way?!) like he just COULD NOT let her go without some sort of physical contact.  I mean, I’m pretty sure if she had as much as moved he would have pulled her back and taken her right there in the theater (with her willing participation of course).

D: And then their FACES. THE FAAAAACESSSS.  I could feel her heart pounding.  She’s like, OMG is this really happening?” And his eyes are like “Damnit I want to turn around and kiss you so bad right now it’s killing me.” It was as if after all that pining from afar, the longing for eachother had built up into a physical need.  PHYSICAL.  And then when he finally turns around, there’s all that longing in his eyes again with a touch of shell shock. That hand-holding in the elevator was vulnerable intimacy.  This one was filled with aching desire, and the torment of bodies that could not meet.  It was so freakin’ sexy.  Does this blow every Kdrama kiss out of the water (save one maybe)?  I mean this felt adult.  ADULT.  How is this possible?  In a Kdrama?  In this Kdrama?!  Sexy hand-holding man.  How is this possible?

S: THIS.  And for me it wasn’t just the sexiness of it either.  I feel like the more Jung Hoo hangs around Someday News and gets to know Young Shin, the more he craves human contact.  I mean, how often does he ever even get a hug, or a pat on the back or…anything?  And then to hold hands with the woman he loves…it’s like holding hands with her brought back all that loneliness and there were just too many feelings.  Like did you see his face when Moon Ho asked if he had any friends? 

vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h00m17s98vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h01m10s111vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h01m30s3vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h01m46s197He almost cried!  And then when he and Young Shin were on the roof that couple of times and she would reach out to touch his chest and he had to back away.  Like the heat of her hand over his heart might burn through his sweater.  Which I mean I would be fine with.  He could kiss her, but he couldn’t let her touch him. DEEP.

D: On another note, not seeing Bong Sook an Young Shin together really made me realise (sidenote: Being a UK English-Speaker, DDee spelled “realize” with an “s”.  No, Word Press.  In some countries, this is not incorrect) how much I love them together.  I miss Bong Sookie!  Like, so bad!  And she did too!! Damnit woman, think about that, would ya?!

vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h07m07s97vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h07m21s215After Episode 12: In Which We Stop Trying to Be Deep

D: OK like whoa this show just…you know how last week we turned a corner?  Well this week we just took off like a lightening bolt!  They gave me everything.  EVERYTHING.

S: I’m just gonna start with Myung Hee because she actually became a character in this episode, and I was blown away!  I mean, the part where Moon Shik tried to trick her into outing Jung Hoo.  At first she was doing good, you know, like she wasn’t even going to go there.  And then Moon Shik said whose son he was and she started crying and petting his face. 

vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h41m21s164vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h42m04s76vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h42m18s201

I mean, how am I supposed to deal with that?!  It’s like she and I were sharing the same feels!  We were AS ONE.  And then they started talking about the murder and Ji Ahn and she was so sweet to Jung Hoo, even though you know it was tearing her up talking about her husband’s death.  And she totally shrugged off Moon Shik, and I was like, “YEAH that’s what you GET!” And then they were holding hands (HOLDING HANDS) and Jung Hoo had both hands around hers and the feelings got to be too much and she had a seizure and the other shoe finally dropped and Jung Hoo FINALLY caught on about Young Shin and his FACE.  And I mean can we just…???

D: RIGHT?! I think we have to give all the things to Myung Hee this week.  When she pushed Evil Hubs; hand away, I totally fist-pumped.  Cuz hello, woman with brain here!  And she’s come alive and won’t be manipulated by the likes of you!  I’m waiting for her to rise up (figuratively, although physically would be cool too) and say a huge FUCK YOU to Evil Hubs , like, don’t you dare use your love for me as an excuse for all your lies and corruption!  This shit is all on YOU.  And then I also want her to say to Moon Ho, not in anger but in disappointment, “Why didn’t you tell me Moon Ho?  Do you think so little of me?  Is it because of my illness, this wheelchair, that you think me so weak?”.  And Moon Ho would be CRUSHED cuz Noona means the world to him.  It was never the truth that was harming her, it was the lies.

S: Dude.

D: And yeah, when he and Myung Hee met, I was like, “I AM SO NOT READY for all these feelings!”  Because that scene brings the two worlds together, the cool, sexy Healer world and the not-so-cool older generation world that I’ve mostly just been like zzzz…, in a way that was emotionally so powerful.  And I LOVED that Jung Hoo and Myung Hee totally had this real ass conversation right in front of Evil, like he wasn’t even in the room, like the truth was gonna come out come hell or high water!  They just kept dropping truth bombs in his FACE and Evil couldn’t handle it.  And speaking of face. I mean, Ji Chang Wook!  This shows constantly finds ways top put him in situations where he gets to do the Thing, where a million different emotions flicker in an instant across his beautiful face and I DIE.

S: And then.  The fight DDee.  I don’t know how Jung Hoo knew where Moon Ho was (does he have that car bugged too?) but he straight up ran at him and linebacker-slammed him into the door!  I was like, “Damn, Jung Hoo, head trauma is real!” 

vlcsnap-2015-01-17-17h55m20s218vlcsnap-2015-01-17-17h55m01s41And you’re right, this scene really was a breakthrough, and I think it’s because Jung Hoo got MAAADDDD.  And I don’t mean scripted Kdrama mad either.  That scene got real, just the way he had all that anger and sadness and confusion  mixed up on his FACE and you didn’t know if he was gonna scream or start crying. 

vlcsnap-2015-01-17-17h58m49s254Jung Hoo has become so expert at masking his more negative feelings, and to finally see him blow up at someone, to just let all that out, it was such a release for me as a viewer, you know what I mean?

D: OMG YES.  Watching Jung Hoo having to confront the past and letting it all out the way he did WAS so satisfying because it felt like a hundred percent real.  Because he basically finds out that he’s not a victim of circumstance, that his life was destroyed not by fate, but by Evils.  And he wasn’t just angry for himself, he was angry for Young Shin and Myung Hee and ugh, just that PAIN of feeling robbed, of all of their lives being played with.  And I’m gonna disagree with Master Yoda here, that anger doesn’t lead to hate, anger leads to clarity.  Because the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off, right?  So he’s like, “I’m so done with all your shit!  I am not going to be a pawn in your games anymore!”  And this is where, again, the writing is ON POINT in terms of where the character’s at.  When he says that line, “What the hell have you done to us?” it is PURE PERFECTION, just, ugh. I can’t. No words.  He was all hurt little boy and adult rage, right there, all at once.  You felt all the weight of 20 years of lies and secrets bearing down on him.  The acting was ON FIRE.  From both of them!  WHAT A SCENE!!!

S: And to be honest this scene gave me a new respect for Moon Ho.  He didn’t fight back, and he didn’t really try to defend his actions either.   The one thing he said was that if Myung Hee found out Ji Ahn was alive she might die. 

vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h17m41s16vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h18m58s35Which considering the fact that she has a seizure any time someone mentions Ji Ahn, might be true.  I genuinely do get the sense that Moon Ho cares about everyone and wants to do the right thing, but the situation is so messed up at this point that he can’t even figure out what the “right thing” is.  And then Jung Hoo was like, “Screw all y’all, me and Young Shin are gonna peace out to my Secret Secret Island.  You deal with your own shit.” I Died.

D: HAHA GOD THAT LINE I know! Hold me! I can’t.  But you know what I love best about Jung Hoo? Because you mentioned hiding his negative feelings, I feel that he swallowed all that pain and hurt and anger long ago and made peace with it.  It’s the only way he’s been able to keep in touch with his mother and be able to love her without judgement.  He chooses to have a relationship with his mother, however tenuous and fragile, over his own hurt at being abandoned.  I think it pains him to keep a distance, but he does it to spare her.  Despite having every reason to reject her, he chooses her.  HE CHOOSES LOVE.  That’s who he is, and that’s why he never runs away.  And that’s what makes him THE BEST HERO.  How did he learn this?  How??  Did he get therapy? OMG was it Ahjumma? Is Ahjumma his fairy godmother, surrogate mom and SHRINK?

S: And then I up and died again.  That hug moment.  Do you ever have one of those times when damnit you just need a hug?  Well I certainly felt like I did after all of that, and here comes Jung Hoo and just wraps her up, and she was deep in it too.

vlcsnap-2015-01-17-17h48m12s227vlcsnap-2015-01-17-17h48m33s231D:  I’ve seen so many insipid Kdrama hugs, you know where they do the limp patting on the shoulders as if to mean something other than some pathetic weak-ass nonsense.  Come on, gimme full on bear hugs like people mean it! AND THESE TWO MEANT IT.

vlcsnap-2015-01-17-17h50m53s100S: I mean, Jung Hoo might as well have been kissing her neck. D: And just the way he clings to her so desperately.  There’s so much in that hug–solace, relief, NEED.  And she melts too!  And he goes in for seconds liker he can’t get enough of her. S: And she was like, “Nope, still TOO MANY FEELINGS. MUST NOT SNUGGLE BONG SOOKIE”.

D: OH GOD I DIE.  And of course the cherry on top is Ji Chang Wook’s shell-shocked face, which by now I should be accustomed to but just never fails to just make me MELT.

S: And then she made him a big cocoa with brownies and whipped cream, just like he was a little kid who had a bad day at school. Daw.

D: And they DO THE THING, the thing I wanted her to do, that moment in every rom-com where someone suddenly starts to really see the other person, and she reaches for him and like GUH it was so perfect.  But before that they just have to have that conversation where he tells her the truth about his family and she sees him for the lonely vulnerable boy he is.  OH GOD.

vlcsnap-2015-01-17-18h00m57s245vlcsnap-2015-01-17-18h01m14s165S: I won’t go on and on about the feeding.  Because I know you addressed that already.  Except to say that remember that time that Young Shin made the potatoes his mom used to make him?  Do you think when they were little she used to hang out with his mom in the kitchen and watch her make them…actually, you know what I can’t.  The feels are too strong.

D: FLATLINE.  That is all.

S: And then the hand holding thing. When they accidentally held hands and she KNEW THAT HAND just like you said, and he knew she knew but she didn’t want to know and I was just like, “How about we just blow the cover now and y’all make out?” But naw.  Oh well.

vlcsnap-2015-01-17-18h03m31s32vlcsnap-2015-01-17-18h04m20s176vlcsnap-2015-01-17-18h04m50s7vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h29m18s45D: Oh please, those damn hands again. I’m starting to think this show really wants to kill us all.  I feel like telling the production that the show needs to come with a warning, a BEWARE OF FEELS warning. BECAUSE i CAN’T TAKE IT. DEATH BY HAND-HOLDING IS A THING PEOPLE.

You know what I was thinking though, how the hell did they get any sleep that night?!  Young Shin must’ve been pacing in circles.  And breakfast must’ve been pretty awkward.  And I so badly wanted to see Jung Hoo in Dad’s PJs.

S: And Jung Hoo and Ahjumma finally had a moment!  But I’m sleepy so help me out here.

vlcsnap-2015-01-17-18h07m15s146D: Yeah they totally had a moment, and surprise, she’s cooking dinner.  She tells him people are his Kryptonite, but it’s the opposite really.  And notice he doesn’t blame her for keeping the truth about his dad from him?  It’s because he gets it and he trusts her with his life.  And that line about what does what my father did have to do with me, got to me because it’s so honest and plain-spoken and sounds like our man totally has his head on straight.

S: And now I need to move on to when Jung Hoo’s mom got taken.  She bought him a parka cuz he gets cold! A black one! And when Lawyer Baek showed up and she got scared and she hugged it! 

vlcsnap-2015-01-17-17h46m12s95vlcsnap-2015-01-17-17h44m50s233I’m sorry but he loves his mommy so much and he was so worried about her that he even forgot about Young Shin and went into crisis mode with the GLASSES.

D: We got Bong Sookie in GLASSES.

vlcsnap-2015-01-18-13h36m02s3S: And I’m telling you.  If there was one moment that made me want to cry on this show.  I mean that’s when the hyperventilation started.  And then he runs into YoYo and the Boy Band and gets the living crap beat out of him and ends up on a rooftop again (surprise) all passed out. 

vlcsnap-2015-01-17-18h14m08s216And Young Shin’s all up in it now and Ahjumma’s like, “Screw secrets, we gotta save Healer!”

vlcsnap-2015-01-17-18h15m13s98And was that Teacher?  And Young Shin’s going to save Healer! I can feel it!  And is his mom okay?!

D: LOL at first I was like, “The hell is Yo Yo??  And I figured oh you mean Chief Goon?  Yes, that’s gotta be Teacher.  And where is minion girl?!  And you know if Young Shin and her mother save Jung Hoo and his mother, I’d basically die and go to Heaven, right?  Because that would make the show for me.

S: Sidenote: Moon War is kickin’ OFF.

vlcsnap-2015-01-17-18h02m18s55D: It’s about time.

So the preview for 13 is out but I haven’t seen it.  I’m sure the cat’s outta the bag.  And I’m biting my nails.  I almost don’t want the truth of his identity to come out because the whole thing between them, that frisson, has been powered by that secret and it’s been so exquisite, I don’t want the bubble to burst.

***

Well that’s all for this week friends, and only a day late.  Is new Word Press driving anyone else up the wall?  Just asking.  Join us next week on DDee’s page for Episodes 13-14.

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Help Wanted: On the Subject of BB Creams

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Hello Again,

As some of you may know, I have been exploring Korean skincare/makeup lately. The one thing I haven’t really gotten into yet is BB cream. The BB/CC craze is going full force in the U.S., but I hear that a lot of American brands will market a product as a BB or CC cream to be on trend, but what you’re actually getting is a garden variety tinted moisturizer. So I’d like to try some Korean brands, but my one concern is the use of things like Arbutin to “whiten” the skin. Since I have gotten some mixed messages on what that means, I thought I would ask my people who are more in the know. Do these ingredients just inhibit melanin production (to prevent dark spots) and increase brilliance, or do they actually lighten the overall tone of the skin? I ask because I’m concerned about the safety of such products, and I tend to throw out samples I get in Memeboxes that say they have whitening properties. Please be kind, I’m just trying to educate myself on the subject. Thanks as always!

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Giveaways?

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Hello All!

I have just surpassed 100 followers (say WHAT?!) which got me to thinking of ways to give back to all of you who read, like, comment and follow. I honestly consider you to be as much a part of this blog as I am. So I was thinking of starting giveaways of things like drama DVDs, albums and beauty products that I like. Now to be honest this would require an investment on my part, because I would be renting a P.O. box. I love ya’ll, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing my street address. I think it would be a lot of fun to put these together, and I really don’t mind the money if it’s something people like. So. Is this something you would like to see in the future? If so, like and or comment and if I get enough positive reaction we’ll make it happe. TGIF!

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