Directed By Lee Jung-sub & Kim Jin-woo
The K2 was good but Healer was way better. I should have watched Healer when it was released in 2014. I was missing out.
In 1992, a tragic incident happened between six friends who were running an illegal radio station. Now in the present, three individuals are brought together by fate to uncover the truth behind that specific incident in 1992. These three people are the night courier known as “Healer” (Ji Chang-wook), an online entertainment reporter, Chae Young-shin (Park Min-young), and a famous journalist, Kim Moon-ho (Yoo Ji-tae).
As I said before, I’m not a fan of action/thriller dramas but this particular drama captivated my interest by the end of the first episode. How the show did it is the main theme song of this series—an instrumental piece with a generic title, “Healer’s Main Theme.” This instrumental song isn’t something that would typically be playing in an action sequence. During these scenes, you would expect the music to be blaring and fast-paced with loud trumpets, drums, and guitars. Yet in Healer, the main theme song is actually very soothing with a slow piano melody. I think this music suits the whole persona of “Healer.” He is someone that fights for justice in this series but does it in a subtle and nonchalant way. This song made me fall in love with this series—a good song can captivate the audience into liking the drama. Healer has one of those good songs.
Aside from the theme song, Healer shows Ji Chang-wook’s skill as an actor: he had to impersonate various roles throughout this series. He had to play his “usual self” Healer—someone who is mysterious, distant, and calculating and is skillful in martial arts and parkour. The second role he takes on is the news media writer, Park Bong-soo, who is the complete opposite of Healer. Park Bong-soo is timid and shy around people and he’s practically scared of everything. I really enjoyed Ji Chang-wook’s performance as Park Bong-soo because his facial expressions when he is scared or fearful are hilarious. The last role he has is Seo Jung-hoo—the real identity of Healer. However, there is an episode where he plays another persona of himself. In order to get information about his father’s funeral registration, he had to actually reveal his true name but decided to take on a different identity of himself. This Seo Jung-hoo looked like an immature, wannabe hip-hop star. He wore baggy clothes and was jamming to music on his headphones. He created that image for himself in order to deceive others into thinking that he isn’t scheming with the information about his father’s death. With all the different roles he had to play, Ji Chang-wook really showed how talented he is as an actor. Usually, when actors take on different roles, they just change their outfits without really changing their personality. However, Ji Chang-wook, not only changes his clothes, but he also creates a variety of personas with the roles he has to play. This really shows his depth as an actor and it is why he’s one of my favorite actors.
What I also found interesting is how Seo Jung-hoo doesn’t show any hatred towards his mother who left him. He has a great relationship with his mother even though she couldn’t take care of him anymore. Usually, in these dramas, children would be a bit cold-hearted towards their family that left them at a young age, but Seo Jung-hoo was really mature and understanding towards his mother and her reasons for leaving. He even tries his best to protect her when she was about to get attacked. Furthermore, I also enjoyed how the main storyline focused on the two leads trying to avenge their fathers’ deaths.
The only thing I didn’t like is how the storyline concluded at the end. There were some “easy outs” that the writers took which led to a few unsatisfying endings to some of the characters. The first unsatisfying ending was with Choi Myung-hee, Chae Young-shin’s biological mother. As viewers, we waited in anticipation for this mother and daughter reunion but when they finally recognized each other, it was a letdown. Chae Young-shin narrates that Choi Myung-hee kind of already “had a feeling” that they were related somehow. I kind of wished there was more of an impact because we saw the mother suffering so much, but it ends up being a happy, fairy tale reunion of Young-shin’s adopted father sharing pictures with Myung-hee.
Another dissatisfying character ending is Kim Moon-sik. He caused so much trouble and destroyed his friendships but in the end, he didn’t get punished for the crimes he and his secretary committed. Instead, he lives a sad and lonely life by himself. I thought that was disappointing, but it did make sense as to why Seo Jung-hoo doesn’t seek out revenge against him. Seo Jung-hoo wasn’t sure who the true enemy was until he realized that he must stop the source: the Elder, the leader of the Farmers.
Healer is a drama that I didn’t think I’d enjoy but I did. It’s now on my list of favorites.
You can watch this series on Dramafever.