Drama Impressions

Published on February 14th, 2015 | by porninja


Series wrap-up: In need of healing now that Healer is over

What do you mean it’s over? There’s so much more story to tell! We need to know whether Moon Ho and Min Jae get married, whether Detective Yoon does anything about his puppy crush on Hacker Ahjumma, whether that glance between Jong Soo and Dae Yong ever develops into something more, whether Myung Hee and Young Shin get to have their tearful, mother-daughter talk… See, writers? We can’t say goodbye to them yet!

There’s no currently-airing drama that excites me quite like the way Healer does. Or rather, did, seeing as it’s been a few days since it’s finale. I’m not very good at goodbyes at all, if you couldn’t tell – especially when that something is as amazing and funny and heartfelt as Healer. It wasn’t a perfect drama by all means, but it was perfect to me.


I’m not the easiest to impress when it comes to dramas because it’s so easy for me to enjoy them in the moment, but then promptly forget about them once the week’s episodes are finished. So it says a lot when I find myself thinking about the characters that inhabit Healer‘s world, wondering what will happen next, long after I’ve finished each episode and sometimes even tiding me over to the next week. Even though the end of the series means a Healer-shaped void in my heart, I’m still thankful that it went out on a high, a hopeful note that still leaves something to the imagination without wrapping things up neatly with a bow like some dramas are known to do.

In the spirit of Jung Hoo and Young Shin’s adorable list of things they like and don’t like, as seen in the last episode (Jung Hoo’s likes include high places, first snow, small hands, white blankets and that hair. Dislikes? Everything that keeps him away from those things. Aww.), I decided to make a list of my own.

Things I like about Healer:

– Introducing us to Ji Chang Wook
Okay, so it’s not like he was some virtual unknown plucked from obscurity and onto the set of Healer, but this is the first project of Ji Chang Wook‘s that I’ve seen – first project I was actually interested in seeing (the 51-episode Empress Ki was simply too daunting to take on). Based on the plot alone, I was quick to pass on Healer and didn’t pick it up till the sixth episode after it generated some fantastic word-of-mouth. It didn’t take long before I was completely sucked into the central romance and a large part of it had to do with Chang Wook and those big, expressive eyes.


Besides the fact that he played one of the most awesome characters in Dramaland, I love that he lent a heart-tugging realness to Jung Hoo. One of the most memorable scenes for me was his impassioned reaction to the death of Teacher because for some reason, it just gutted me more when he tried to hold back his tears despite how visibly broken he was instead of going full-out yelling and sobbing. I love that he understood his character enough to play that scene in a more understated manner which ultimately, landed a much bigger emotional punch.

– A brand new slate for Park Min Young
Pfft, take that, haters. Park Min Young has been in a couple of buzz-worthy dramas but she’s often been dogged with talk of how she only has one expression or that she’s way too pretty (since when was that even a thing?) so I’m glad that she’s managed to prove herself here. So many dramas try to do the spunky, high-energy heroine routine but not many succeed as well. Chae Young Shin will probably go up there with Cheon Song Yi and Choi In Ha as some of my favourite female leads of all time. She’s optimistic yet realistic, cute but not cutesy; she’s intelligent, fearless and there’s just so much to love about her. Min Young plays the role with so much charm and affection, and I’m not sure if Young Shin would have been as likeable, had the character fallen into the wrong hands. Also, does she have the most infectious smile or what? She and Chang Wook can probably blind people with the sheer power of their adorable eye smiles.

– An extraordinary love
, the romance. It’s utterly believable and all-consuming, the kind that makes you sigh wistfully and go, “I want a love like that.” I love that it played out exactly like Superman and Lois Lane’s epic love story, with Jung Hoo even adopting another persona called Bong Soo in order to go undercover as a reporter at the same place where Young Shin works. What I love even more? The fact that they acknowledged the uncanny resemblance when Ahjumma rolled her eyes and commented about him, “You’re just like Superman.” Not that Jung Hoo even knows who that is, seeing as he doesn’t have the time or interest to keep up with popular culture. Hee.


– No needless angst
Best of all, Healer doesn’t waste time with petty misunderstandings and unnecessary secondary love interests. Why do we need another person fighting for the leads’ hearts when their journey towards being together can be so satisfying? Everytime some new obstacle crops up, my first reaction will be, “Oh no, Young Shin might get the wrong idea,” but the writers always manage to surprise, swiftly clearing up misunderstandings. Who knew, that all it took was some good ol’ communication and trust? For example, when Young Shin found out the truth about how Jung Hoo’s dad may have killed hers, they didn’t downplay her feelings but also refrained from letting it drag out too long. She had her moment to grief but then in true Young Shin fashion, she gets back up on her feet and life goes on. Almost immediately, Jung Hoo realises that Young Shin is aware of the connection between their fathers and readily shares his intention to prove his dad’s innocence so that he can be with her, free of guilt. But that wasn’t even the end of it: What was extra swoony was the way Young Shin chased after him and declared, “Find the evidence you need and come back,” and after a beat, “Even if you don’t find it, come back.”


– Consistently great writing
The drama was centered by a main romance that left me giddy but it definitely didn’t forsake the plot just because of it. It was action-packed and thoroughly engaging with smart writing, as the team doled out little clues here and there, expertly weaving the past with the present until it formed one complete picture. They give enough so it feels like you might be able to piece them all together, but not so much that it takes away any semblance of mystery. You kinda get the sense that they’ve planned out the pace far in advance, and it’s because of this that there was no dip in quality throughout all 20 episodes – pick any episode and it’s likely just as good as the next. That’s remarkably rare in a drama because I’ve been burned at the last minute far too many times. You can give me 19 good episodes but if the last one doesn’t tie things up in a logical way, it just instantly erases all the goodwill it’s built up along the way. Down to the last episode, Healer kept me on the edge of my seat, even making my stomach drop with one final twist.


– Fleshed out villain
It’s difficult to get your main leads right, but perhaps it’s even more difficult to write a villain that isn’t laughably one-dimensional, existing solely to stir trouble and serve as a main antagonist. The flashbacks from when he was in his uni days served to add rather interesting layers to Moon Sik. There were times he was frustratingly nonchalant about all the terrible things he’s done, insistently living on this moral high ground as though he’s doing it all for the greater good. And that’s what’s so fascinating about him; he always genuinely believed he was doing the right thing. In the end, while the drama didn’t go the predictable route of highlighting his sins to the public and putting him in jail, I like where they left him – surrounded by his demons, in a hell of his own making. It’s a twisted realisation to think that even years after Gil Han has died, Moon Sik still has a deep-rooted desire to be him, probably stemming from all the years he pined jealously from afar as he watched his best friend and the love of his life be happy together.

– Well-rounded cast
It’s so great when all the main actors in a drama are well-utilised and committed 100% to their roles. In Healer, even the supporting characters felt whole and not like they were simply there to move the plot along. Jong Soo for one, was a character I wish we’d seen more of but at the same time, I felt like we got enough of a glimpse of him to be satisfied. Even when he wasn’t onscreen, I felt like he had a life of his own to lead, one that may not always directly involve the plot at hand, but a life nonetheless. And that’s ultimately why Healer is so fantastic – they’ve managed to create an entire world that exists beyond the pages of the script, making you feel like even though this chapter has ended, they’re still somewhere out there living their lives.


Things I don’t like about Healer:

– It’s over :(

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About the Author

When I’m not writing, I spend my time watching dramas and cooing over my beloved OTPs. Some of my favourite things to do outside of the Internet include singing and dancing, though I’m not particularly good at either.

2 Responses to Series wrap-up: In need of healing now that Healer is over

  1. Marchair says:

    Liked your list of what you liked. Was not wanting to read what you did not like, but you cracked me up. I too agree this was a well executed drama and the acting and writing were superb. Totally with you on the disappointment in so many dramas that kill their story with a bad ending. I do not watch as many dramas live because I like to hear if the ending makes the journey worth it! I did not have that worry with this drama and I think you nailed it with your great insights. Let’s have more dramas take heed and follow Healer’s great example.


    • porninja says:

      You’re welcome! I think we’re really so lucky to have encountered a drama that was as good as Healer turned out to be. Down to the very last episode, Healer didn’t disappoint. I’ll definitely be looking out for Writer Song Ji Na’s next drama!

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