Have you ever experienced that feeling of holding a drama so dear to your heart that you almost don’t want to share it to the world? I’ve had my fair share of K-dramas that are my all-time favorites and admittedly, almost all of them are falling under the genres of romance comedy, slice-of-life, or fantasy. I wasn’t a fan of action dramas (or even movies), until came Healer.
For today’s Grumpy Flashback feature, we will look back to the drama that listed Ji Chang-wook in the global Hallyu map. Healer was an action-packed masterclass starring Ji Chang-wook, Park Min-young, and Yoo Ji-tae which aired on KBS2 from December 2014 to February 2015 for 20 episodes. It told the story of Seo Jung-hoo (Ji Chang-wook), a topnotch night errand guy who works as a courier of all sorts under the code name “Healer.” His life took a complete turn after meeting Chae Young-shin (Park Min-young) in one of his client’s assignments. Together, they uncovered the secrets of their traumatic pasts and fought against the mighty wicked force in their dramaverse. It’s a typical good vs evil premise, wherein I even compare the structure of the villains to the Star Wars’s dark side. It’s Jedi vs Sith set in a K-drama world.
The story revolved around Healer working with his ever trusty hacker partner, Jo Min-ja (Kim Mi-kyung). What I like about their partnership was their principle of secrecy and vow not to commit murder at all cost. Hacker ahjumma is the middle person between Healer and their clients. She was the one who accepts assignment offers and Healer would do all the leg work. This relationship worked so perfectly, until one day, the Healer team accepted a work assignment from famous reporter Kim Moon-ho (Yoo Ji-tae). He was looking for a young girl who went missing after an unfortunate incident 20 years ago. This was where the story picked up – the link between the past and present events. Healer was able to find the missing kid who is now living as the tabloid reporter Young-shin. After discovering hints about his possible connection with Young-shin, Healer decided to pose as the rookie reporter Park Bong-soo and work under Young-shin as her hoobae.
Park Bong-soo scenes were the best. It’s a completely different persona, but was still aced by Ji Chang-wook. I loved how he was the scaredy cat Bong-soo while being the protective Healer at the same time.
Ji Chang-wook’s parkour skills as Healer were amazing. The way he jumped off buildings and vaulted over walls made my weak heart skip a beat. I was not a fan of this actor even after watching some of his works before, but the titular role as Healer literally “healed” all those shortcomings from my end. Ji Chang-wook was born to be in this show. Healer was made for Ji Chang-wook.
Another strong point of this drama aside from its action scenes was the undeniable chemistry between the main couple. Healer was an action drama all throughout but it managed to sneak in a perfect blend of romance into the mix. If Wookie was destined to be Jung-hoo, Min-young was the perfect Young-shin. Park Min-young has this gifted aura that works so well with whoever actor she is paired with. I don’t know if it’s because of her stunning visuals or reliable acting, but it just works. The skinship and kissing scenes were sweetly done (even though my heart still yearns for more). I still could not forget the morning after Young-shin went to Jung-hoo’s secret hideout/house to take care of him. It was a moment full of affection with Jung-hoo’s nonstop hugs and kisses. It’s sweet and poignant because you would realize how much Jong-hoo longed for affection all those years. His ultimate dream of owning a secluded island in the Pacific suddenly became a thing in the past, because now, his dream was to be able to love Young-shin peacefully just like how other couples would normally do.
Of course, no drama could ever be perfect, and so was Healer. It had its flaws, too. I have to admit that the overly arched plot sometimes felt dragging, with their “Sith Lord” version Elder (Choi Jong-won) and “Darth Vader” Kim Moon-sik (Park Sang-won) being the central villains that stirred the story. I felt like they built up the tension between the opposite sides all throughout the drama, but then their end was really subdued. The convenient resolution was lackluster in its essence, with the entry of the apparent ‘live bacteria experiment’ that killed a village. Like I was dumbfounded with the sudden turn of unexpected events. Another weakness of the drama was the way the meeting of Young-shin and her biological mother Myung-hee (Do Ji-won) was handled. I was really looking forward to shed tears for this reunion, but the show failed to deliver it for me!
Grumpy tidbit: Jeon Hye-bin made a cameo at the finale as the Korean Chinese researcher Kim Jae-yoon, who played a significant role in unearthing the evil deeds of the Elder and his so-called “farmers.”
Despite the imperfections, Healer would definitely stay as one of my favorite action dramas. It had a strong plot overall, commendable action scenes, intense special connection between the main couple, and reliable acting from every individual character. As the narrative unfolded before your very eyes, you would get sucked into their fight for truth and justice. They say scarred characters make a good drama, and the obvious contrast between Jung-hoo’s indifference to the real world and Yeong-shin’s cheerful naivety changed the dynamic of the drama. When their connected past was slowly revealing their dormant pain, their love for each other was the “force” that balanced everything.
[Credits: All the photos and GIFs used in this blog belong to KBS2’s Healer]
<< Sexy Wookie: Top 10 Reasons Why Ji Chang-wook is the WORST
<< Movie Review: Reasons Why Ji Chang-wook Got Us Hooked in Fabricated City (2017)
<< K-Drama Reaction: Suspicious Partner | Episodes 1-2
<< K-Drama Reaction: Why Secretary Kim | Episode 1
<< K-Drama Rewind: Sungkyunkwan Scandal
<< K-Drama Rewind: The Time I’ve Loved You
<< K-Drama Rewind: Another Oh Hae Young
<< K-Drama Rewind: My Girlfriend is a Gumiho