Healer Episode 1. Healer’s first episode was solid. I liked the characters and gadgetry more than the story. That definitely can be built upon.
Healer: We are introduced to super cool Healer, Seo Jung Hoo (Ji Chang Wook), a loner for hire with a dream of owning an tropical island. His apartment is a loft space with an inspirational image of an island and sweet electronics. The person that feeds the Healer jobs is Jo Min Ja (Kim Mi Kyung). The first job she sends him on is picking up a client & package and delivering it. Unfortunately a rival company sends 8 goons to do the same job. Healer does not like those odds and is ready to quit but the 5M Won convinces him to continue. The things a guy does for his dream of a tropical island. With a cool heads up display eye glasses, Healer spots the target, a middle aged man clutching a briefcase. He escorts the man onto the subway train, telling him he is Healer. The goons also enter the subway train, 4 on either side of them. At this point, you think, the Healer is in a tough spot, one that he cannot get out of. But Min Ja stops the subway train and the Healer and his scared rabbit client exit into the dark tunnels. The goons follow and an artistically choreographed fight ensues. We never see what exactly happens after the fight, but the Healer gets the job done.
Chae Young Shin: We are introduced to plucky second rate reporter, Chae Young Shin (Park Min Young), as she bluffs her way into a big star’s apartment under the guise of a sickly delivery person. Unfortunately she only snaps a picture of a man’s shoes at the entry way but not the man, so it is insufficient proof of an affair for her boss. As she walks through the garage she overhears the boss of the rival company of goons yelling into the phone. He is livid that the Healer has plucked his prey and defeated his goon squad. Young Shin’s ears perk up at the mention of Healer, a shadowy figure that no one has ever seen. Young Shin listens to him rant. She manages to snatch the blurry pictures of Healer the boss tosses into the back of his car before he speeds away. At home, Young Shin’s adoptive father is a nagging nice Dad who wants the best for his daughter. Young Shin longs for two things – to become a famous reporter and to meet her biological parents. When the Healer is hired to find a missing girl, wouldn’t you know, Young Shin is the girl in question. We end the episode with the Healer getting on the bus just after Young Shin. As the bus lurches forward, Young Shin falls into the arms of the Healer.
Kim Moon Ho: We meet star reporter Kim Moon Ho (Yoo Ji Tae) when he arrives at a factory where workers are protesting a massive layoff. Management impassively states the layoffs are unavoidable. He listens to the sad story of one of the workers that set himself on fire to garner attention for the plight of the workers. Ok, setting yourself on fire to protest losing your job is a little extreme. Touched, Moon Ho heads to the hospital to interview the man much to the frustration of his side-kick camera man. Unfortunately, the man cannot speak as his vocal chords were affected, but he wrote the details in a journal before he set himself alight. At the evening’s news broadcast, the producer admonishes Moon Ho to stick to the scripted comments about the incident. Moon Ho agrees but once on air, turns away from the script and shares the man’s tragic story much to the dismay of the producer and the network bigwigs. That night in his apartment Moon Ho looks at a box of tapes and some pictures. He remembers his past when he was the kid that hung out with student reporters that produced mobile underground broadcasts, and the driver was his brother. It was an exciting time, watching his brother and other reporters broadcast from a moving truck and trying to avoid capture by the police. He and his brother, Moon Shik, have an interesting dynamic. On the surface they seem friendly but Moon Ho hired the rival company that sent the 8 goons to retrieve the package while his brother hired Healer. They learn that they both tried to take the package. This must be part of the game they play as brothers. You’ve got to wonder if the child Moon Ho seeks is Young Shin.
* Writer Song Ji Na crafted a first episode that was solid but not riveting. I know’s Ji Na writing from the musical drama “What’s Up”, which had some strong characters but did have some plot issues. I’m a bit wary how tightly woven the plot points of this drama will be.
** The bad news – the first job the Healer found himself against a squad of goons. The scenario was a bit ridiculous and made his boss, Min Ja, look silly for not knowing the rival company was also after the same package. I hope future jobs the Healer works are stronger. The back story of Moon Ho and his brother Min Shik driving a truck of student reporters was interesting but the ramifications are unclear right now. We’ll peel this story throughout the series. The chase scene were the student reporters avoid the police via a truck and motorcycle was not gripping or well staged. Wonder if the director, Lee Jung Sub, could have done more to make these scenes stronger.
** The good news – the characters are intriguing and I like the actors.
*** Ji Chang Wook as Seo Jung Hoo, Healer, has a cool vibe. I liked his lone wolf ways and look forward to finding out more about Healer. I enjoyed Ji Chang Wook as the lead actor in Warrior Baek Dong Soo (see review). I believe Chang Wook will deliver the goods in this role.
*** Park Min Young as Chae Young Shin, was likable from the start. She’s resourceful and positive. She’s got a sweet Dad. She’s got two dreams, to meet her biological parents and become a famous reporter like her idol Moon Ho. Min Young was terrific in City Hunter (see review) before the writer marginalized her character. I believe Min Young will deliver the goods in this role.
*** Yoo Ji Tae as Kim Moon Ho was aloof and intriguing. Right away you understood that the fame of being a reporter was not the driver for him. Moon Ho wants to report even if it means bucking the network’s desires and going rouge. Love that! What’s the deal between the brothers Min Hoo and Min Shik? Ji Tae was riveting as the evil counterpoint in Old Boy (see review). He is the A grade actor of the series. This character was as important as Healer this episode and with a solid actor like Ji Tae, this character should continue to be front and center.
* Cool gadgetry! The heads up display the Healer sports is awesome. These glasses are packed with features like facial recognition software and instant darkening. Chang Wook looks fabulous wearing them, which is good, it looks like these glasses will be worn often. I loved the Healer’s apartment with a massive wall display of his dream island, cool TV and gaming system, etc.
* Kudos to the writer for the parallel assessments of the salaries of the Healer, Young Shin and Min Hoo’s salary. LOL that Min Hoo’s salary = cannot calculate (too big).
* Kudos to the writer for the parallel dreams of the Healer (desert island), Young Shin (become a famous reporter and find her biological parents) and Min Hoo (finding the child from his past).