It’s been a few days since I finished the absolutely swoon-worthy Healer, starring Ji Chang Wook as our resident Healer, and Park Min Young as Chae Young Shin.
The drama was about my dream job when I finished high school; being a journalist and taking down all those big fat baddies who steal our money and make fools of the general populace of the country. It was interwoven between two generations, the teenagers of the 70’s and their children born in the late 80’s. In the present we meet an absolutely lonely man, Seo Jung Hoo, whose code name is Healer, and is famous for his stealth and fighting skills. Even though nobody has seen his face, they reach him by his e-mail address operated by an ex-police officer with genius hacking skills, Jo Min Ja (played by Kim Mi Kyung). This duo goes around accepting assignments from people who need any kind of clandestine work done, as long as it doesn’t involve murder. They are given great amounts of money for breaking into safes, finding missing items, and other illegal activities.
At one point in time, these two are given an assignment by Kim Moon Ho (Yoo Ji Tae)
who is considered a star reporter for his uprightness and skill in exposing all the moral and social corruption lying dormant in Korean society. The case Healer is given is to protect Chae Young Shin, who is an internet reporter with no clout, but dreams to make a name for herself in the future. In order to protect her, Healer assumes he needs to get close to her, and that is where the story takes off from.
Healer, when it started reminded me greatly of City Hunter. The latter being one of the best action-themed Korean dramas I had ever sat through. Lee Min Ho was swoon-worthy so that was just a plus point. Yet, Healer left a stronger impression on me. Both dramas had action packed scenes, but where City Hunter had lacked in the fluff, Healer was able to deliver, on the action, righteousness, as well as the fluff. The romance was palpable, and Ji Chang Wook played a much better wounded puppy than the majestic Lee Min Ho.
The primary attraction lay in the central conflict regarding the parentage of both Jung Hoo and Young Shin. While other dramas would make this makjang, this drama, had a birth story that resonated with me on very many levels. Asian society seems to have an inherent moral corruption in it, and it eats at our institutions and affects the general working of society greatly. Especially in my own region of South Asia, even talking about these issues ravaging our society, can cause great harm since it is considered to be dissent, much like what happened to the five friends in this drama. It was nice to see that the young and able people in the present time, do at least attempt to eradicate the problems, while I feel like the real youth has actually become desensitized and accepting of the moral corruption, which the previous generations may have actively fought against. Hence, I developed a very personal connection with this drama.
Comparing Healer with say, Superman, may be a flawed comparison, because the emotional depth in his own background was much more than what Superman from planet Krypton could have ever experienced. Rather, Bruce Wayne would be able to relate to it much more having suffered a similar fate with the loss of his parents as did Healer. Nonetheless, the superhero feels were strong with this one, even though most of his superhero-ness was because of all the fancy gadgetry that he got to own, despite being a lonesome, brooding figure. What was beautiful to see was that a person, who is willing to do anything for money, can also experience a moment of revelation, in which he can find meaning and purpose in his life. Another concept that the show was dealing with was how much of our identity originates from knowing who we are via the lineage we belong to. If we do not know who we are as individuals, we will never know who we are in the context of our families. If we don’t know our families, we will never know a huge part of ourselves since we are defined by our parents, just like how we define them. We may not be each other’s carbon copies, but we carry certain traits with us that come to define who we are as people. Hence, it felt truly heartening to get to see Healer come to terms with his past, in order to get to know himself better. It was this that helped him heal the society around him, and resultantly heal himself…