[Review] Healer: Half Time!


Gabby:  We are finally halfway through “Healer”, and we figured it’s time for us to give our two cents’ worth about Ji Chang Wook’s latest project. After all, this site was created not merely to dish out information about him, but it was also meant to be an avenue for us to spazz about him too. We originally wanted to do episode recaps, but the lack of time forced us to consider doing episode reviews instead. That proved a little too ambitious also so we thought of doing weekly recaps. That did not materialise either, so we now end up with a mid-point review instead.  LOL *face palm*  Maybe there was some procrastination on our part too.

cherkell:  Yeah, we had such great ideas, but Real Life slapped us hard upside both our heads.  It’s a hard slog to do episodic recaps too, as evidenced by it taking me over a year to finish the “Five Fingers” recaps… but that was a show hardly anyone watched.  (Except for the four people that did.  I thank you for your support!)  And since there are already sooooo many other sites doing recaps, why add to the dilution of the product?  But you all know we spazz about “Healer” in our hearts, every minute of every day, right?

Gabby:  I haven’t really been following the discussions about “Healer” on other sites or forums, but the sudden jump in site traffic at The Kitchen is a clear sign that Ji Chang Wook has become even more popular overnight thanks to this drama. Honestly, I’m very very surprised that “Healer” has suddenly gotten so popular among international kdrama viewers. Because… I don’t think it’s that great. I don’t find myself squeeing over the show like everyone else, and this is coming from a Ji Chang Wook fan, which makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me.

cherkell:  And here I am on the other side of the fence, saying GIVE ME MOAR.  I wasn’t as nit-picky in the beginning upon remembering that this is a KBS venture and that their recent drama offerings were not as illustrious as once upon a time in the dark ages (circa 2009-ish).  But I’m also surprised with the overwhelming interest in this show as well.  Maybe because it’s something fresh and different than any other drama out there on Korean television?  Maybe it’s because there’s some top-notch actors casted for “Healer”?  Maybe it’s because there’s a pedigree attached to the scriptwriters and directors involved with “Healer”?  Or maybe I should just shut the hell up, admit I’m a shallow pervy noona, and say it’s most definitely because of Healer’s ‘assets’?


Parental guidance: Abs galore!!

Gabby:  Not saying the show is entirely bad, but it took me a long time to genuinely like the show, because I found the editing too shoddy in the first few episodes, and the story was also rather convoluted. I’m probably among the minority of international fans who is complaining about this, but at least I know I have company over in Korea, as the shoddy editing was a major gripe among his most ardent fans over there. Some conversation scenes were too long and quiet for my liking, while action scenes seemed too short. Playing ballads like “Eternal Love” in action scenes simply does not sit well with me either. I also found it a pity (and frustrating) that the production team made Ji Chang Wook perform all those difficult stunts, but failed to make good use of slow-motion camera tricks or close-ups that zoomed in on him. Fortunately, the editing improved after episode 4. The show also became easier to follow once all the story setup was done, so I find myself enjoying the show more these days. If only it was perfect from the start!

cherkell:  Agreed.  My friends over there say the same thing, and lots of the comments on the DC Gallery confirmed such grumbling.  The first few episodes were quite disjointed with choppy segues from one scene to another, and introductions to storylines that didn’t quite get past the starting point.  But I still wake up at 4:30 AM every Monday and Tuesday, and sit there for 65 minutes with my mouth open from the beginning notes of the introduction through the final CF after the end credits.  Because I cannot stand not knowing what will happen from one episode to the next, and because I must provide my support to Ji Chang Wook, no matter how high the price in personal suffering.  My only beef is that I pray the overt usage of “Eternal Love” doesn’t turn out to be this decade’s version of Almost Paradiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiise…

Something doesn't feel quite right...

Something doesn’t feel quite right…

Gabby:  Maybe because the production team had billed this as such an awesome drama in their press releases, so I ended up expecting too much from them. The bigger the expectation, the bigger the disappointment. It also annoys me that they keep harping on about “Sandglass”, because me thinks they are just trying to ride on the success of that old drama. True, that probably helped to generate interest in the drama, but it obviously wasn’t a big help ratings wise. Frankly, “Healer” can exist fine enough on its own without trying to make connections to “Sandglass”.

cherkell:  Oh my gosh, you couldn’t turn on your computer during the few weeks leading up to the premiere without seeing some sort of news article or photo pimping the “Healer” production and its Supreme Pedigree.  And my opinion has always been that one well-known writer does not a crack drama make.  (Remember what happened with “Faith”?  I rest my case.)  But the Korean Populace still holds Ms. Song in high regard, as do I because “Sandglass” was a drama of epically epic epicness that the impression it made on my psyche still gives me flashbacks to some of its scenes even to this day.  And Choi Min Soo! *swoons*  But I digress.

Gabby:  I do like the show for trying to be realistic and make a statement about society though. There was one scene where Bong Su was told to write 60 articles a day by copying the news written by other news agencies, and I think that is probably what the Korean press really does. I don’t know about current affairs news, but I do notice that entertainment news are duplicated word for word across multiple news agencies. The only thing they change is the headline.

cherkell:  Thank goodness that we are seeing more realistic shows about modern-day problems such as political corruption and pay-for-play news reporting — stuff that is now slowly inching its way onto the front pages of Korean newspapers.  Let’s hope this trend continues, because we know how fickle the Korean Viewing Public is with their dramas (as evidenced by the not-so-stellar ratings right out of the gate for “Healer”.)

Gabby:  With regards to acting, Ji Chang Wook has done really impressive emotional acting in previous dramas such as “Five Fingers” and “Empress Ki”, and he has also proven that he can do comedy in “Empress Ki” and “Secret Love”, so I don’t think his performance in “Healer” is the best that we’ve seen from him. But this is not to say that “Healer” doesn’t challenge his acting enough. His character in “Healer” was rather cold and slick in the beginning and hence did not require much emotional expression, but at least he didn’t come across as wooden (which could have been the case if done by a less competent actor). Other than his stint in “Warrior Baek Dong Soo”, Ji Chang Wook does not have much experience in the action genre, so this proved to be a good chance for him to show his athletic side also.

Oh no! Is that Kyung Seobby?

cherkell:  Again, I’m still the slack-jawed fangirl that will sit through anything that Ji Chang Wook stars in (still giving the side-eye to “Bachelor’s Vegetable Store”).  The man could have chemistry with a tree stump and still come across as credible.  My main concern right now with his acting is that the production is in live-shoot mode as of Episode 10, and that he could possibly get hurt performing all these rolling and jumping and leaping stunts.  We all know that he is the consummate professional and gives 157% to every character he’s involved with, but it’s bloody frigid in Korea right now while he’s working on unheated sets and outdoor locations.  A few trips to the infirmary during “Empress Ki” filming proved he’s not invincible, so I hope the production keeps a close eye on their actors and their staffs to ensure their safety until the end.

Gabby:  I also LOVE that he gets to play multiple characters in this show, albeit through disguises. I’ve always had this strange desire to see my biases act as nerds or village idiots, so I’m glad he got to act silly and clumsy as Park Bong Su. And him disguising as a weirdo with nerdy specs and ugly wig remains as one of my favourite scenes in the show thus far.  I don’t care about kissing scenes. I just love seeing him act stupid and weird. I’m probably weird myself. I find myself liking Park Bong Su more than Healer though.  How about you?

The many faces of Healer

Ah, and may I add that I really really love his fashion in this drama? It got me a bit worried when we kept seeing pictures of him dressed in black back then before the show aired.

cherkell:  *making unintelligible gurgling sounds*  My Boy always be looking good in ANYTHING, no matter what the occasion.  Having the backing of his endorser AD HOC behind you doesn’t hurt either – this is one case where the PPL totally works for instead of against a production.  That whole Makeover Arc?  I replayed those scenes at least 10 times as soon as the raw was available.  (Anyone else think that ‘Stayin’ Alive’ should have been playing in the background when Bong Su was walking back after his transformation?  RAWR.)  Let’s give the costume director a huge round of applause for a job well done for all the actors involved!

Yay for nice clothes!

Gabby:  Can we gush about other actors too? This is my first time seeing Yoo Ji Tae in any show, and I must say I’m impressed! The character Moon Ho seems very ordinary to me on paper, but he gives the character much depth with his superb acting. I also have my eye on the actor Son Seung Won who plays the young Kim Moon Shik. He catches my eye just like how Ji Chang Wook caught mine when I saw him in a small role in “Hero” back in 2009. I’ll be curious to see if he becomes a bigger star in the future.

cherkell:  HACKER AHJUMMA!!!  Oh my gosh, Kim Mi Kyung has found her Signature Role — not that she wasn’t already awesome, she has added even MORE levels of awesomeness to her resume.  How can you *not* love a kimbap-making, scarf-knitting, pigtail-wearing, cosmo-drinking cyber-sleuth?  And even though we have barely scratched the surface of their interactions, we see the makings of the Show’s own ‘Scooby Gang’ in the Someday News Group dynamics and I foam at the mouth awaiting further adventures from them.  (But why does my Spidey Sense tingle over thinking we’re going to see an extremely brutal disaster befall the Someday newspaper before all this is over?  *noooooo*)

Gabby:  Lastly, my wish for the second half of “Healer”? That Ji Chang Wook will contribute a song to the OST! The songs in the show have been very good so far, but it would be good to have at least one song that is more intense…something along the likes of MC Sniper? I’m also looking forward to see how Jung Hu will change. I noticed in episode 10 that he was the only one who wasn’t impressed with Moon Ho’s live broadcast, simply because he did not share the same passion for news reporting like the rest of the Some Day News team. As he spends more time with them, I can imagine Healer rising above the level of thief/businessman and growing to become some sort of hero for press freedom in the second half. And of course, I hope the production team will keep up the good work with the editing and improve on the pacing.  Make me love you more, Show!

cherkell:  Nine Thumbs Up in agreement for an OST contribution!  *squeeeee*  But could we please not have his tune be yet another ballad?  I know that genre suits his voice so well, but I vote for an up-tempo pop song this time around.  Something different!  Yes!  And as always, I hope the script doesn’t take that Left Turn Into Noble Idiocy anytime soon either.  It won’t make me stop watching the Show because I will suffer through anything for Ji Chang Wook… but it will decrease my enjoyment by leaps and bounds.

So we’re 10 down with 10 to go.  Let’s hope this momentum carries through to the finale.  Thanks for reading and supporting Ji Chang Wook’s Kitchen!

Save me from these ravaging fan girls!

31 thoughts on “[Review] Healer: Half Time!

  1. Hi cherkell and Gabby!

    I am new to your site and I am one of those crazy Healer fan. I really enjoyed reading your halftime review of the drama. I like the fact that although you both are diehard fan of Ji Chang Wook, you are able to review ‘Healer’ objectively.

    I am super glad to have found your site because I’ve just discovered Ji Chang Wook through watching ‘Healer’ and I am now totally obsessed with him. I’ve been searching online for any info on Ji Chang Wook and luckily for people like us, your site is full of great info on him.

    I’ve been a Kdrama addict for awhile now and I’d like to believe that I can distinguish between a well made drama (with good acting/directing/writing/editing) and a badly done drama. And I agree with you guys, ‘Healer’ is not the best drama that I’ve watched but, and there is a big but, for some reason it is hitting all the right notes for me. It gets better and better by every episode, the story flows well, the chemistry between JCW and PMY is just awesome and all the characters are likeable.

    I am obsessing over ‘Healer’ and JCW in a unhealthy manner and I honestly can’t explain why or how this has happen to me. Because, like so many Healer fans out there, it’s like there’s something magical about this drama.

    Thanks again guys for a great site!

  2. I’m glad you guys thought the beginning was healer was ~meh~ as well, I actually didn’t get hooked until the later episodes, maybe ep 5 on? i don’t even know. but once you are hooked, it sure is hard to get out. i’ve fallen into a deep deep hole….

  3. Ji chang wokiiieee is perfect) he’s a great actor)and this drama is cool)I like him as Healer I don’t really like EK because it’s sad drama ) all this romantic scenes are just awesome))soo in love with this drama and JiChangWook) I’m new here and never did smth like that , but I was just interested ) does he know about this pageor there are a lot of such….can u guys answer?)

    • Hi and thanks for writing! We really cannot speak for Ji Chang Wook personally, but the Glorious staff, some of the DayRock members and other Korean fans do know about our website. But we’ll make sure to keep our home here in tip-top condition just in case that day ever comes! 🙂

  4. I am completely on the other side of the fence. I went into this drama expecting nothing much because I didn’t watch premieres or anything. And I also just recently finished EK in December so jumping in, I had fresh eyes and an open mind for what the drama would be like. And I think that impacts how you watch dramas and view them. But it is true that not everyone is a complete fan. Just like how I was with My love from another star. It was a drama everybody loved but me who didnt view it as the best. So it makes sense and its good to step back and remember that each drama has its flaws. It’s refreshing to read and I appreciate the honesty from you guys.

    But on the fangirling side, I think its amazing how with this drama, I don’t need a kiss to get all giddy. Their holding hands and being in each other’s presence has just been as amazing to watch. I think that comes from the actor and actress and their portrayal of the character so ai give them all lots of props! Fighting healer!! Fighting Ji Chang Wook.

  5. Hi CHerkell & Gabby!!!

    first, thank you for this site!!!! you guys are soooooo awesome!

    I am so happy that Ji Chang Wook’s popularity is soaring! thanks to EK and Healer.

    I love this drama, i’m not very keen to editing and all so i haven’t noticed the sloppy editing until it was pointed out.

    I love the OST, My Eternal Love, about the complaint that it is played too many times in an episode, i honestly haven’t noticed again because i’m so emerged with the scene i barely notice the music. I just like the song,and on some occasions it is played in a beautiful scene.

    The storyline makes this drama brilliant!!! Not too mainstream, fast paced, no prolonging agony of not knowing something, i just love how the story is unfolding. A brilliant story line needs something more – The glow from the actors and actresses 🙂

    The characters

    AJUMMA!!!! oh boy the first time i saw ajumma, i was like – wait i need to see it again! i super love her character! her singing! her cooking! her encoding! Her hair!!!! ajumma rocks!!

    Kim Moon Hoo. we all know that in the back of our minds we are scared that a fanwar might erupt again, but thankfully this drama has not turned into a battle ground. I really like kim moon hoo!!! his character is good, YJT an JCW’s chemistry is good. oh well everything is good.
    shout out to the other characters! CYS’s father! CYS!!! the butler! sabo -both young and old – the kids! JCW’s mother in SMile DOng Hae! 🙂

    oh well!

    and of course uri JCW! its nice that he can show so many kinds of acting in this drama! although i second gabby for saying that this may not be is best -we’ve all seen the cray cray epic acting in EK and (raise hands I’ve seen 5 fingers too) he was an effective semi villain (i really can’t hate him i cannot consider him villain in that drama) 5 fingers- i am happy to see him showcase a wider range of acting in this drama! although when i saw the BTS i’m a bit scared for him because it really seemed dangerous i hope he stay healthy up until the last day of filming!

    oh as for AD HOC nice job for clothing JCW, his arms were bigger in this drama that in EK i swear i thought the black coat he was wearing – when he was throwing fits in front of his sabo- was going to tear!

    The man could have chemistry with a tree stump and still come across as credible.- CHerkell this is so funny reminds me of WBDS! 🙂

    more power to you guys!!! i miss the kind of things we did in EK but oh well time and circumstances hasn’t allowed us to do that so I’ll just be posting in the comments of articles here in JCWKitchen so that i can share my fangirling because seriously am going to be crazy if i fan girl alone!!!

    hugs and kisses,

  6. Hi Gabby and Cherkell, thanks for the midway reviiew. I lilke how you put a sort of balance to this show since almost all of the comments in almost all of the forum sites, drama sites for this show “healer” are all positive, high praises and admiration especially for the international viewers just like me. Although I understand them because i myself is a fan of JCW (since his Smile Donghae days) and of “Healer”. This show really makes and drives me crazy especially JCW. Your review at least make me go back to my feet and realized that this show also has flaws!

    Thank you for this site for you hardwork. I am now a fan of this site, since I got to check updates about JCW and all his works.

    Thanks again!

  7. Thanks for creating this site and its so entertaining so eavesdrop on your conversations. Ive become a overnight fan of JCW during Healer and within a week I finished Empress Ki and Bachelor Vegetable Store. Cant get enough of this guy. He’s such a talented actor – I think 2015 will be be an awesome year for him! by the way has anyone heard about the Two Constables? Will it push through? Thanks.

    • Hi and thanks for reading! We’re not sure exactly what the status is of “Two Constables” either. We check the online portals every day, but there has been no news or other gossip on the production for a few months now. We’re hoping he can somehow sneak it in before the end of 2015, but if anything transpires on filming, we’ll be sure to post it here!

  8. I’m one the follower of Park Min Young since 2010…very admire her acting…..well actually I haven’t watch Ji Chang Wook before…so maybe I lack of information here…

    but for me..Ji Chang Wook such a talented actor….his awesome chemistry with Park Min Young make my day beautiful…..wonderful Monday & Tuesday…and the other day keep me miss this couple a lot…

    Well Done Ji Chang Wook, Park Min Young, Yoo Ji Tae and all the cast team members…best of luck…

    Lots of Love from Malaysia

  9. Thank you for this blog!! I am a hardcore fan of Lee Hong Ki/FTISLAND but fell madly in love with JCW because of Healer!! I know his face from Empress Ki and Running Man and although he is outright gorgeous, I didn’t realise how deep his acting ability is. Apart from the 3 second “melt your heart” gazes, his emotional acting is actually what impressed me the most!! I was at first a bit sceptical of the drama because it had a very striking resemblance to City Hunter, especially the fast paced action scenes and black outfits. However, Healer has a lot more layers and a much stronger bunch of second line characters. Apart from JCW, my favourite character has got to be Ahjumma!!! These interesting characters add layers to the mystery of the fallout of the pirate radio gang and fleshes out the main leads personalities. The action, comedy, tragedy and romance are interwoven so skillfully in such a way that doesn’t drag the storyline (the downfall of so many 20 episode korean dramas), I am really hoping the ratings will pick up and I am hoping that the ending will satisfy all the viewers’ wishes!! I love that the right amount of emphasis is placed on the romance so that it does not overpower the main story/mystery but at the same time is satisfying audiences worldwide! I don’t know how many times I watched that rooftop kiss scene and the subsequent rooftop confession scene. Hats off to PMY too for pulling off a role that is both comical and fragile at the same time. And LOVE LOVE LOVE the OSTs!!!!!

  10. Same here. Healer has been a good drama so far, but hasn’t really gotten me running around spazzing like a fan girl (Empress Ki, anyone?). JCW doesn’t disappoint in this drama (no one does, really), but maybe I’ve already seen his awesome and versatile acting in EK, thus Healer doesn’t make as much of a splash on my radar (despite the script being qualitatively better than EK – the latter just has that extra addiction).

  11. All I can say is that Ji Chang Wook’s acting is meeting up to my expectations whether it’s a great drama or not! His good looks are a bonus. I could still remember back to the day he caught my eyes in Younha’s MV “Broke Up Today”.

  12. Thanks Cherkell and Gabby for running an awesome website for Ji Chang Wook. As a new fan to Ji Chang Wook and Healer being the first series I’ve seen; I am totally in love with this guy. Besides all the obvious attractive physical features of Ji Chang Wook, the guy can really act. I mean I thought I’ve seen acting but this man knows his art. His expressive eyes just talks to me and lets me reminisce back to my high school days of falling in love for the first time. Besides his awesome character portray, his chemistry for Park Min Young is off the charts that I have never felt so strongly through my scree. For the last 2 weeks, all I do is think about him and finding my self kinda a crazy fan girl Thanks again for helping us know more and more of Ji Chang Wook!

  13. Thanks Cherkell and Gabby for the half-time review!
    I was surprised myself when Healer has HUGE fanbase and Ji Chang Wook suddenly very popular among international community, blogs, fansite, tumblr, etc like in Dramabeans, Dramafever and other sites.. I’m glad he’s up to the challenge and relieved the drama turns out to be great!

  14. This is the best review of the series I have seen so far. Fully agree with Gabby’s thoughts in first two parts.
    I also didn’t really like first episodes, but at some point it started getting better and better, becoming totally awesome in episodes 8 and 10. I also found the bgm music weird during the action scenes in episode 1, because I expected something more epic rather than melodical and slow. And yes, I also agree that it is overrated and do not understand the reason why it happened. But I really really hope the drama will justify expectations.

  15. Thanks, Ladies! It was rather forgettable in the beginning. Mostly because there were too many folks to keep track of and my mind rejected it.
    I remember starting Ep 3 and having to rewind back to the first 2 to remember who everyone was/is/was going to be. I think after ep 4 and rewatching them all (and paying attention) it made sense.

    JCW has always been a DB crowd favorite, no matter what he was in. In this role, these roles, he seems to be taking advantage of his experience playing all his other characters over the years. PMY has reinvented herself in this role as a funny lady. Add the fact that there really aren’t ANY other swoon worthy shows on right now, and you have room for the love of Healer to expand unchecked.

    I don’t know if it’ll be a longtime fav, but it sure has me right now.

  16. I haven’t ever had this many feels for a drama. Like, EVER. Healer caught my attention right away with the first episode. Everything that I feel while watching Healer is impossible to put into words.

    Ji Chang Wook! Goodness! That man is mghty fine! Handsome, hot, sexy and anything and everything else I’m missing here! I’ve never watched any of his dramas prior to watching Healer and I’m very glad I decided to watch the teasers/trailers for it. Must’ve been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life! Definitely piqued my interest. I’m very impressed with JCW’s acting. Everything that he does in the drama flows so smoothly, at least in my opinion. He just slips right on in with the characters he plays! I’m very biased, hehehe.

    One thing I definitely enjoy about this drama is that it sort of deviates from what is normal or usually expected. There were so many times I expected something to happen and every single time the opposite would occur. And, of course, gotta love how every episode ends! Forever and always leaving me wanting more! I can’t even sleep because I’m so eager for the remaining episodes.

    • We have the same thoughts on “Hil-lor”, why on earth i haven’t noticed this gorgeous man before? I downloaded Empress Ki because of HJW, downloaded Warrior Baek Dong Soo because of YSH, downloaded Five Fingers because JJH, but non of these mentioned dramas I ever finish watching, but after chasing Healer, to ease the boredom of waiting for next eps Empress Ki is almost finish. JCW is awesome!!! Daebak!!! In queue is Warrior Baek Dong Soo…totally drown of his charismatic acting atleast for me…. melting with his luscious lips…uggh specially when he smiles…

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