Review Format, Welcome

Welcome to K Dramas In Pjamas!

Hello everyone and welcome to K Dramas In Pjamas, where we review captivating K Dramas while comfortably sipping a cup of tea in our most comfortable attire. Before you get started, here are a few things to note:

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• We know that your time is precious, therefore, we promise to deliver the most accurate reviews in the most concise form we can: bullet point.
• We will do our best to update you on the latest K Drama releases and what’s news in the world of Korean superstars.
• We post every Monday, Wednesdays and Sundays, so be sure to check our blog on those days so you don’t miss out.
• We will include the age rating in our posts, and tell you what that means so you can decide to skip certain shows if you don’t like violence, or on screen representations of sex, or profanity.
• Lastly, we post only 3 reviews per show:
-1. The first one made after the first episode to indicate whether it’s worth the watch,
-2. The second one made after the middle-most episode to indicate whether it’s worth continuing to watch, and
-3. The third on made after the last episode to indicate overall satisfaction and whether the show was worth watching to the end.

We do it this way because one review might not capture everything important about the show and discuss whether it was worth watching to the end, and because reviewing every episode of every show may take forever (some K Dramas can have over 120 episodes! Though, luckily, not all of them), even though some of them you may not want to stop watching –we’re looking at you, Ji Chang-wook …Um, Healer.
All with all said, welcome to K Dramas In Pjamas! We hope you join us with a warm cuppa, in your most comfy clothes, and get ready to explore the compelling world of Korean Dramas!

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(this isn’t me, by the way😆)

Nikki B ❤

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Sageuk, Info

An Introduction To Korean Historical Dramas: Sageuks

Hey everyone and welcome back to K Dramas In Pjamas! Now, I know you wanna dig into some juicy, sumptuous dramas with delicious actors and actresses, but this post is all about Korean Historical dramas, also known as sageuks. I also know that many people aren’t fans of historical films, et cetera, but sageuks are a special part of Korean history, and they are extremely popular with the Korean public. I’m really hoping this post will help us understand the rich wonderful culture that influenced Korea as we see it today, so, let’s discover what sageuks are together.

Korean temple

AN INTRODUCTION TO SAGEUKS

Sageuks, pronounced ‘say-juke’; ‘sa’ meaning ‘historical’ and the word ‘geuk’ meaning ‘drama’, they are literally historical dramas. In the western world, the equivalent term would be ‘period drama’, in other words, a drama set within a certain time period categorised by the use of costumes or props from that era, e.g. 1920’s period dramas, 1950’s period dramas, etc.

We all know that Korean period dramas (sageuks) are going to look a little different to period dramas from western culture. This is because they have very different beliefs, language, fashion, hierarchy structures and governments, to what we had in the past during those same time periods.

Sageuks give us an inside look to what Korea was like way back when, so there are a few things you should expect when watching your first one.

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WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN WATCHING A SAGEUK

For one thing, the characters are going to have typical historical attire for the respective period in which the drama takes place. Face makeup will also be different as makeup trends that exist today were not popular during those periods, and the kinds of makeup we have today was definitely not available during those time periods, so don’t expect a smokey eye to make an appearance.

Also the hairstyles will be very different from what’s popular today. I ‘heard’ that long hair was popular for men back in the day, so for those of you that have a fetish for men with long, silky hair, yasss… I hear ya, girl. I hear ya.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that it’s possible the speech of the actors may change a little bit, because before the creation of Sejong Korean, Koreans of that time used Chinese characters to write. King Sejong, did not like that many Koreans were illiterate because Chinese was expensive to learn, and wasn’t very practical because it didn’t express the Korean language well enough, so he created Sejong Korean. You can learn more about this from the link below, but remember, that if you watch a Shakespearean drama, unless you’re Baz Luhrmman, you’re gonna hear some Ye Olde English. Likewise, historical dramas from other cultures may also have more ‘primitive’ forms of language than what they have today.

Sageuks may also contain sword play, hunting, horse riding and martial arts. There were no cellphones, internet or cars back in the day, so people had to get their kicks any way they could… Just kidding. The activities taking place in the sageuk really depends on what period the drama was set in. Like, it would be really weird to see people riding horses in Korean Historical Dramas from the 1970’s, when cars had already been established in South Korea some decades prior.

Korean traditional houses

VARIOUS TYPES OF SAGEUKS

Taeha Sageuk –basically means large scale historical drama. Can be more focused on a specific period, but doesn’t necessarily have to be historically accurate.

Shidae-geuk –meaning ‘period drama’. A drama that takes place within a historical time period, not necessarily historically accurate.

Fusion sageuk –a sageuk that often has a fusion of more than one time period, and does not have to be historically accurate. They often contain time travel stories. They are called ‘fusion sageuks’ because they contain a fusion of sageuk different genres, for example, you can have sageuks with action or fantasy, or sageuks with horror, etc.

Traditional sageuk –this term was born due to the creation of fusion sageuks. It is used to describe sageuks which are based on fact, or are historically accurate. The main characters will often be kings, queens, or emperors, etc. who existed in real life history, some time ago. In this way, traditional sageuks are more of an exploration of who those characters were, than of creating characters for people to like, although this doesn’t necessarily mean these sageuks are boring.

Erotic Sageuk –also referred to as ‘sensual sageuk’, these dramas can sometimes contain sexually explicit scenes.

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THEMES

Themes that you may see very often in sageuks are:
• Romance
• Forbidden romance
• Action –including horse riding, wars, sword fights and archery
• Ambition -e.g. king etc. Is trying to take the throne
• Cunning and deceit –often from advisers on family members surrounding the
• Cross-dressing –i.e, a man dressing up as a woman for whatever advantage, and vice versa
• Folklore and mythology and/mythical creatures such as the gumiho
• Famous or infamous men and women in Korean history

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PERIODS OF HISTORY

If we’re going to talk about historical dramas in any culture, we’d have to know which periods of history they fall under. For example, we know that The Great Gatsby takes place in America, in the 1920’s. Just knowing the timelines sageuks fall under can help us understand the choices of characters from that era, what their personal restrictions were, and what their social responsibilities were: e.g in the 1900’s, women were still only expected to maintain the home and men were expected to handle business and politics.

In America, women only gained the right to vote by 1920, so before this period, their interaction with politics would have been restricted.

Understanding a time period helps us put perspective on what we’ll be seeing in the dramas, so here are the periods sageuks are usually set in (unless they are fusion sageuks):

Three Kingdom Period (57 BC – 688 AD)
Dramas which depict this period are often meant to appeal to female viewership. These dramas often don’t have historical accuracy as the period was not very well documented, and even if it was, the people who create series from this period would have to do all their research in Chinese because Sejong Korean had not been invented yet. The Three Kingdoms referred to were Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla, which made up early Korea.

North-South States Period (698 – 926)
This period includes the kingdom of Balhae (698 – 926) and Unified Silla, when the north and south were unified.

Goryeo Dynasty (918 – 1392)
Goryeo, previously known as Goguryeo is represented in dramas of this period. Also, during this period, King Taejo united the Three Kingdoms. He also expanded its borders.

Joseon Dynasty (1392 – 1897)
Joseon was the last, and the longest lasting Confuscian dynasty in Korea, spanning five centuries. It was founded after the overthrow of Goryeo. This was also the dynasty during which the famous Korean King who invented primitive Hangul, King Sejong, lived.

Japanese Colonial Occupation (1910 – 1945)
This is the period after the short-lived Korean Empire, when the Japanese occupied Korea. In dramas set in this time period, we are likely to see modernization and an industrial revolution manifest as the Japanese modernized Korea with technology for their own gain and success in wars against China and the Pacific.

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WHY DO PEOPLE LOVE SAGEUKS?

According to my research (as you can see, I’ve done a looooot), sageuks are loved for a variety of reasons. For one thing, since they’re the biggest money makers in terms of Korean dramas, sageuks are well-financed, which means epic special effects, beautiful costumes, and beautiful sets among other things. They also bring history to life in a certain sense. If you watch a movie about the life of a historical figure like Mahatma Ghandi or Nelson Mandela, you have a tendency to feel closer to that person, and understand their choices better. Reading facts about them in history is not quite the same as understanding who these historical figures were; and, watching certain events unfold in their lives can be truly exciting.

It is this unique blend of superb acting, colourful costumes, intricate storylines, beautiful scenery, action and drama, along with how well fact meets fiction seems to be what always brings the Korean public back to sageuks. Another thing is that sageuks seem to possess something for everyone.

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I’m no expert on sageuks, but doing research for this post really opened up my eyes about their importance to Korean people and how they influenced Korean culture as a whole over the years. I even learned about how the sageuks adapted to suit the needs of the people watching, depending on the time period the people lived in. In this way, Korean dramas provided therapy for the people.

By no means do I have the ‘whole picture’ of what sageuks are and where they fit into the grand scheme of things for us as international viewers, but I think that we should respect and revere them, just the same. While not all sageuks are based on historical accuracy, I think that they are unique and beautiful, and therefore, international fans of K Dramas shouldn’t be afraid to indulge in them, even if they are 60 episodes long.

Personally, I’ve never seen a sageuk before (as of the posting of this, I very well might have) because I was too intimidated to commit to the long episodes and watching an in depth historical display of a vibrant culture I didn’t understand scared me, but after all the research I’ve done, I’m very keen to get started. In fact, I’m starting one today. 😃

I hope you join me. 😉

Much love,

Nikki B ❤

P.S. I invite anyone with a much better understanding of Korean history and sageuks, or someone who is Korean to correct any misconceptions in this post. You are welcome to educate me. 🙏

Sources
For more info on sageuks:
https://stuckonhyuk.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/thoughts-on-sageuk-historical-drama/
https://perspectiveofawriter.com/2017/09/25/for-historical-fiction-lovers-the-sageuk-genre/
http://seoulbeats.com/2012/03/why-are-sageuks-such-ratings-monsters/
https://web.archive.org/web/20140602195626/http://twitchfilm.com/2009/11/back-in-the-day—01-eternal-empire-and-chungmuros-love-hate-for-history.html
http://koreanfilm.or.kr/webzine/sub/feature.jsp?mode=A_VIEW&wbSeq=135
http://www.koreanfilm.or.kr/eng/news/features.jsp?blbdComCd=601013&seq=252&mode=FEATURES_VIEW
https://discussions.viki.com/clicks/track?url=http%3A%2F%2Fseoulbeats.com%2F2012%2F03%2Fwhy-are-sageuks-such-ratings-monsters%2F&post_id=19617&topic_id=1450
For more information about Korean period history:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseon
http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/main_pop/kpct/kp_koreaimperialism.htm
For more info on Hangul:
https://zkorean.com/hangul/history_of_hangul

[All unsourced images are taken from an Unsplash search you can find here: https://unsplash.com/search/photos/korea%5D

K Drama, When Time Stopped

When Time Stopped Review – Part 3

Hey everyone and welcome back! All right, so for those of you who have made it this far with either watching the show, or just reading the reviews to decide whether to watch, a lot of things have happened in this drama. In this post, I’ll be discussing my views on those things (post episode 6, until the final episode) but I’ll try and keep it censored as much as possible for first time viewers. With that said, let’s begin the end, shall we?

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Joon Woo has regained his memories of his past life.

WHEN TIME STOPPED – PART 3

• There were some problems I had with the show. Most of them around the flawed mythology which just brought more and more questions to mind, and the cocky, incompetent character, ‘God’. That dude was prime ***hole material, I tell you. I found his character very irritating, but I suppose that’s the point really. You can’t love the bad guy too much, or the good guys’ triumph really doesn’t feel as victorious.
• Another problem I had was with the ‘some-problems-are-suddenly-solved-without-any-legitimate-explanations’ aspect of the show. Once again, we need to know what’s happening, guys. We’re not dumb enough to think that Joon Woo snapped his fingers and everything was suddenly fine. Please explain yourself.

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Sun Ah remembers her past life.

• What was cool about them trying to take out extra parts of the show which may have either changed the tone of the show, or made the episodes too long was how they dealt with some fight sequences in the later episodes. Instead of trying to show Myeong Woon (one of the Reapers) fighting some peeps (not mentioning who), they just showed his ‘game-face’, then BAM! Everyone was on the floor in the next shot… well, except for him. I felt that it was a very good way of showing what needed to be seen without actually showing anything.
• Mythology about jewellery containing memories is really cool, but it doesn’t make much sense. Some explanations would have really cleared this up. They possibly needed to have a mythology brainstorming session with the writer so that things could be clearer.
• Special effects were sick. This was one of the things I most appreciated about the show as it made the show seem more believable.

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The Ahjumma and the other tenants of Sun Ah’s building try to protect Sun Ah and Joon Woo.

• WARNING: another instance of bullying can be seen in the show and this time, not only is it against a woman, it’s against a disabled person. Really, if you’re too sensitive for the violence in this show, DO NOT WATCH THE SHOW. It is not extremely explicit, but it is rather graphic and hard to watch, even if the character gets saved by someone. Also, a guy gets beaten up and almost stabbed.
• Around episode 6, the show started to lose its movie-esque feel and move towards the feeling of a series. Not sure if this was a good choice with the editing department or whoever, but it did okay. Not great, just okay. Lots of lagging where that time could have been used better for laying down explanations and proper mythology.
• The evil boss lady disappears into thin air! I really would have liked to see more of her character in the show. If she had been in direct opposition to ‘God’ (guy in white), how interesting that would have been!

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This bracelet will always have special meaning to Sun Ah and Joon Woo.

• Joon Woo’s friend, (the art restorer/ seller) the guy who was trying to get rid of him initially and suddenly plays a huge role in the story… this happens around EP 8, although, why he plays a big role is really interesting. I think his character’s story was very well thought out. I definitely could not have seen that coming.
• The first kiss moment happens in EP 9, although I must say, it didn’t really do much for me. When they really kiss in EP 11… now, that moment gave me butterflies.
• Character development in this show was epic. It was so wonderful to see characters, who at the beginning of this show, didn’t seem like much, develop into characters who were very useful and actually integral to the main storyline. I was very pleased with the writing and portrayal of each character. Even the annoying ones. (I’m looking at you, ‘God’) 🙄

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Sun Ah makes a decision, and confesses her love for Joon Woo through her eyes.

• I liked how Sun Ah described writing as an escape for her. Many people wonder why we write –and if you’ve had a tough childhood, like me- then this might be your reason too. This just proves that the writer of the show was very empathetic towards the characters, and even the audience too!
• I really appreciated the fact that the hero shows up too late for once in the history of heroes, and has to help pick up the pieces. It was very refreshing.
• The music in the show remained excellent to the end, although it took a short while for the OST to grow on me…. and now I’m addicted to Maze by Snuper. 😆
• I loved that the show portrayed kids as having inner strength. Not many shows don’t trivialize children and their experiences, but this one was exceptional in this regard.

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God does his job.

• What was cool was when you find out about the Reapers. I enjoyed finding out how they came to be and why they don’t have memories. I think that was well written, and, I enjoyed that the story wasn’t scared to tackle the notion that God doesn’t really know everything through some of the storylines involving the Reapers and some of the other characters.
• There were very good plot twists in terms of character development that I enjoyed. It tends to help you realize that people aren’t exactly all good, nor are they all bad.
• I think the first time I heard Joon Woo’s name was in episode 10. That’s both impressive and really disappointing at the same time.
• The main storyline about Sun Ah and Joon Woo is very sweet. Think Vampire Diaries’ Stefan and Elana. That’s all I’m saying about that.

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Joon Woo feels bereft, but does not know why.

• The ‘God’ character contradicted himself ALL THROUGHOUT the series. Seriously.
• I cannot mention too many times how often this show made me cry with its heartfelt character backstories. From Joon Woo’s past, to Sun Ah’s struggles, from In Seob’s abandonment to Soona overcoming her personal problems, I cried during every episode.
• Because ‘God’ is such a nutter, people start questioning his motives. This totes makes sense. How can you say something, take it back, and then say that was part of your plan? Aigoo.
• For being the main hero of the show, Joon Woo’s butt keeps getting saved by random people, luck and sheer coincidence. If you’re gonna save the girl, you need a plan, guy!

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Something connects all the tenants of this building, but they are not sure what it is.

• EP 11 is an expositional episode, which means you could probably skip the rest of the show and just watch the last two episodes, and still know exactly everything that happened. Not too happy with this as it makes me feel like they wasted a lot of time, then rushed to the finish line.
• The camera work was very well done and in the last two episodes, there were some very artful shots, bringing back that movie-esque feel a little bit.
• Some things that made me confused were wondering what made Joon Woo so special, since half the time, he was being rescued along with Sun Ah, and God… There are just too many questions about the extent of God’s powers to ask without giving away major plotlines or holes. I was very concerned about how they were going to rectify all of these things by the end of the last episode.

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God monitors his new Reapers.

• There were very powerful themes in the show: love, forgiveness, destiny, memories mean you have a soul (something to live for), strength can be weakness and weakness can be strength, sacrifice and people are multifaceted.
• The last episode lagged for a bit, both at the beginning, and just before the end. This made it feel too stretched out although the ending was very satisfying.

Final thoughts: Honestly, I felt this was a really good show. Maybe I’m nit-picky because I’m a writer, but there were some plot holes I just couldn’t ignore. The thing about a film vs a novel is that a novel is required to give us information so that we can believe, but with film, we have to believe so that even if the information is absent or isn’t plausible, the story still feels real. In general, though, the story was beautifully shot and beautifully executed. This is definitely a show that I would watch again and I would recommend it to someone who’s had some experience with K dramas in the past.

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Choi In Seob has not forgotten.

ONCE AGAIN, I DON’T RECOMMEND THIS DRAMA TO SOMEONE WATCHING FOR THE FIRST TIME AS THE VIOLENCE MAY BE OVERBEARING AND INITIAL SCENES OF (SOMETIMES TRAGIC) CHARACTER BACKSTORIES ARE JUXTAPOSED WITH INSANELY COMEDIC MOMENTS, WHICH MAY BE JARRING.

Before I go, I have a few questions for you:
1. What did you think of the show? Did you agree with my take on it?
2. In light of the controversy surrounding Kim Hyun-Joong, do you think this role was appropriate for him?
3. Would you recommend When Time Stopped, or watch it again?
4. Did anyone else see the ahjumma blink during stopped time in the final episode? 😆

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Sun Ah and Joon Woo are finally reunited.

Please feel free to leave a comment as I’d love to hear what you thought of the show.
Well, that’s a wrap for When Time Stopped. Thank you for reading and I’ll catch you next time, in another review.

Much love,
Nikki B ❤

[All unsourced images are screenshots taken from When Time Stopped episode 12, which you can find here: https://kissasian.sh/Drama/When-Time-Stopped/Episode-12?id=41830&s=beta ]

K Drama, When Time Stopped

When Time Stopped Review – Part 2

Hey everyone! Welcome back to K Dramas In Pjamas. Okay, so this is the second part of my ‘When Time Stopped’ review, which was broken down into 3 parts so that if you’re considering watching the show for the first time, it’ll help you decide whether this one is worth sticking with until the end. I chose this format because I find reviews that people post to be very one-dimensional, in that people have to say whether they overall like the show (which can sometimes be 60 episodes or more!) in one review!

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Sun Ah struggles to be a proper landlady.

Personally, I don’t think it’s possible to accurately represent the rollercoaster ride of emotions in one review without it taking forever to read… when you could have just spent that time watching the drama. That being said, thank you for taking the time to read if you’ve come back after watching episode 6 of When Time Stopped, or welcome if you’re reading all the reviews at once to determine whether the show is worth watching. Let’s get to it.

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In Seob struggles with the failure of his date.

WHEN TIME STOPPED – PART 2

• The show continues in its movie-esque style. Continuity is important in terms of style, for any show or film.
• The background music was incredibly well done and suited the scenes perfectly. Also, the OST music seems to grow on you.
• Contrary to my thoughts that the show might pick up considerably after the first episode, the show maintains its unique fast/ slow pace. Interestingly enough, each episode seems to have a different rhythm, which is rather pleasant to absorb so you aren’t able to pre-empt the pace of the episode. It’s very refreshing in comparison to shows that are predictable.

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Sun Ah remembers the moment she was saved by Joon Woo.

• The show maintains its humorous tone, with more serious drama interspersed, but by episode 3, you’ll have gotten used to this already, so it won’t seem as jarring as the first episode.
• I love that the show really developed the characters very well. Sometimes, their back stories and flashbacks take up large parts of the episode, but how a side character’s stories interweave with the main characters’ development really beautifully proves that the show is very well written.

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Joon Woo is happy remembering his interaction with Sun Ah.

• The writers do a very good job of making us sympathetic to the people who are typically considered ‘bad guys’ in this show. Everyone’s backstories will make you cry. Seriously. I cried during every episode. Especially in episode 6. That one broke my heart. 💔
• The visual effects are very well done, in my opinion.
• I’m really happy that the show displays a deep appreciation for art. Not many shows openly display this deep respect for culture.

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The Reaper warns his subordinate not to follow him again.

• I’m rather disappointed that we get to learn some of the main characters’ names only later in the series. I think that the series should have clearly identified main characters and their names from like the first and second episodes.
• This series does contain some ‘minor’ acts of physical violence against the female lead character, so if you’re disturbed by that kind of thing either don’t watch those parts or don’t watch this show. Said parts I’m referring to up until episode 6: Sun Ah gets slapped by guy in apartment 301 and she gets kidnapped twice. Aaand, I can’t tell you anything further than that, in case someone who hasn’t watched the show is reading this entry, but the fact that she gets kidnapped twice does indicate an escape or rescue of some sort doesn’t it?

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In a moment of anger, Soona’s mother blames her for being a victim of a sexual predator.

• By episode 3, we learn more about why Sun Ah works multiple jobs. I think that the backstories of the main characters, although revealed to us quite late in the story (remember that in a 12 episode series, episode 3 means that already a quarter of the show has passed), the way they introduce those back stories is very well written, which makes the show way more believable. You don’t suddenly meet a person and then discover every little important thing about their life in one conversation… unless they’re a weirdo. 😕 Anyway, in this way, K Dramas keep things relatable and realistic.
• I think that the show was very well filmed. Certain shots (like changing angles for a different perspective, or shots of nature and city views) just show that the director and cameraman knew what they were doing. After all, it is the little things that show you love what you do.

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Soona and her mother are reunited after her mother’s apology.

• In episode 5, there is a scene where one of the side characters who is a devoted Christian, is seen praying in a church. While many may not find this offensive, it’s just a little warning to those who don’t appreciate certain religious references making their way into your drama viewing.
• I love that this show hits close to home for all of us when it comes to the characters. We all know what it’s like to be friendzoned, work really hard and discover you only have enough to pay the bills, start falling for someone you shouldn’t, and a myriad of other things. The show feels very human in that it captures all these things in a very accurate way.

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Soona bravely decides to come forward about the person who harmed her.

• Just so you know, NO ONE in this show knows how to stalk someone properly. Just saying.
• I like that the show deals with serious issues, like mistakes, love and loss in a very delicate manner. It very respectfully depicts tragedy and victims, along with how these things affect the people who love them. I think that in this way, this role was perfect for Kim Hyun-Joong.
• Another thing that I love is that the show treats both adults and children with the same respect, and doesn’t trivialize children because they are young like some other shows do.
• One of the problems with the show is that they don’t explain certain major actions in the show. For example (this is not included in the show) if Joon Woo –we still don’t know him by this name at this stage- were to save Sun Ah from a burning building, they’d show her in the burning building, then suddenly on the street beside him… ooookay. Like, how in the heck did they get down there? And, how did they get there unscathed? Are you telling me that fire can’t hurt you if you stop time? #tooManyQuestions

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Sun Ah and Joon Woo visit Soona and her mother while they recover in hospital.

Final thoughts: Overall, I really am hooked on this drama, and it has nothing to do with the fact that many of the episodes end with major cliff-hangers. There are a few questionable things, like the aforementioned lack of explaining major actions like dropping a dude and his crew on a roof or saving two people who jumped off a building’s lives, but the drama tends to grow on you. It’s the fact that you can relate to so many characters on either side of the good guy/ bad guy line that really gets you hooked. Also, a little blossoming romance never hurt anyone…

Thank you for reading my reviews! Please let me know if you’re starting the show or if you watched this far with me. Tell me what you think of the show so far, or feel free to ‘review my reviews’ 😉. Your support means everything to me.

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In Seob deals with rejection.

Much love,
Nikki B ❤

[All images are screenshots taken from When Time Stopped episode 6, which you can find here: https://kissasian.sh/Drama/When-Time-Stopped/Episode-6?id=41226&s=beta ]

K Drama, When Time Stopped

When Time Stopped Review – Part 1

When time stopped poster

[Source: https://www.soompi.com/article/1247869wpp/kim-hyun-joong-ahn-ji-hyun-trapped-hands-time-time-stopped-poster%5D

Other Names: At The Moment; That Moment When Time Stops; The Gift; That Time When Time Stops

Revised Romanization: Shigani Meomchooneun Geuddae

Language: Korean, English subtitles available

Director: Kwak Bong-Cheol

Writer: Ji Ho-Jin

Main Cast: Kim Hyun-Joong, Ahn Ji-Hyun, In Gyo-Jin, Joo Suk-Tae

Notable OST:
It’s Over You by Jung Dong Ha
I Promise You by Je Up
Just For My Love by Kim Hyun-Joong
Maze by Snuper

Age Rating: 15 – may contain alcohol, mild sexual content, mild violence or few occurrences of violence, major blood or gore, and/or suggestive themes.

Synopsis by MyDramaList Staff
“A man who can stop time meets a woman unaffected by time.

Moon Joon Woo is a seemingly-ordinary person, except for the fact that he can stop time. His special ability makes him lonely and he finds no meaning in life. When he needs somewhere to live, he moves into a basement owned by the building owner, Kim Sun Ah.

Kim Sun Ah is a hard-working, financially struggling girl who appears to have much joy in her life, but in fact struggles to pay off her father’s debt. Joon Woo finds that when he stops time, Sun Ah is not affected and continues to walk amongst a time-stopped world.

With bubbly Sun Ah by his side, can the lonely Joon Woo begin to find the meaning of his existence?”

Duration: 12 Episodes, ± 1 hour length per episode

Genre: Drama, Fantasy; Romance

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Joon-Woo has the power to stop time.

Hey everyone! Okay, so the drama I chose this time is called When Time Stopped. Honestly, there was a lot of controversy surrounding this drama because of actor Kim Hyun-Joong, but I decided to ignore that and consider the drama because its premise sounded really cool, I mean, who didn’t love Hiro Nakamura from Heroes or the dude from Clock Stoppers? Those movies are serious classics, and who doesn’t love a handsome and mysterious stranger with the ability to stop time, am I right? Well, let’s get straight into the review, shall we?

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Sun Ah works odd jobs from the break of dawn to pay off her crushing debt.

WHEN TIME STOPPED

• It has a very awesome intro, very Sherlockesque (the BBC Sherlock, I mean, not those other ones).
• The show was filmed rather like a movie than like an episode of a series, kind of like the BBC’s Sherlock as well, so expect each episode to take you through a myriad of emotions, and expect multiple climaxes per episode, whether they are upbeat or sad.
• Overall, the background music in the episode was very well done. I’m not too sure about the OST. The songs I heard from this episode didn’t particularly pique my interest like some of the other K Dramas I’ve watched.

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Sun Ah owes money to the ruthless loan shark living in her building.

• So. Many. Clichés. This episode is completely riddled with clichés. From the happy go lucky young woman consumed with a debt that’s not her own and a million different jobs to pay off that debt, to the mysterious stranger with super powers that she is strangely pulled to, don’t expect to be surprised by character archetypes in this show.
• The visual effects were very well captured. Seriously, this show watches like a very high budget blockbuster.
• Oddly enough, while the movie portrays a serious edge, there are lots of humorous moments in the show, sort of like mild slapstick comedy that just doesn’t fit too well with what I assumed they were going with. Pick a lane please, When Time Stopped!

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The loan shark’s boss wants to redevelop the area in which Sun Ah’s building is situated.

• This first episode has a very slow start. It really only picks up around 45 minutes into the show. If you’re someone who judges a show based on its pace, initially, this first episode is going to be a dozy for you, although it tends to go a lot faster after the 45 minute mark. We’ll see if it maintains this sort of lag throughout the series, but I’m more confident that the show will pick up from the second episode.
• I like that the show seems to have a bit of a pro-woman approach, as the two female leads we see in the show are both #womanBoss-es. The one seems to be running a major corporation, and the other is a landlord. Very nice… the only problem is that main character, named, ‘Sun Ah’ as she is called, seems to be too nice to be an effective landlord (when it comes to getting money), and the other woman is like some sort of evil genius. You can be both a cheerfully capable woman and a woman boss, Writers!

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Joon Woo decides to take Sun Ah’s basement aparment.

• There are a few serious moments interspersed with comedy, and I’m not really sure how I feel about that. At the point in the show, when they introduce the Reapers, I cried… and this was right after mockingly giggling about Sun Ah’s foolishness. #confusion
• After introducing the Reapers, they introduce us to some very confusing mythology: people with superpowers exist because God makes mistakes when making people and sometimes, some of his powers escape with them to earth. Reapers bring the souls of these people back to be stored in jars, (Huh? Seriously? They couldn’t be used for any other purpose?) because we can’t have super humans running around, can we? Oh, and get this: Reapers are doing it because each soul they bring back is worth a certain number of points which, once they accumulate enough points, qualifies them for a one way ticket to heaven… Riiiiiight. This brings up a million questions, which I am almost certain won’t be answered in this 12 episode series.
• Episode ends on a very poignant cliff-hanger… which is spoiled by the preview of next episode… seriously, people. 😑

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The Reapers capture people with special powers.

• Overall, the show is very well written and has several arcs, not directly involving the main characters from what we can see thus far. I’m just concerned about the heroine’s development as a character because there is nothing less attractive to me than the damsel in distress archetype.
• You have to be very attentive when watching this drama, as if you’re looking somewhere else, you’ll miss the characters’ names, which are not mentioned very frequently, or in an introduction. It almost feels like their names are mentioned by accident, so if you miss it…
• The actors were very convincing which made the show feel very genuine. This is an important quality for any show, even low budget ones; if the actors are good, the audience is more likely to enjoy the show, even if the plotline is horrible.

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God holds an orientation to explain their duties to the new Reapers.

Final thoughts: I was rather impressed with this drama. It was not at all what I expected, but also managed to exceed my expectations, which left me pleasantly surprised, but if you’re intending to watch this as your first K drama, please don’t. It was rather jarring to watch (perhaps I’m just not used to this style), and I fear a first-time watcher may become prejudiced to other Korean dramas because of watching one like this. If you’re a K Drama virgin, so to speak, please consider watching something that will further ease you into the world of K Dramas so that you can make a better decision about whether or not to become a fan.

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Joon Woo discovers Sun Ah is not affected by his time stoppage.

Thanks for reading my review if you made it all the way to the bottom😊. Remember that this is the first of a 3 part review, the second taken after the middle-most episode, to help you decide whether the show is worth watching to that point and beyond, as sometimes you get to the middle of a series and think, “this is some serious junk. I wish someone could have warned me that that the show isn’t great all the way based on one vague review.”

Please let me know if you enjoyed this review, and if you’ve already watched the first episode, tell me what you think.

Much love,
Nikki B ❤

[All unsourced images are screenshots taken from When Time Stopped episode 1, which can be found here: https://kissasian.sh/Drama/When-Time-Stopped/Episode-1?id=40841&s=beta ]

Healer, K Drama

Healer Review – Part 3

Hey everyone! I hope y’all are doing swell on this very fine Monday. This drama was honestly so complex that it took me a really long time to analyse and comprehend what i was watching. Seriously: every time I looked away from the screen to take notes, I missed something so I had to go back and check what I had missed because almost every line of dialogue was so crucial to understanding the show and the characters! While this may seem like a bad thing, it actually was not. I really enjoyed Healer, and I really think they should make a second Healer series, but I’m not too sure how that would work out. Anyway, before I get too carried away, here’s the final part of my Healer review:

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Young Shin and Jung Hoo finally explain everything to her father.

HEALER REVIEW – PART 3

• Initially, Moon Ho’s character does not trust Jung Hoo, when he discovers Healer’s identity. I peg this to the rules that Jung Hoo used to follow in which he lacked the ethics to know what he was stealing, and from whom. Of course, we feel wronged about this because we know and trust Jung Hoo, thinking that he is innocent and Moon Ho should trust him.
• It’s amazing how this show got us to really identify with and cheer people on who were actually criminals. Min Ja is a hacker, which is illegal, Jung Hoo was a thief, which is also illegal, Moon Ho lied to the police for his brother, which is also illegal, and Moon Shik did a ton of unethical and illegal things, but you kind of root for him too because you know he did everything because he was a coward and in love with Myung Hee.
• Maybe the reason we are rooting for criminals fighting against bigger criminals because when it comes to the truth and corruption, the lines can blur pretty easily between those two.

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Kim Moon Ho has decided to tell Myung Hee about her daughter.

• In this way, I love how the show makes you briefly abandon your own code of ethics. No one likes a thief, but here we are cheering one on as if he were a hero. Remember, Jung Hoo didn’t become Healer to expose the truth, he was taught to become a thief by his teacher.
• Initially, Min Ja didn’t trust Moon Ho either, but I think that she doesn’t really trust anyone. After we uncover her back story, we can easily see why. She did her job to perfection, even sacrificing her family, but at the end of the day, she was told to cover up the work she had been doing while her son was ill because of corruption.
• I enjoyed that the show had some very powerful and moving performances by actor Ji Chang Wook. He played Healer as if the character was created for him –and I loved how he switched back and forth between a stronger, darker type character and a cowardly wimpy person.

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Young Shin says that if they cannot fix everything, she is open to running away with Jung Hoo.

• Healer is still a criminal, but in the show, we start to see how his affection for Young Shin starts to change all the things he does and the way that he acts. This is really brilliant! The love story happens so naturally that it’s like a breath of fresh air.
• Min Ja was a wonderful substitute for Jung Hoo’s mother as a character. I think Jung Hoo’s real mom would have tried to stop him from digging into his father’s murder, going into journalism, or doing the right thing because she would be too afraid to lose him like she lost his father. Min Ja, however, warns him what could happen –and sometimes curses him out for making what she thinks is the wrong decision- but never stops him from doing what he thinks is right. She trust him, and in return, he trusts her.
• I really liked some of the flashbacks and how we see the 5 friends interact with each other, especially Oh Kil Ahn, and Seo Joon Seok. The two friends were very lighthearted and playful. This makes it even more of a pity that their lives ended in such a horrific way.

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Chae Chi Soo helps Myung Hee fill in the parts of her daughter’s life she missed as Young Shin watches.

• Also, in flashbacks, we see a sort of evolution of Moon Shik’s character. At first, when he lies about being a witness to the murder, he is bruised and shaking. The second time, he appears to be healing, but he stumbles a lot less than he did the first time. Finally, Moon Shik is dressed in expensive looking clothes, with an expensive haircut, and he doesn’t even flinch when he lies. He even says that money can change people, that’s why the friends ended up dead. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to punch that face… but, in all honesty, it looked as if as time went on, Moon Shik really started to believe his own lies.
• I have only praise for the character of Chae Chi Soo. Really, he was an exceptional father to Young Shin, and I like that he takes Jung Hoo to task for sleeping with/ next to his daughter. In this way, he tries to make an honest man out of Jung Hoo.
• Jung Hoo –as a character- went through incredible stages of development; some progressive, some regressive. We learn through flashback where Young Jae decided to take Jung Hoo in and train him, that he had been released from a juvenile detention centre. At this point, we can see how angry he is and how much he hates the world, but Young Jae helps him turn that anger into something practical by training him to channel it into Healer. Later on in the show, we see that anger surfacing again, just barely under control, when healer wants to kill someone because they have hurt those he loved. His affection for Young Shin may have been one of the only things to keep him back from being a murderer… and that little voice inside his ear, Min Ja. 😉

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Something is not quite right with Kim Moon Shik.

• I really enjoyed that the show still managed to stay upbeat until the end. Even though there were some seriously sad things in the show, the show still manages to give you hope that things will turn out alright in the end.
• Myung Hee’s character was very, very underrated in this show, but somehow managed to be redeemed before the show ended, if only slightly. When we first see her, Myung Hee appears very sick and frail, so much so, that any mention of her daughter can send her into a fit –which is why Moon Ho was hesitant to tell her of his discovery, but when Myung Hee starts to do a little of her own investigating, we see how strong she really is. She powers through telling Young Shin about her husband’s murder and his best friend’s death, and her own daughter’s death. She starts to investigate the person she thinks is guilty of her husband’s murder, and we see a little bit more of the Myung Hee from the old days who ran a pirate radio station with friends. She is such a strong character, that even when she found out her husband had been monumentally lying to her, she still makes him some delicious food and says that she tried to love him, but now knows why she could not. The only thing I didn’t like about Myung Hee in the story is that they gave her so little screen time with her daughter, and that was that. That storyline, which we had been waiting for from the first episode ended way too suddenly.

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The Elder’s position and power are not so absolute as he once thought.

• Moon Shik’s character was handled very badly at the end of the show. Conveniently, he –WHO WAS THE MAIN OPPOSITION FOR ALMOST THE DURATION OF THE ENTIRE SHOW- was suddenly (yes, suddenly) unable to face his opponents at the end. Come on, man! How can you just write him out like that?! Really! If he had been taken to jail or caught somehow, that would have been way more satisfying than the way his character was handled at the end. It just didn’t make sense at all.
• Moon Shik’s relationship with his wife was very strange. It was like she could do no wrong, even when he knew she had done him a dirty. I don’t understand this relationship, and I don’t think I ever will. And I’m married, so I would know… I think.
• Secretary Oh, Moon Shik’s assistant was also not handled or eliminated properly. This guy was responsible for almost half the deaths in the series, and he doesn’t get his spot in the limelight? You have got to be kidding me. Also, he kind of reminds me of Lurch from The Adam’s Family… not quite sure why.

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Min Ja meets Dong Won for ice cream. Clearly didn’t have Uber Eats in Korea back then.

• The Elder. I will never understand this obsession rich people seem to have with being bartenders. They do know that bartenders are not paid very well, right? Most of their money is tips… but I digress. The Elder pops up last minute –by that I mean, like in the last three episodes- to become the major bad guy. Get this straight, they’re not going after THE FARMERS, they are just going after THE ELDER… because this solves everything. Like The Farmers won’t come after them if they just get rid of The Elder. Convenience, convenience, convenience…
• The music was still good until the end of the show but, I’m not really a fan of the song Ji Chang Wook sang. Sorry, buddy. It’s not you, it’s me.

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Healer is ordered to kill someone to prove his loyalty to the Elder.

• With Moon Ho, we saw some great progression. He became more trusting, because I think he always felt alone in his search for the truth until he came across Young Shin and Jung Hoo, so being around them made him feel more alive. It is also possible that he was reminded of the old days, when he used to tag along when the five friends were doing their pirate radio station, and were really hunting for the truth, while when he worked for a bigger station, they continuously tried to censor him. He also seemed to be more of a risk taker, and went to greater lengths to uncover the truth. Truthfully, he could have reported on his brother long ago, he had more than enough evidence, but I think he was afraid that he was fighting alone. Safety in numbers and all that.
• Young Shin, Young Shin, Young Shin… as a character, she is too trusting. Also, I still don’t see how she managed to fall in love with Jung Hoo initially, but as their romance blossoms, it is still beautiful. I thought it was quite interesting how Young Shin approached discovering Healer’s identity. I totally get that she didn’t want him to leave, I hear you, but I would have still been curious as hell. In fact, now that I think about it, she placed Healer’s picture on her wall, and subsequently never investigated him, but suddenly fell in love with him… riiiiight.

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A gun has been fired at the airport, resulting in the death of a man.

• Another thing that’s particularly interesting about Young Shin’s character was how she grew up around convicts. I think her character was written this way because it fit with Healer’s character in a number of ways:

1. She wouldn’t be nervous to be around someone who had a criminal past.

2. She’d forgive more easily and believe in that person more because she knows that everyone has their reasons for committing a crime.

3. She wouldn’t ask questions because maybe she wouldn’t like what the answers would be.

4. Her skill set, as previously shown when she was taught to crack safes and pick locks as a child would come in handy for helping with both her work as a reporter, and with assisting Healer.

 

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Moon Ho approaches Min Jae after her broadcast.

• Sang Soo and Yo-Yo are still idiots, but they make for good comedic fodder.
• I like the legacy angle at the end of the show. When we see that the characters have finally won, Jung Hoo and Young Shin still follow in their fathers’ footsteps of being reporters. This, in particular, is beautiful because it took them a long time to clear up the story of their fathers and be able to start a life of their own, coincidentally as reporters.
• This show was very well written, I just wasn’t too happy with the ending. It was a little too convenient without giving enough information to make me happy. Also, we don’t know what happens to half the characters at the end of the show! Like, what is going to happen now that Young Shin has both a Mom and a Dad? And how will her mom react to finding out about her dating Jung Hoo, who was previously a criminal? Does Moon Ho marry Min Jae or does he still pine for Myung Hee? What happens to the staff at Some Day News? Is the internet news broadcaster a success? Does Dae Young (Healer’s lackey) take over as the new Healer? What happens to Min Ja? Do she and Yoon Dong Won end up together finally? Are they going to take down the Farmers? See? Too many questions.

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Young Shin has finally gotten over her fear of driving.

Final thoughts:

I really enjoyed Healer. It was very well written. I have the impression that the show was written from the end backwards (towards the beginning), because it is incredibly detailed, and it is really hard to write from the ending, because the characters and everything will be more complex. Seriously, this show was incredible! It was just a pity that the ending let me down. Here I was expecting a final showdown between all the major players, but all we get is a news broadcast of one man being taken down with his team, and an uncertain future for the rest of the characters. Since the dialogue was so well written, I thought they could have at least found a way to better express what happened to the rest of the crew, but I guess I was wrong.

I can’t say that this ending wasn’t a huge disappointment to me because of the gripping drama it started out as. If you set a standard, remember that you should keep it that way until the end.

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Young Shin and Jung Hoo happily share a kiss.

Lastly, Ji Chang Wook, who plays the titular character of Healer, is scheduled to be discharged from active service in the military on May the 13th this year! We want to thank him for his service to his country and we can’t wait to see him back on our screens!

Much love,
Nikki B ❤

[All unsourced images are screenshots taken from Healer episode 20, which you can find here: https://kissasian.sh/Drama/Healer/Episode-20?id=1719&s=beta ]

Healer, K Drama

Healer Review – Part 2

Hey everyone! Welcome back to K Dramas In Pjamas! So I’ve been watching Healer and WOW. Just wow. I knew this show was powerful before, but now that I’m reviewing it, I am absolutely floored. You know, until you start an in depth analysis of something, it’s not necessarily that easy to appreciate the complexity and congruency of the thing you’re analysing. If I have to be honest with you, it’s a show that I definitely don’t want to stop watching. Gosh, the feels you get from this drama! Whoo–wee! But, before we dig in, I just want to apologize for the late review, so apologies and here it is at last: Healer Part 2!

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Young Shin and Bong Soo go undercover to gain entry to a press conference.

HEALER REVIEW – PART 2

• I like the character Chae Chi Soo, Young Shin’s father. Even though his daughter was surrounded by ex-convicts, she learned many good things from them, like how to know if someone’s following you or how to unpick a lock. I know that that is not necessarily some good parenting, but perhaps because Young Shin had a difficult past of her own, (as an adopted child) she maybe found it easier to be around people as “flawed” as she is.
• I enjoyed the fact that the show had a super upbeat vibe which continued all the way up until the middle episode. Some of the emotions within the show were super intense for the characters to deal with, so displaying those emotions respectfully without making the show seem too dark or depressing was very well executed in this drama.
• Min Ja (the hacking Ahjumma) really loves Healer. Despite never having met each other and even though she teases him a lot, I get the feeling that she really cares about him. I guess this is because she keep warning him about what he’s getting into despite the fact that she knows he will still do it, and still offering her own help thereafter. She is kind of like a mom to him when his own mother abandoned him.

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Healer tells Min Ja he has hired himself to stay next to Young Shin.

• Although Healer shows himself as extremely skilful, knowledgeable of various martial arts and a parkour pro, he still doesn’t know how to tail Young Shin believably for like half of the show so far.
• Healer’s fight scene choreography is really great! I especially loved the flashback in episode 10 where we see Healer, both young and old, being nurtured into the night courier he is by his teacher, Young Jae.
• I had a serious problem with Young Shin chasing after the person who took her bag in episode 2. I mean, that person could have killed her! She’s lucky it was Healer because if it had been someone else, I’m sure this show would have started with a murder case… hers.

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Young Shin finally lives her dream of being a real reporter like her idol, Kim Moon Ho.

• Moon Ho is blatantly affectionate with Myung Hee. I think she misinterprets him professing his feelings for her because she is much older than him and doesn’t necessarily want to think about him in a romantic way. Also, she is married to his brother.
• Moon Ho & Moon Shik. Seriously, the ultimate battle of sibling rivalry… and it all comes down to the affections of one woman. How far are those two willing to go? This is a well thought out, extremely complex relationship that I’m enjoying watching fall apart. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe, but I’m still going to enjoy the writing, because holy hot damn.
• Moon Ho and Min Jae’s (the news station manageress) relationship is really complicated. Apparently, she proposed to him, and he rejected her because he still loved someone else and now they have to work together… Yeah, I think we’ve all been there. And Moon Ho doesn’t help her situation at all by defying the orders of the upper-ups at the news station. In the end, I think both Min Jae and Moon Ho thought it was better for him to leave, even if she wanted him to stay.

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Moon Shik meets with the Elder, who is impressed at how good of an opponent Moon Ho is.

• Min Jae wonders if Moon Ho hunts for the truth because he is addicted to the fame of being a celebrity news reporter. This is an excellent point as Moon Ho does seem to love the attention he gets from rubbing people the wrong way.
• The girl who is Healer’s lackey is kind of awesome. She fights well, rides bikes and helps out as the person who couriers what Healer retrieves to his clients. I just wish she could have played a bigger role in the show entirely.
• You know how they say that it’s the little things that make you fall in love? Well, I’ve fallen for this drama because with how much attention to detail they put into this drama. It’s hard not to love everything about it. It was very well written and plotted. The dialogue, especially instances of voice-overs, will blow you away. I also loved how the little things that we knew about the characters make you really love and connect with the characters when those quirks are explained later on. Not to mention the acting by the two leads especially in episode 10… Daaaang! When Healer talks to his teacher and asks him about his father’s death, I was blown away! I also loved when Young Shin had the makeover and she had to pretend to be an heiress. She slipped into that role too easily.

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Moon Ho and his Some Day News fellows complete their first broadcast to huge success.

• Because the acting in the drama is so great, it’s easy to believe the characters are real. In fact, I’m super tempted to see what happens if I send an email to healer@moebius.com 😉
• The photo of the 5 friends plays and extremely prominent role towards the end of the middlemost episode. See what I said about the little things becoming crucial to plot development later on? Genius!
• I enjoyed that the drama maintained a relatively fast pace from the start of the show. I haven’t picked up any lags so far, but sometimes the show digresses from the main points a bit, although not in a way that’s easy to notice. It was by accident that I noticed that Healer’s murder case hadn’t been solved at episode 9 yet. This drama pulls you in that much.
• Jung Hoo/ Healer/ Bong Soo is excellent at disguises. He also has great acting ability so that he can slip between any one of those characters in an instant. I especially like when he uses the feeble, afraid and weak ‘Bong Soo’ character to do ‘Healer’ type stuff, like pretend he ran away so he can fight the bad guys as Healer, or plant a listening device in Moon Ho’s office.

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Young Shin and Jong Soo are stunned at the success of their station’s first broadcast.

• Young Shin, even though she seems like a manic pixie dream girl type character, is incredibly well thought out. Every aspect of her personality is able to be explained by something really deep, even though she seems silly. For example, Young Shin likes to sing and dance all the time, which is most likely because this is the method her father used to get her to like him when he was trying to adopt her. She keeps a very old flip phone on her –which Healer makes fun of, inwardly- which was her adoptive mother’s from before she died. I think that it is this, along with how Healer admits that Young Shin is someone who will be brave even when she should be afraid, that leads Jung Hoo to falling in love with her.
• Young Shin has also been through some really deep issues. She admits while trying to save someone from committing suicide, that when she was a child, she contemplated suicide because she had been beaten in one of her adoptive homes. She ensures this person that time will heal the wounds.
• Young Shin is a terrible reporter, but luckily, she has an awesome story to pursue, and the guidance of reporter Kim Moon Ho to help her become a proper reporter.

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Moon Shik remembers his first time meeting the Elder.

• I enjoyed that dreams played a huge role in this drama. Literal dreams, like Moon Ho’s nightmares of losing the child, Ji Ahn, Young Shin’s aspirations to become a reporter like Kim Moon Ho, and Jung Hoo’s dreams of buying an island where he can be happily isolated.
• It was so easy to see Jung Hoo falling in love with Young Shin that I loved it. Many times, in dramas, it seems as if the characters suddenly come together, but this time, it was many little things that you notice while watching the drama that help you see exactly when he becomes powerless to resist the feeling of wanting to be around Young Shin. You see the cute excuses he makes to Min Ja too… and then we get to a point where he can’t make excuses anymore so he hires himself to protect Young Shin. ❤
• Jung Hoo might also be attracted to Young Shin because he is curious about what it is like to have a family. Really, she represents everything he didn’t know that he had been missing.

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Healer (as Bong Soo), unable to deny his feelings, leans forward to kiss Young Shin.

• The show really displays how victims of crimes against rich and powerful people are treated even in countries all over the world. Yun Hee (the girl Young Shin saved) tried to go to the police for help, and they wouldn’t even investigate her claims! In fact, when she comes forward with the truth, the people involved in the scandal sue her for defamation of character! I remember in my own country, there was a rape case opened against a man who one day became our president… It makes me sad to see that money is more important than honesty in politics, and that corruption runs rampant, even off the TV screen.
• A good example of money is power can be seen when Moon Shik offers Sang Soo (of SS Guard) copious amounts of money to ‘own’ Sang Soo, not Sang Soo’s company. I mean, how do you buy a person?!
• The comedic timing in this show is excellent. I love it when Min Ja waits until Healer is eating before she calls. Her character is very funny. She loves to tease him.

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Healer (as Bong Soo) confesses his feelings for Young Shin to her.

• Did anyone else see what looked like a love bite in Ji Chang Wook’s neck in Episode 4? It was there for a couple seconds when he was talking to Young Shin, then suddenly disappeared… Just sayin’. 🤔🤷‍♀️
• Jung Hoo has had an incredibly difficult life. All the people he loved abandoned him, it’s no wonder he is so sarcastic and just wants to be alone! I felt so sorry for his character because no amount of physical strength or smarts can make someone want to love you or stay with you, even if they are a parent.
• I loved that Young Shin was comfortable enough to sleep with him in the room, even if she couldn’t sleep next to anyone else. Her dad’s reaction to seeing them sleep next to each other is priceless! –even if she’s on the couch and he is on the floor, she still held his arm.

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Detective Dong Won discovers a key suspect of his is dead.

• Sang Soo is still a hot mess, but even more so, his head goon likes to play with a Yo-Yo and is also nicknamed ‘Yo-Yo”… 😓
• People have complained that the music for the fight scene in episode 4 did not fit the fight scene very well, and I have to agree, but I just don’t see any other songs that are going to fit the scene any better.
• When Healer gives Young Shin the pills and hugged her to hide his identity in episode 4, I wasn’t so convinced he hugged her to hide his identity… 😉❤
• Myung Hee said something that kind of stopped my heart a little bit. When Moon Ho challenged her that Ji Ahn could be alive, she responded by saying that what kind of mother would abandon her daughter and live comfortably all that time? This was really beautiful of her to say.

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Detective Yoon remarks to another detective how strange and convenient the death of his suspect is.

• Themes so far are: espionage, corruption, abandonment, family, secrets and lies.
• If you really think about it, while Healer falling for Young Shin makes sense, since he’s got all this extra info on her and was uncovering certain things he liked about her as part of his job, Young Shin falling for Healer doesn’t really make sense. She only met him like three times and the first time she met him, he basically attacked her. She has no idea who he is, whether or not he is old enough to be her father –since she wears a blindfold every time she encounters him- or whether or not he is a criminal in terms of murder, rape, torture or any number of other things. She seems to have that ‘I-understand-him-like-no-one-else-in-the-entire-population-does’ kind of syndrome that all women who fall in love with superheroes seem to have. Never mind if he’s a cat person, or was born in the year of the Goat.
• I liked that Min Ja compared Healer to Superman, a hero who lived a double life as a reporter. If this line was so important that it was included in the dialogue, is it possible Healer was, perhaps in part, based on Superman?

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Young Jae tricks a young Jung Hoo into training to become Healer.

• Healer also spends a copious amount of time watching the same documentary on leopards over and over again… there’s really nothing else to watch? I’m sure National Geographic has a wider selection than just that one documentary.
• I must say that I really admire the acting chops on the guy who played Hwang Jae Guk, the construction company president. He is really good at playing a really bad guy.
• WARNING: This show contains physical violence against women in episode 5. If you can’t handle this, skip ahead to the next episode. It also contains scenes of implied violence against a little girl. You don’t see anything happening, but as the child is crying and you see an adult with a bat or stick moving towards the child, you kinda get the gist.
• The part where Healer escapes with Young Shin, pretending to be afraid, but running out and smiling at her behind her back is really cute.

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Jung Hoo asks his Teacher about his father’s death.

• Something cool and unique about Healer’s character is that he has to hide his face while facing an opponent directly. This makes fighting in enclosed spaces or close combat really complicated for him.
• Speaking of, fight scenes and stunts were incredibly choreographed. I also enjoyed it when they fight in small spaces, like inside of convertibles (cars). Turns out, Ji Chang Wook does actually do some of his own stunts, but he does have a stunt double. That’s really awesome! Ten points to this guy!
• I’m really happy that this drama was so well written. Nothing seems coincidental. Every action and display so far was intentional, in terms of writing. Even if a character does something which may seem coincidental, it is not something that drives the plot, it happens naturally.
• The character of the Elder is irritating and not just because he’s a bad guy, but because he rationalizes his actions with seemingly Confucian quotes and the like. I found this very cliché.

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Jung Hoo further investigates his father’s death.

• In one instance, I think Myung Hee was trying to love Moon Shik, but he (sort of) failed her test. In reference to him amassing power, she says he is like Merlin, the powerful wizard behind King Arthur. She then asks if he wouldn’t rather be Arthur, in other words, wouldn’t he rather just have enough of power and be a hero, or do the right thing? But, his response is that power is needed to do the right thing. I have a feeling that if he’d answered that differently, we’d have seen a very different relationship unfold between the two.
• I found when Jung Hoo was jealous of Moon Ho being around Young Shin to be very cute. He didn’t have anything to worry about because Young Shin fell for Healer in the end, spurred on by her disappointment in Moon Ho, but it was cute that he got irritated when Moon Ho wanted to work closely with her.
• In terms of character development, we can see boat loads of this in every character from the beginning of the show to the midway point for most of the characters. Moon Ho stops being complacent and starts taking action against his brother, Moon Shik’s descent into madness and more power, Young Shin becoming a better reporter and stronger, smarter person, and Jung Hoo coming out of his shell and learning to love. This was executed really beautifully.
• Healer goes back to Hwang Jae Guk’s house in the same car he went there in his ‘Bong Soo’ disguise and none of Sang Soo’s thugs notice? Wow… you guys are something else.

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Young Shin decides to meet with Healer so emails him as a client.

• Jung Hoo’s character although proud and snarky, hides a really soft heart. He wants to be alone. Because he has been abandoned for most of his life by everyone he loved, he has kind of lost faith in humanity. Could it be that when he first encounters Young Shin, he is a little bit desperate for love and human affection, despite what he says?
• Young Shin and Healer’s first kiss in episode 8 and the events leading up to that kiss damn-near broke my heart. It was so beautiful. Also, for some time, Young Shin believes Healer is only meeting with her and protecting her because Moon Ho has paid him to do so. I hope she realizes that Moon Ho didn’t pay for that kiss.💋
• The music for the show is still awesome, but there are a few instances where the sound bites (of music) were not very well edited or put together. The song Hold Me Tight by Yael Meyer loops very weirdly in one of the episodes, and in another instance, some of the background theme also wasn’t mixed or edited well, but there are only two widely spaced instances of this in the first 10 episodes, so all in all, not bad.
• I liked the makeover part in episode 9. It was both very funny and very sweet. Although not much changes by way of their appearances, they still look really good. Also, Healer’s face when he sees Young Shin is priceless… But, the nutter doesn’t compliment her. 😑

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Moon Ho stumbles upon evidence which reveals the identity of Healer to him.

• All throughout his time with her Jung Hoo tries to show Young Shin that he is Healer, but she just doesn’t pick it up. She very easily believes the excuses for his actions, and his mediocre explanations. Perhaps she just doesn’t want to see what’s right in front of her.
• The elevator scene in episode 10 where Jung Hoo takes Young Shin’s hand because she is afraid, and subsequently tries to kiss her is beautiful. But it ends in a not-so-epic fail.
• I find that Young Shin, not even giving Bong Soo, someone who has affection for her, right in front of her, a tiny chance to be with her very weird. I know she has ‘I-love-a-superhero’ syndrome, but a part of me feels like she doesn’t want Healer to become too real to her so that she can keep up the fantasy. Healer tries to hint to her (as Bong Soo) that if she wants, he can live a ‘normal’ life with her. He basically says that he will give up everything to have a regular life with her and she’s like ‘nah, I love my superhero’. She didn’t once question what the nuts Bong Soo was talking about, living a normal life? Strange… Especially since Bong Soo is kind of a regular guy she works with.
• I have to say that episodes 8 and 10 were my favourite episodes so far.

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Jung Hoo discovers something about his father’s death from an unexpected source.

Final thoughts:
Wow, this post was really a doozy to get through! I guess that there was a lot to analyse because the story was so complex and multi-layered, but I’m seriously enjoying it so far. It’s not only the acting and the storyline, but that the actors can really become their characters, which makes the show far more realistic than fantastic editing or great graphics. I mean, Ji Chang Wook handles the duality of the role with such ease that it makes me hungry to see him perform in the next drama. He’s like the Korean equivalent of Eddie Redmayne or Benedict Cumberbatch; he is a chameleon actor –he can basically take any role and make it phenomenal…I mean, this guy, seriously…
I guess I’m speechless. I can’t wait to digest the next few episodes!

Also, aside from the major characters, the minor ones do their roles a lot justice. Chae Chi Soo, for example, (Young Shin’s dad) is also an incredibly well thought-out role. He’s like the dad we all hope to have. I liked that the actor is comfortable enough to be laughing and singing around the rest of the cast. This was such a great cast that the drama was able to flow naturally, even though there were some plot holes. It’s almost like the cast made us believe in the show because they did too.

Before I sign off for the week, I must once again apologize for the late review. I’ll be posting the 3rd and final Healer Review on Monday, along with the next review I’m focusing on, but good news: we’ll be tackling a sageuk about zombies soon… see if you can guess what it is. 😉

Have a great weekend!

Much love,
Nikki B ❤

K Drama, Healer

Healer Review – Part 1

Healer.jpg(source: https://mydramalist.com/10814-healer)

Other Names: –

Revised Romanization: Heelreo

Language: Korean, English Subtitles available

Director(s): Lee Jung Sub; Kim Jin Woo

Writer(s): Song Ji Na

Main Cast: Ji Chang Wook; Park Min Young; Yoo Ji Tae

Duration: 20 Episodes; ± 1 hour(s) in length

Genres: Action, Thriller, Mystery, Comedy, Romance, Drama

Age Rating: ±15 – May contain alcohol, mild sexual content, mild violence or few occurrences of strong violence, major blood or gore, and/ or suggestive themes.

Synopsis by MyDramaList:

“Seo Jung Hoo is a special kind of night courier, known only as “Healer”. For the right price and with the help of a genius hacker, he gets his clients whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t involve murder. His latest job leads him to a second-rate tabloid writer, Chae Young Shin and the successful reporter, Kim Moon Ho. He begins to uncover the mystery of a shared past with the two reporters, putting them all in danger.”

Notable OST:
Healer (Theme) Composition
Eternal Love by Michael Learns To Rock
When You Hold Me Tight by Yael Meyer
What My Eyes Say by Tei
You by Ben
Because Of You by JUST
I Will Protect You by Ji Chang Wook

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Healer is commissioned for a new job.

Hi everyone and welcome to K Dramas In Pjamas! I hope y’all have all had an amazing, fun-filled weekend and are ready to jump into a week of love; yup, that’s right: this Thursday is V DAY aka, Valentine’s Day! And naturally, some of us who have been bitten by the Valentine’s bug even in the slightest would be looking for something magical and romantic to do with our significant others… What better than a week-long K Drama binge to settle your romantic sweet-tooth? But –and there’s a big but here- what if he (or she) won’t watch K Dramas with you? (It’s one of my most painful struggles to get the hubby to watch my shows, I tell you.) So, this week I decided to take a look at a drama with a little somethin’ somethin’ for everyone… a little show called ‘Healer’.

I think this K Drama was created to appeal to a larger audience as, let’s face it, men don’t often want to watch these drama ‘thingies’ we tend to enjoy, but Healer is like watching a superhero movie, like Aquaman. It checks all the boxes: hot male lead? Check. Action and killer fight scenes? Check. Awesome special effects? Check. A really great soundtrack? Yup. And last but not least, a romance to make your tummy flutter and push you to cling to your loved one? Check, check, check!

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Healer’s dream is to own an island and in peace, uninterrupted.

Not to worry for those single bunnies out there, the only people you need to share your couch with are Ben & Jerry and a mouth-watering K Drama to warm you up and make those lonely nights a little more bearable.
Without further ado, let’s get the blankets, snacks and dim the lights as we dig into Healer this Valentine’s Day.

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Chae Young Shin fakes a serious medical condition to ‘spy’ on a celebrity.

HEALER REVIEW – PART 1

• I thought the intro was very cool. I really liked the theme song and thought it fit really well with the spy-gadget theme.
• Healer, for a thriller/action/mystery gave off a rather upbeat feel than the darker content you usually expect from such kinds of shows. Maybe it’s the upbeat, light hearted music or the playful acting, but I didn’t really get that espionage vibe you get from watching spy dramas like James Bond.
• From the very first episode, you get that Healer is a show that is going to display lots of juicy action pieces and very cool gadgetry.

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Sang Soo, owner of SS Guard shouts at his guards about the night courier, Healer, while Chae Young Shin displays her expert journalistic skills.

• The OST and sound effects were very good and suited the drama very well. I especially enjoyed the OST. My two favourite Kpop songs were in this drama: What My Eyes Say by Tei and You by Ben. Seriously. If those two songs don’t make you fall in love, I don’t know what will.
• I am a serious fan of dramas with hacking or characters who are hackers in them. Mr. Robot and Person Of Interest are two of my all-time favourite series’, so Healer did not disappoint me in this regard. The character of Min Ja, Healer’s hacker partner was especially close to my heart when I watched this drama. She’s a hacker and she loves to knit like I do? Wow! This Ahjumma has really got it going on!
• One thing I don’t get -even though I know most of you screamed when you saw it- is why we saw Healer without his shirt on, less than five minutes into the show… It must be in the contract or something. 😅 (No, I am not a virgin, shame on you for thinking such.)

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Kim Moon Ho goes to the victims to get their side of the story instead of just believing what the companies say.

• Healer and Min Ja have a really tight team as established from the first episode of the show. He can really rely on her to be his eyes and ears when he is on a mission and has to watch out for things around him. Their operation is so sophisticated that Healer can actually take on an entire team of his opponent’s thugs while complaining to her about the fact that the job is not worth the money.
• The comedic moments in the first episode really seemed to fit the vibe of the show. For this one, I’ll have to give the credit to the actors. If they had not portrayed their characters so well, those moments might have been really awkward in terms of the feel of the show.
• The typography on the show when introducing main characters is really cool. It was like a Windows command prompt box kind of popped up and gave us the information we needed on the characters we were watching. I also liked the split screen during calls.

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Jung Hoo (aka Healer) complains that the money they would receive from the job isn’t worth the risk.

• Unfortunately, this first episode of the drama is an expositional episode. I may have mentioned that there were a few dramas I’d seen before, of which Healer is one of them. I distinctly remember watching the show last time (I had been playing My Secret Bistro on my phone 😖) and realizing (this time) that I had missed a ton of information that could have really helped me understand later episodes of the show. You kinda have to keep your eyes glued to the screen for expositional episodes because you may miss something that’ll be important later on.
• Jung Hoo’s name pops up really quickly in the typography, so if you miss it, you may be forced to call him ‘Healer’ until you catch his name again in a much later episode. XD
• I had a serious problem with Young Shin taking someone’s mail, pretending it was hers and the delivery guy did not ask her to sign for the mail… I’m starting to feel like maybe all my mail that has gone missing over the years might have something to do with bad tabloid reporters.

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Moon Shik prepares what news he is going to release through his company by speaking to presidential and business representatives.

• Since we’re talking about the character of Chae Young Shin, let’s just take the time to admit that she’s not really a great heroine. She is not too great at her job, isn’t really good at academics either, and all she really has is dreams without any realistic plans to achieve them. She kind of just believes that they will somehow just happen accidentally. She is also unusually optimistic, considering her background. It will be really interesting to monitor her development as a character throughout the show.
• Sang Soo, Healer’s industry rival, is seriously a joke. First of all, when his goonies report to him that Healer has been spotted on their latest mission, he starts shouting about it in a parking lot, which is clearly an exceptional idea when you run a very secretive business… also, Healer (and Min Ja) alone took down like 20 of Sang Soo’s thugs, who conveniently had flashlights on them to battle Healer in the dark… Riiiiight. Also, none of Sang Soo’s men band together to attack Healer. It’s like they’re lining up to get their butts kicked.

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Young Shin and her dad chat affectionately while preparing Kimchi.

• Moon Ho’s character is like an antihero. Sure he’s good looking and always does the right thing, but he somehow blames himself for something that happened in the past that was most likely out of his control. He is also the defender of the poor and robber of the rich… well, not really, but his bosses do hate that he keeps reporting the truth… which is kind of his job.
• Moon Ho’s assistant is a good foil for him. Together, they represent the two sides of the news and entertainment industry –Moon Ho is always searching for, and publishing the truth; his assistant is always searching for ways to please his bosses. I thought this was a really interesting contrast to help viewers understand the difficulties for those who would report accurate news in the industry.
• I thought the action sequences in the show were very cool, but they were a little dark. No, really, they take place mostly in the dark and were really blurry so I couldn’t really get good shots of Healer mid-fight. Sorry ‘bout that.

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Myung Hee, Moon Shik’s wife mourns the death of both her child and previous husband on her daughter Ji An’s birthday.

• The character of Healer really reminds me of Batman. He lives in a secret place, is handsome, wealthy, an incredible fighter, is highly intelligent, and lives an isolated life. Similarly to the DC character Batman, he also hates murder. Perhaps that’s why this show was more popular internationally than in Korea. Just a hypothesis, though.
• Healer’s job is extremely dangerous. That fact really gets hammered into us when Healer is almost killed in the first episode, and complains that the job is not worth the money, even though he does so almost comically.
• Halfway into the show, we already know who’s who and why they’re important to the story. I always like it when we’re given the information we need to understand things from the get go. As much as I’m sure we all enjoy a good mystery, it can get boring in the end.

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Moon Ho reminisces about this moment, when the five friends used to run a pirate radio station reporting on government corruption in the 1980’s.

• Moon Shik, Moon Ho’s older brother controls a news agency and spreads propaganda through his company by discussing what news can be broadcasted. His character is also a strong opposite to Moon Ho’s, and we get the distinctive feeling that he is a real bad guy from the get go. Surprisingly, even though Moon Shik seems cold, he appears to have warmth when it comes to his wife, even if he is jealous of her dead husband.
• Spoiler alert: Moon Shik and Moon Ho don’t like each other, but this is no simple rivalry. There’s something very strange in the way those two spy on each other and try to impact each other’s plans. Despite this, Moon Shik seems to try and protect his brother and warns him that he won’t be able to protect him forever.
• Healer has a very strict set of rules, just like Jason Statham in the Transporter. I hope that someday, they will both realize that they should drop out of whatever situation they are being pulled into when even one of their rules are broken in the slightest. It always means bad news.

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This photo of the five friends holds huge significance.

• I love Young Shin’s relationship with her dad. Though her character is very playful, her father seems to lovingly indulge this. You can clearly see the love between the two of them. Spectacular acting by actors Park Min Young (Young Shin) and Park Sang Myun (Young Shin’s father).
• While watching, this drama evokes some serious emotions in you, one of them being strong feelings empathy, but it surprisingly does this in a manner that isn’t jarring or uncomfortable to deal with. Aside from really good writing, that is some kick ass editing and directing right there. It manages to maintain its light-hearted feel while dealing with some very complex issues.
• That photograph you keep seeing of the five friends throughout the episode is not shown so many times for any aesthetical purpose. It’s really important for the rest of the drama. Like, reeeally important.
• The first episode was very fast-paced. I blame this on the fact that they needed to get out as much information as possible in the first episode so they could set the scene for the actual story to begin.

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Min Ja interrupts Healer’s healthy meal to bring him news of another commission.

• I love that you get the sense that all these characters you see must be connected somehow, but you can’t quite put your finger on where that suspicion stems from or how they’re all linked. It creates intrigue.
• The sets (or whatever locations they filmed at) were beautiful. I especially admired Moon Shik’s house, Moon Ho’s house, Healer’s bachelor pad –that island picture on his wall is breathtaking-, Chae Young Shin’s house and her father’s coffee shop. It those sites were very modern without feeling cold, which sets in really well with the vibe the show is going for.
• Major themes included were corruption, abandonment, adoption, truth, family and mystery.

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Chae Young Shin wonders about her biological parents and why they  cast her aside.

Final Thoughts:
Even though I have already seen this drama, I am still excited to tackle the next episodes. There are just so many things to appreciate about the complexity of the first episode that it has me itching to see what’s to come next… Okay, it doesn’t hurt that Ji Chang Wook and Yoo Ji Tae are incredibly good looking or very good actors, but I think this drama was really well written because of the complexity of the story we have just glimpsed in the first episode, and the story hasn’t even really begun yet!

Another thing about Healer is that it seems to have a distinctive deviation from a typical K Drama feel. Perhaps it was made to appeal to international audiences more, or maybe it was just the vision the creators had for the show, but it was very well executed in this first episode. Let’s see if they can keep up with the high expectations they have created throughout the rest of the drama.

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Jung Hoo (in his Healer garb) catches Young Shin when she falls on the bus.

Okay, back to Valentine’s Day. If there are any guys reading, I know you’re gonna cringe about the fact that there are handsome actors with perfectly defined abs flashing every two episodes, but if you’re looking for a good way to show her you love her this Valentine’s Day, why not watch something she enjoys? Give it a try! Maybe you’ll like it, or maybe you won’t, but it definitely won’t hurt to make her happy without breaking the bank, you big spender, you.

Partners, whether you are male or female, if your partner is willing to dig into a K drama with you this V Day, make sure to show them you appreciate that they are trying to enjoy the things you do and please, don’t bombard them with the titles of all the dramas you’ve watched, actors and actresses you know, or all the Kpop songs you know the lyrics to by heart. It’s not always easy to try something new, and the fact that you’re partner is willing to indulge in your other life with you shows you that they might just love you… maybe just a teensy weensy little bit.

That said, have a lovely ‘V Day’ week everyone and I’ll be back with the second review of Healer on Wednesday.

Much love,
Nikki B ❤

[Source: all unsourced images are screenshots taken from Healer Episode 1 which you can find here: http://kissasian.sh/Drama/Healer/Episode-1?id=1700&s=beta%5D