Kill Me, Heal Me commands, and I give in – even without 100% subs. While I anticipate understanding all of what the people are saying, and knowing the full picture of the plot, the first two episodes delivered enough emotional punch to pull me in. I did understand the poor boy had the bad luck to belong to a disaster ridden family who treated him with criminal aplomb. The abuse he suffered triggers disassociation in order to cope with the trauma. (Actual science talk here.) There is a power struggle at their corporation, and our hero not only has to battle outside forces, but the devil within. The psychiatry and medical details of the plot blur some aspects of reality. For example, bad Se-ki’s repeated violent outbursts should get him locked up and fast, but this is K-dramaland where real laws need not apply.
Ji Sung, who plays bad Shin Se-ki and nice Cha Do-hyun, as well as a handful of other personalities, brings intensity, vulnerability and silliness, which is awesome to behold. His character comes home to Korea from the States after his bad side erupts and takes over. We had to endure Bad English from Fake Americans, as well as four too many F-words, but mercifully this lasted only twenty minutes before he landed safe and confused in his homeland.
I ♥ Hwang Jung-eum, I have to confess, despite never expecting to and starting most of her dramas with trepidation. Her character is a psychiatry intern, Oh Ri Jin (Origin). Right from the first scene, she’s screechy, clumsy, vulnerable and easily excited but her OTT antics had me guffawing.
Yes, she has had major PS, and rarely do Make-up, Hair and Wardrobe do anything but insult us, but she endears the audience almost by sheer will. Anyone who watched Can You Hear My Heart or Full House 2 knows that she fears no bad hair. Possibly, the lack of positive styling is why we like her, since she has to work that much harder to make the character appealing.
The main attraction, after Ji Sung’s guyliner, is the re-teaming of this OTP.
Secret proved these two get along like sex on fire. Why? I don’t know. It shouldn’t work, right? She’s kinda goofy and he’s handsome and, well, also a little off-kilter. But watching them already in their handful of scenes, it feels like they have given themselves over to the other with complete trust. Their skinship shows a pair totally comfortable together. Plus, when the female lead gets grabby hands from the git-go, we know it’s going to be a fun ride.
Oh Ri-ohn (Orion) played by Park Seo-joon, is our confusing second lead? brother? threat to hero? and successful mystery writer. I am not at all sure what is in store for this guy, but I know it’ll be humorous and compelling. I like that Park took a second lead soon after his success with Witch’s Romance, which demonstrates a decision to practice his craft versus rest on his laurels.
The writer, Jin Soo-wan, has given us an odd combination of works over the years, among them: The Moon That Embraces the Sun (2012), Capital Scandal (2007), She is Nineteen (2004). Moon sunk under the burden of too much gravity, where the others delivered lots of silly. Hopefully, we will get both in appropriate measures here.
The director, Kim Jin-man, worked recently on Scandal: A Shocking and Wrongful Incident (2013), and not so recently, I Really Really Like You (2006) which I really really liked as it starred the irresistibly charming Lee Min-ki. As producer, Kim worked on among other things, these hits: The Greatest Love (2011) and East of Eden (2008). The connection between these dramas is of course the beautiful men, and I approve.
Our supporting cast is peopled by familiar and reliable veterans.
On the dark side: Oh Min Suk as Cha Ki-joon, president and chief rival. Love to see this actor make his way through diverse roles, from quirky designer in I Do, I Do and office kill joy in Misaeng. Kim Yoo Ri as Han Chae-yun seems to be stuck on repeat as the cold, beautiful, but femme indisponible. Ki-joon’s evil family: Kim Il-woo as Cha Young Pyo, ugh, NEVER plays someone trustworthy and Kim Na-woon as Yoon Ja-kyung is Ki-joon’s nefarious mother.
Orion and Origin’s parents are lovely. Park Joon-gyu, scene-stealing dad in Marriage Not Dating, reprises the sweet father role as Oh Dae-oh. Kim Hee-jung, whom I remember as flashback Mom in Suspicious Housekeeper is Ji Soon-Young, effusive and nice Oma.
Award winning Kim Young-ae is Seo Tae-im, a gramma least likely to knit you socks, something something head of corporation with a bone or two to pick with our hero. (I don’t know exactly, fuzzy subs.) Shim Hye-jin, who played flawed and unrepentant women well in Secret Love Affair and My Spring Days, is Cho Do-hyun’s mama, Shin Hwa Ran. Who, of course, plays winter golf in a mink hat. (Who doesn’t?)
Origin’s direct supervisor, Dr. Park, is played by Lee Shi-un, who has chosen roles on the dork side, Shark, Reply 1997, despite being very handsome behind all the funny. Suk Ho-pil is Do-hyun’s doctor and Origin’s boss is played by Go Chang-suk.
Choi Won-young plays Ahn Gook with way worse hair than in Heirs, again plays assistant, this time to Do-hyun. This character seems to be a good guy, but my drama senses tell me his closeness may stem from a guilty past with Do-hyun’s family.
There are many questions to be answered by Show, though I am not sure I will get them all. Like, is there such a thing as a psychosomatic tatoo that comes and goes?
Why does Orion stalk Do-hyun? I think I know, now that I have read the subs.
Can we keep getting shots like these?
Mostly, I am waiting with baited breath to see this dynamic change. He is not even remotely interested in what he thinks is a crazy lady, and she has NO idea yet how crazy he is. Oh, then they fall in love.