So let me preface this by saying that in some ways I think Kill Me, Heal Me is problematic, and that you shouldn’t watch the show unless you have a good grounding in how healthy human relationships are supposed to work, and unless you are prepared to think seriously about some of the issues it presents. I really need to find some kind of rating system…
Also I know this post is late, but I actually wrote it at the right time…I just haven’t gotten to post it until 7 episodes later!
We come back to the little (or big) cliffhanger we left off with: the kiss! Then we cut to Oh Ri Ohn driving a car as he begins to connect the dots: “Could the chaebol Ri Jin spoke of be Cha Do Hyun?”
Meanwhile, Ri Jin wakes up the next morning, recalls the kiss, and promptly freaks out, trying to make all sorts of excuses that he was Se Gi or that he was drunk, hoping he doesn’t remember. Cha Do Hyun works his personal treadmill with a determined expression. Not determined enough, apparently, because all he can think of is kissing Ri Jin. Upping his speed fails to rid him of his heat, but some calming meditation and a slap to his own face seems to do the trick. He runs into an edgy, flustered Ri Jin after his exercising. She abruptly starts questioning him as to whether he’s had any problems with his other personalities, if he was Do Hyun last night and if he’s Do Hyun now, or if he perhaps loses consciousness or has memory loss after drinking alcohol. He answers that it was Do Hyun last night and “I remember everything.” At this she screams and runs out the door, and an unruffled Do Hyun follows her, chasing her around a bit before the two finally go get something to eat.
Ri Jin decides to have a “counseling” session with Do Hyun, but wants to clear up the kiss without really referencing it. She explains that any feelings he has for her are a result of positive transference, where a patient develops feelings for their therapist because the therapist is good/kind/nice/helpful. He assents to her explanation of things, and comments that she seems more uncomfortable than he is.
Once again flustered, she runs to the kitchen to get a drink. Meanwhile, Do Hyun gets one of his headaches. When Ri Jin returns he’s gone, leaving behind a sketchbook with a teddy bear and “I’m NaNa” written on it. She searches the house and finds Do Hyun in her bedroom…and he’s now become Yo Na, looking ridiculous in Ri Jin’s rabbit-eared hoodie pajamas. Boy-crazy Yo Na sees a pic of Ri Ohn and wants his phone number, but Ri Jin fights for her phone, ending the scuffle in a tumble down the stairs which knocks Yo Na out.
Next thing he knows, Do Hyun is in his bed with an IV. He takes it out and goes to the living room. Ri Jin asks him who he is, and then proceeds to tell him how all his personalities except Se Gi came out that night, and she managed to avert crisis with all of them. He’s relieved that Se Gi didn’t come out and that she didn’t get hurt.
However, Se Gi’s absence troubles Do Hyun. Later he goes over the security tapes, verifying that Ri Jin told the truth, and wondering whether his determination kept Se Gi away or whether his more violent counterpart is plotting something.
Chae Yeon and Ki Joon get into an elevator at ID Entertainment. Chae Yeon is still frosty because of Do Hyun’s rejection and Ki Joon’s anger, so their relationship hasn’t been repaired. Do Hyun almost misses the elevator, and doesn’t get on at first when he sees who is in it. He finally steps in, and Ki Joon starts taunting him about Ri Jin. Do Hyun doesn’t lose his cool and banters right back that he has hidden her in the safest place of all. The elevator reaches the floor and the doors open to reveal Ri Jin dressed as a secretary. Do Hyun sends some parting barbs Ki Joon’s way and walks off with Ri Jin. The two give each other five once they are out of sight.
Chae Yeon, annoyed by this, takes her anger out on Ki Joon and tells him to announce the engagement news he just retracted. Ki Joon asks her if she’s just doing this because of Do Hyun, and Chae Yeon violently lashes out at him and denies his conjectures.
Do Hyun’s mother shocks both him and Ri Jin by appearing at the company. She sends Ri Jin out of the room so she can talk to Do Hyun about his arranged date with a chaebol’s daughter. Ri Jin is on the lookout and sees the Chairwoman, his grandmother, come down the hall. The sight reminds her of when Do Hyun told her that the Chairwoman cannot know about his illness, and any transformation around her must be stopped at all costs.
The Chairwoman enters the room and complains at his mother. Just when Do Hyun begins to feel unstable, Ri Jin comes in and announces that he’s late for his next appointment. Surprised at the sudden existence of an appointment, he follows her out. She explains that she thought if she left him with the chairwoman any longer he would turn into Ferry Park and throw bombs. Chairwoman yells at Cha Do Hyun’s mom some more, and Cha Do Hyun’s mom asks her to give Do Hyun more power in the company.
Do Hyun and Ri Jin sit at a coffee shop, where Secretary Ahn meets them and tells them they need to leave quickly. He says Ri Jin has a personal schedule of her own for the afternoon, and that he must take Do Hyun elsewhere. Ri Jin meets up with Dr. Scofield (find his Korean name), who is sore at her for lying to him but ultimately helpful. They discuss the appearances of Do Hyun’s personalities the night before, and Scofield thinks back to when Do Hyun suggested Ri Jin might be a trigger for his transformations.
Do Hyun meets with Omega, who he is surprised to discover is Ri Ohn. Ri Ohn decides to sell his copyright, but with some conditions, one of which is that he be able to meet with Ri Jin, who he knows is still in Korea. They also talk about Omega’s book The Boy in the Basement, and Do Hyun wonders if Omega has figured out why the boy is afraid of basements. Ri Ohn answers that the boy wasn’t really afraid of basements, he just thought he was because he loved the girl, and decided to share in her fear. The question of why the girl is afraid of basements goes unanswered. Do Hyun calls Oh Ri Jin and asks her to come to a certain cafe. When she arrives she finds Ri Ohn instead of Do Hyun. Ri Ohn is mad about what she’s doing, but only tells her on leaving that she’s dead meat if she turns her phone off.
Cha Do Hyun returns home while she meets with Ri Ohn. He had one of his headaches during the meeting with Omega, and it returns as he tries to remember his lost memories. Se Gi taunts him and berates him, saying that Do Hyun isn’t able to face the trauma; Se Gi had to go through it instead, and Do Hyun is still a coward.
Ri Jin drives home, lamenting his part in bringing Do Hyun and Ri Jin together. He later overhears his parents wondering whether they did right to take in Sae Yeon’s child. His mother says she believes in Ri On, that he is just a brother to Ri Jin and nothing more.
Ri Jin returns to Do Hyun’s place, and finds him unconscious and tossing and turning in bed. He is struggling with a memory he has, of being in the basement with someone. He grabs on to Ri Jin, saying “Play with me,” and she stays with him until he wakes up. Unfortunately, he wakes up as Se Gi, who violently pushes her on the bed and asks what she’s doing in Cha Do Hyun’s bed with Cha Do Hyun.
I’m afraid very little of this will make sense if you haven’t seen the drama, so I apologize. Doesn’t mean you can’t read it, just means you might not get much out of it.
Quite frankly, I’m concerned about Shin Se Gi. We haven’t seen him since he kissed Ri Jin, as far as I remember, and I was kinda worried about that when she was all freaking out, “Have I fallen for him?” Because Se Gi, on his own, as a character, outside of being a facet of Cha Do Hyun’s personality, is not someone to admire. He’s violent on a whim, does only what he wants and doesn’t respect other people (stealing that guy’s jacket, dragging Ri Jin around, being physically menacing/threatening to her and others especially at the end of this episode. If he really loved her he wouldn’t do that). That doesn’t mean everything about him is bad, but when the good parts of the whole are less than the sum of the good parts that make up that whole…we have a problem.
But why am I concerned? We haven’t seen him for a few episodes, right? Well, that’s why I’m concerned. I don’t know how they’re going to portray him now that they’re bringing him back. I don’t want them to romanticize him as some poor tortured badass and imply that he should be the dominant personality. Just because we want Do Hyun to grow a backbone (which he has done in recent episodes) doesn’t mean that he should become Se Gi full-time. He needs Se Gi’s confidence and courage. Which are actually really his to begin with.
What I’m hoping will happen is that when they play Se Gi seriously, they won’t play him as a love interest. Oh Ri Ohn, the adoptive brother, is firmly in second male lead territory, so I’m hoping the first few episodes are just there to present Se Gi as a sort of false second male lead that serves as Cha Do Hyun’s gateway to Ri Jin. I don’t mind if they play him as “in love with” or attracted to Ri Jin: she’s clearly directly related to Do Hyun’s trauma, and Se Gi knows her, so she could’ve been Do Hyun’s childhood love. Since Se Gi’s mindset is still clearly that of a child’s, that makes sense. However, I want Ri Jin to have her priorities straight, and get rid of this “Which personality am I in love with?” crap. Se Gi on his own, without Do Hyun, is abusive and absolutely not good. So I hope they just handle this carefully and well.
What with Fifty Shades of Grey hype going around I’m also kind of worried about the whole abusive relationships thing. It doesn’t have to be physically abusive to be abusive and controlling. That’s why some of Do Hyun’s actions (and most of Se Gi’s) have given me pause. For instance, when he calls the hospital and gets her on temporary leave so she can be his personal psychiatrist. He gives her the choice in the end, and Ri Jin’s choice is her own. But the fact that he did that is off-putting. Let her make the choice herself first, without coercing her in any way.
Also, the contract he makes with her in order to be his personal physician (having her live at his house and be around him 24/7), and the times he pulls back on her hood when she tries to run away from him. The situation is much different from Fifty Shades of Grey, obviously, and is tangled up in the fact that Do Hyun and Ri Jin’s relationship is primarily that of doctor and patient, which already complicates any romantic tendencies. Therefore, they make a business pact that considering his circumstances is reasonable: since he is a public figure, seeing him go to and from the hospital might cause rumors, so staying at his place (or close by) makes sense, and since he is unstable, having him watched 24/7 also makes sense. Again, though, the couple’s more-than-friendly feelings complicate matters.
I’m also not sure if people are more free to touch each other in Korea, if kdramas play up the comic violence, whether women being dragged around is a normal occurrence, or if women usually don’t resist being dragged around (or maybe it’s all of these). But I have noticed in some dramas that men just kind of drag women around like they’re not perfectly able to think and move for themselves, thanks. I don’t recall Do Hyun doing that to Ri Jin at any time except for pulling on her hood, which I think was more for comedic effect. In my mind, that scene would’ve gone: him touching her arm or shoulder lightly as she tried to leave and saying, “Where are you going?” then following her out and chasing her around. Rather than the whole, pull-the-hoodie thing which gives you more of a did-I-give-you-permission-to-go vibe. I’m not sure how much is just neutral cultural difference and actual problem/negative cultural difference.
I could just be over-analyzing this part, but especially with Fifty Shades of Grey out and about, and with many kdramas having emotionally/physically maniuplative assholes for leads (which is why I’ve dropped so many) I like to point to the problematic elements in things to show I do not condone them. I will also remark that Kill Me, Heal Me is a work in progress, so I have yet to see if the whole is the sum of its parts or not.
On to the good stuff!
What I’m absolutely loving is Do Hyun’s character development. We get to see what’s behind the overly-polite, doormat facade. In reality, it’s not easy to outwardly ruffle Do Hyun’s feathers unless it’s related to his trauma (he reacts relatively calmly to finding himself waking up in bed with no memory of how his face got bloodied). It’s also not easy to make him give up: he has doggedly searched far and wide for a way to cure his illness for eleven years. He’s hidden this illness for eleven years. For eleven years he has worked with other people to help manage his other personalities, and he still has the solicitude to think not merely of the havoc that his personalities wreak in his life, but how they can hurt other people. He’s proactive about managing his illness even when a cure seems elusive.
His rhetoric is so good he spins his lateness to a business meeting into something impressive. He (for the most part) respects other peoples’ agency. Despite his forcing Ri Jin to go on leave, he did give her the choice about whether to use it to go to America or to stay and help him and was resigned to the choice she said she had made. Yo Sub’s appearance may have influenced her decision to stay, but that’s not something he has total (or even any) control over. He can be playful, sometimes even smug, and I don’t recall ever seeing him lay a harmful or menacing hand on Ri Jin (outside of when he is Se Gi or another personality). He has amazing self-insight, especially when it comes to Chae Yeon–possibly resulting from his decade of psychotherapy.
Don’t get me wrong, he has flaws. I’m only rhapsodizing here to make the point that he’s getting character development and that he as a whole is infinitely better than any of his individual personalities (*cough* Se Gi *cough*). His biggest flaws seem to me to be these: isolating himself and taking on the whole burden of his illness, pushing others away, thinking too much of himself and spending too much time feeling sorry for himself. Also, at first, not having a spine.
Oh and the smug expression on his face when he makes Ki Joon’s threat backfire. It just slays me.
As for thoughts on what actually happened in this episode:
Do Hyun mentions nothing explicitly about their kiss the night before; he doesn’t seem intent on immediately pursuing a relationship (thus the exercising and the meditating to get rid of his libido at the time). But he hasn’t given up on Ri Jin, either, because he pretty much asks Se Gi not to take her away from him–that she’s his love. A voice-over by Do Hyun pleads with Se Gi, “If you don’t stop me doing these things after I mustered courage for the first time, if you don’t steal just the time I have with this person, I promise you tens, hundreds, and thousands of times that I will give my entire body, all my time and memories to you in my next life. Please don’t appear in front of this person. Please don’t steal this love from me.”
So far, I think his reaction a fairly reasonable and measured one. It doesn’t put pressure on their already strange and strained relationship to become anything more than it is at present–and a romantic relationship for someone with DID would be problematic on a certain level. I wouldn’t say impossible, just problematic. So it’s good that he’s taking it slow. He’s also probably concerned for Ri Jin, happy to have the time with her but not wanting her to hurt and therefore not pressing his suit. (Why do I feel like I’m talking about ironing a blazer? I know I’m not but that image just came to mind.)
What I find most interesting, though, is that he turns into Yo Na after Ri Jin obliquely references their kiss by talking about positive transference. It seems that he turned into NaNa for a few minutes first, of course. Na Na is a mystery, probably becasue she is directly related to the trauma that happened. She’s related enough for Do Hyun’s mom to know about her (suggesting NaNa might even have been real person, and she may even be Oh Ri Jin as a young girl). That’s just speculation, but it could explain why he turned into NaNa after talking to Oh Ri Jin. Why turn into Yo Na, then? Probably because Na Na is too close the trauma he doesn’t want to remember, so he wouldn’t be her for a long period of time. Secondly, he had just experienced a sort of rejection from Ri Jin, and Yo Na comes out when he’s trying to deal patiently and quietly with a stressor. Being rejected by the woman you love and simultaneously wanting to protect her by not confessing your love is one of those stressors you try to endure quietly, rather than broadcast everywhere.
And the two big questions are these: A) Why did all the personalities come out at once? and B) Why did all the personalities except Se Gi come out at once?
To A) I say that it was probably due to the freedom and comfort Do Hyun finally feels with Ri Jin. He’s no longer afraid to show all of himself to her, and she wants to get to know him as a friend. What better way than to meet all his personalities?
To B), I’m not sure. Following off of my answer to A), one might posit that Se Gi has already met Ri Jin. However, I’m more inclined to think with Do Hyun that Se Gi is plotting something. Or that he won’t be very happy when he comes back. And Se Gi’s attitude at the end of this episode certainly comes off as foreboding.
Let’s just hope nothing too deadly happens when he comes back.