Remember: War of the Son

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To me, Alzheimer’s is one of the scariest diseases out there. It is untreatable and the most you can do is slow down it’s progression as you gradually lose your own identity and bodily functions. To be honest, that was one of the reasons why I didn’t start this drama when it first came out. However, the raving reviews about the script and acting really pushed me to try it. Remember tells the story of a son’s battle to give back his father’s innocence after he was falsely accused of murder. After tragic accident in his childhood that took away half his family, Jin Woo lives a happy life with his father, Seo Jae-Hyuk. He has a special condition called hyperthymesia which allows him to recall everything he has seen in perfect detail. However, the irony is that his father has early onset Alzheimer and is slowly losing his memories, even though he does not know it himself. On the other end of the spectrum we have Nam Gyu-man, a special kind of crazy chaebol who has a violent temper and is set to inherit Ilho Group from his father. After a night of crazy partying, he assaults a women and ends up killing her. In an effort to cover up this situation, he bribes prosecutors, to cops, to doctors, and even to housekeepers to pin this murder on Jin Woo’s father who happened to find the body first when he was wandering aimlessly. Jin Woo manages to convince a famous lawyer, Dong-ho to be his attorney and it had looked like they were going to win. However, Gyu-man grabbed Dong-ho’s weakness and even bends the attorney to his will. Thus, Jin Woo’s father suffers in jail for the next four years as Jin Woo takes the fast track into becoming a lawyer himself. While his father is slowly losing himself and not even remembering his own son at times, Jin Woo prepares for a retrial by trying to convince the past people who were bribed to confess. However, all is for naught as Gyu-man’s power is so far-reaching. Unfortunately Jin Woo’s father ends up passing away. This not only does not deter Jin Woo from his aim to clear his father’s name, but now he is even more galvanized to put away all the people responsible.

Wow, can I just say A+++ for all the actors in this drama. Yoo Seung-Ho practically cries his eyes out every single episode as he is beaten down again and again by the powerful. This drama definitely makes you feel furious and helpless at the same time as you spit nails at the corrupt people in each field. You think, how can they smile and eat while knowing that they put an innocent man in jail? Like WTF? It made me sick for sure. However, I know we have to reach the nadir of Jin Woo’s life to make his comeback and revenge all the more satisfying. I also really enjoy Attorney Dong Ho’s role here. He is a grey character who tries to be good morally, and one of the only people on the other side who has a conscience for all the bad things he has done. And damn, can I say that Namgung Min is perfect for the villain? Ever since Girl Who Sees Smells, where he played the psychopath as well, he took it to a new level of crazy here. It is disturbing and awesome to see how twisted he is…and interesting to see him cower in front of his father. I really enjoy this intense melo drama so far and am definitely rooting for Jin Woo’s revenge.

PS. As Alzheimer’s is genetic….we all know how this is going end no?

 

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A Final Word on Healer

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Not very often do I find a perfect drama, but I must say Healer hits all the spots for me. Finding brilliant gems such as this drama is what keeps me watching Asian dramas!

Plot: Healer does a wonderful job using a tight plot. What was seen at the beginning of the drama with what seems like a simple courier job is eventually connected and part of the intricate overarching plot. Loose ends are tied up, birth secretes are solved, and generations of family are reacquainted.

Characterizations: Fleshing out characters is an important part of a drama and makes us feel connected to the material we are watching. Healer, himself, is very complex. His past sufferings made him who he was, but at the end, he rose above it. While starting out working alone, he learns how to work with others and reintegrate into society. He is the flawed hero that decides to work on his shortcomings. Chae Young Shin is the definition of spunky, not your usual Candy type, but endearing and earnest. It was a joy seeing her rise above her own past sufferings and bounce back. For our support actors, Moon Ho and Ahjumma, they are also very fleshed out with their pasts and their motivation for what they do now. Even minor characters are introduced well and given meaning to the drama.

Acting: The acting is definitely A++ with all characters. Since this is my first Ji Chang Wook drama and knowning he has not produced too many other ones yet, I am astounded at the expressiveness of his acting. Flipping between his two roles of Healer, Bong Soo, and Joon-Ho, you can see the clear differences between each, but also how each of those characterizations is still himself. Park Min Young is still as cute as ever and also a lovely actress. I have never had a problem with her acting and am glad that it is still shining through in this drama. Yoo Ji Tae, veteran actor, does a great job supporting his younger counterpart. His restrained anger and inner pain made a great contrast to Ji Chang Wook’s action first, talk later. Our group of older radio broadcasters did a great job connecting our younger generation with the convoluted past.

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Healer

Healer

Oh yes! This has definitely healed my break in kdrama addiction. While waiting for Korean cable channels to pump out a measly one episode per week of Bad Guys and Dr. Frost, this wonderful drama will tide me through! This drama can be seen as a cross between action thriller, makjang, and a tiny bit of procedural, well as least for now.

In the beginning, we are introduced to a mysterious man, codenamed: Healer. His line of work is to act as a courier, but not your usual UPS/FEDEX man. Instead, he employs high-end technology and the street-smart/combat skills more akin to an intelligence operative. He’ll take any job as long as it doesn’t involve murder. In return he is saving all the money he has earned for a chance to live in isolation on a tropical island he hopes to buy soon. Hmmm, I wonder what type of trauma he has endured in the past to yearn for such isolation. On the other side, we have a famous and well-loved journalist, Moon-Ho, who actually has a humanistic side and side-steps censoring on broadcast instead of acting like a good little puppet. This is where the makjang comes in. We can see he has issues with his older brother who is married to a woman he respects a lot. However, that woman grieves over her lost daughter which the Moon Ho uses the Healer to try to find. Of course, there seems to be some mystery as to how the child was lost and why Moon Ho seems to resent his brother.

Finally, we have Young-Shin, our plucky heroine who is an aspiring reporter and whose idol is of course Moon Ho. Young-Shin, a bit eccentric, is our shining star in the sky of broodiness made up by Moon Ho and Healer. Employed by Moon Ho, the Healer has no choice, but to get closer to Young-Shin, who is of course the long lost child, in order to find out more information about the case….while also being pinned for a murder from a previous job.

With only two episodes in, I am excited to see how the Healer’s double life will work out and to find the reason behind Young-Shin’s rough childhood. Sign me up!

-phoenix