“Kill Me, Heal Me” Ep. 13: Don’t Touch My Sister

Ji Sung and Hwang Jung-Eum have such good romantic chemistry that it keeps going even when one of them is unconscious, as in the opening sequence of episode 13. How dynamite is that?

I considered taking an episode off from recapping, but then I enjoyed this episode too much. With Cha Do Hyun’s asking Oh Ri-Jin out, Oh Ri-On’s warning Cha Do-Hyun off, and poor Oh Ri-On’s first meeting with Yu-Na, the love triangles are taking our characters into darker and darker places.

Oh Ri-Jin is suffering as the episode starts. She passes out in the Seung Jin Group wine cellar, calling it a dizzy spell. In fact, she’s has remembered a few images of her childhood in the basement. She has nightmares about these memories all night while unconsciously gripping Cha Do-Hyun’s hand (below), in a scene that reverses their roles at the end of episode 9.

But when Oh Ri-Jin wakes, she’s “herself” again, perky to the point of ridiculousness. She tells Cha Do-Hyun not to worry about her. In the next couple scenes, the role reversal continues, with Cha Do-Hyun telling her to take the nightmares seriously and Oh Ri-Jin brushing him off.

Cha Do-Hyun isn’t only concerned for her health. He doesn’t yet know who the other child in the basement was, but he’s making it his full-time job to find out, now that he’s resigned from ID. He knows Oh Ri-Jin is afraid of basements and that her nightmares take her back to her childhood. He suspects her nightmares resemble his. He doesn’t jump to conclusions, but he’s putting the pieces together.

He remembers “Omega’s” story of the twins and wonders if Oh Ri-Jin was adopted. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the nerve to ask—and Oh Ri-Jin is good at shutting him down and refusing to be serious. I want to shake them (“Don’t you realize we’re two-thirds of the way through the series?!? I want revelations!”) but they’re acting just like we’d expect. Both are reluctant to involve others in their problems.

If you don’t reach out to friends, though, you can only talk to strangers. It’s not surprising that after Oh Ri-Jin and Cha Do-Hyun joke about a small fortune-telling shop, they both visit it surreptitiously.

Each has a hilarious encounter with the fortune teller. I would love to know who played this cameo, because the fortune teller was a highlight of this episode. She’s sunny and upbeat as she predicts disasters, danger and destruction (above). (Update: I figured it out. She’s played by comedian Ahn Young-Mi.) Cha Do-Hyun, she says, may locate a love he’s sought for a long time, but it will be difficult. And she’s extra-discouraging to Oh Ri-Jin. The death card means Oh Ri-Jin should give up on love now. Focus on work.

Neither likes their results (“Invalid!” Oh Ri-Jin shouts), but for the rest of the episode, the predictions influence them. Cha Do-Hyun seems invigorated by the warning that he’s in the hands of fate. Something about the short conversation with the fortune teller gives him more certainty, perhaps just the fact of admitting he has hesitations. He takes a risk and asks Oh Ri-Jin to see him as a man rather than a patient.

Oh Ri-Jin doesn’t know how to answer him right now. She proposes an outing, so he can get to know her better, she says.

So far so good. Oh Ri-Jin is entertaining the possibility, while also staying sensible—until this point, I hadn’t realized how much of their relationship was simply about Oh Ri-Jin taking care of Cha Do-Hyun. She hesitates for good reason: he doesn’t actually know her as a three-dimensional person. (Oh Ri-Jin should win a K-drama medal here for keeping her head when confronted with extreme male gorgeousness.)

But I suspect the fortune teller is getting Oh Ri-Jin down despite her efforts at optimism. When Cha Do-Hyun cancels because he’s called away by a drunk Chae-Yeon, Oh Ri-Jin feels discouraged, drinks a few beers, and calls Oh Ri-On for comfort (below). Oh Ri-On has a social life of his own, it turns out, but he drops everything when he hears Oh Ri-Jin had a nightmare.

The note Oh Ri-Jin leaves for Cha Do-Hyun says she’s visiting her family. She explicitly adds that she’s not mad about his cancelling their outing, which is polite but not strictly true. This entire episode is structured around Oh Ri-Jin’s attempts (very sweet attempts) to hide her feelings and concerns from Cha Do-Hyun.

What makes the story arc here so sad is that Cha Do-Hyun knows she’s trying to protect him. He follows her to her parents’, allowing him to overhear Oh Ri-Jin tell Oh Ri-On that she’s concerned and confused by her feelings for her patient. She’s finding her own worries exhausting, but she doesn’t think it’s fair to share them with Cha Do-Hyun because of his condition—a great description of why therapists and patients aren’t supposed to get involved.

Oh Ri-Jin doesn’t see Cha Do-Hyun standing in the driveway, but Oh Ri-On does. He distracts his sister so she won’t notice. The next day he meets with Cha Do-Hyun to warn him off. The dialogue in this scene is smart: Oh Ri-On talks about his sister’s professionalism as a doctor and how he’s sure she would never allow herself to act on feelings for a patient she’s tending.

“You’re definitely a writer,” Cha Do-Hyun responds. “You choose your words too well. Doctor. Patient. Tending. If you wanted to draw a line, and take aim at my weaknesses, you succeeded.”

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Oh Ri-On also tells Cha Do-Hyun that his acquaintance with Oh Ri-Jin shouldn’t last longer than two months, or Oh Ri-On will interfere. Given his renown as a mysterious author and his knowledge of Seung Jin Group secrets, this threat has some weight behind it. Oh Ri-On is less the protective brother here and more the jealous lover—and I hate him for making Cha Do-Hyun sad.

Luckily, payback is right around the corner: whenever Oh Ri-On and Cha Do-Hyun have a conversation about Oh Ri-Jin, Yu-Na makes an appearance. We go from heartache to humor as Yu-Na meets her crush in person for the first time—and Oh Ri-On learns what Oh Ri-Jin meant by a really dangerous personality.

The hijinks don’t just ensue, they explode. Oh Ri-On is forced to chase Yu-Na through the streets. I doubt any man in Korea has ever in a lifetime said the word “oppa” as many times as Ji Sung does in the next ten minutes. And he says it with such girly adolescent fervor! Oh Ri-Jin joins the chase, yelling at Yu-Na not to touch her “oppa.” And Oh Ri-On can’t bring himself to hit Yu-Na, “because she’s a girl.”

Because oppa is what a female calls either a boyfriend or an older brother, the double meanings lend themselves to comedy, but this is extra good because of the complicated love triangle. Cha Do-Hyun and Oh Ri-On both want Oh Ri-Jin, and both are aware of their rivalry. (At least Cha Do-Hyun suspects Oh Ri-On’s feelings, based on the story of the twins in the basement.)

But as soon as Cha Do-Hyun becomes Yu-Na, the triangle shifts. Yu-Na pursues Oh Ri-On, who only a few minutes previously was warning him away from Oh Ri-Jin. And Oh Ri-Jin is forgotten, except that she wants to stop Yu-Na because she loves Cha Do-Hyun. She doesn’t feel bad about hitting “a girl,” and decks Yu-Na right after the teen finally succeeds in planting a smooch on Oh Ri-On.

This sequence is a relief after the scene before it, and not only because it’s funny. It’s also a relief because Oh Ri-Jin is taking action and helping the men she cares about. In the “real world” love triangle, she’s doomed to hurt someone, though she isn’t even aware the triangle yet. And in the earlier confrontation between Cha Do-Hyun and Oh Ri-On, they talk about her as if she doesn’t have a will of her own. The scene here reminds us that she’ll probably decide what happens next, not them.

We end again on a character making a discovery. When he wakes in Oh Ri-On’s bedroom, Cha Do-Hyun is embarrassed to learn that Yu-Na appeared, but he doesn’t let that stop him from asking Oh Ri-Jin again to consider a relationship with him. Her optimism is gone, she’s mad (about everything, I suspect) and she quotes the contract clauses against falling in love. (I forgot this show also had the K-drama contract cliché!)

Cha Do-Hyun says he’ll break the contract, but this is the moment when he notices a charred fragment of a photograph on the ground. It’s a scrap left from when Oh Ri-On burned his notes on the Seung Jin Group. Cha Do-Hyun is surprised, because it’s a photo of his mother, his official, registry mother, that is (below).

By finding the photo, he’s going to learn a little about Oh Ri-On’s research. Oh Ri-On seems to have stopped his “revenge project” upon learning of Cha Do-Hyun’s illness, but he could give Cha Do-Hyun valuable clues.

The photo also reminds us of the faux-cest plotline (the photo actually shows Min Seo-Yoon with a young Oh Ri-Jin). The scene with Cha Do-Hyun is crosscut with a scene of Shin Hwa-Ran, his birth mother, finding the same photo at her comatose lover’s bedside. We learn that Jun-Pyo secretly loved his legal wife, Min Seo-Yoon. This suddenly raises the possibility that one of our characters is actually a child of Jun-Pyo and Min Seo-Yoon. I consulted the family tree again, and we badly need a Mystery Man to be Oh Ri-Jin’s father. Or even Do-Hyun’s father. Someone’s father, anyway.

Oh Ri-Jin and Cha Do-Hyun were definitely the basement children. But why is it so important to Cha Do-Hyun’s mother and grandmother to deny the existence of another child? Is it because of who the child’s father is, or because of who they are afraid he might be? Uncle Cha Young-Pyo must think the child has legal rights to something from the Seung Jin Group—he’s searching because the child could be an ally to him. But does anyone really know?

And how can Oh Ri-Jin and Cha Do-Hyun get past this impasse? I had so much hope for them early in this episode, especially because Cha Do-Hyun comes out and says what he wants, and Oh Ri-Jin gives a rational answer. Even better, Cha Do-Hyun persists even after Oh Ri-On threatens him, though he now talks only about “the next two months.” But Oh Ri-Jin has her own weaknesses that she doesn’t want to expose. And the fortune teller told her to focus on work, which is what she prefers to do anyway.

An even bigger danger to their relationship may be Oh Ri-On, who wants his “sister” to be happy but doesn’t want her with Cha Do-Hyun. What does he want, then? Does he consider telling her how he feels? (Please don’t!) How far would he go to get Cha Do-Hyun out of her life?

Don’t let the “Death” card win, people!

7 thoughts on ““Kill Me, Heal Me” Ep. 13: Don’t Touch My Sister

  1. This show! I am trying to wrap my head around “secretly loved his wife”. Such things can only happen in KDramas! There isn’t much of a plot here that’s not overly cliché, but the things that makes me tune in every week are Ji Sung, HJE and Ri On hijinks! Everyone else can go take a hike. Plot included 😀

  2. Ohhh like you “I hadn’t realized how much of their relationship was simply about Oh Ri-Jin taking care of Cha Do-Hyun…he doesn’t actually know her as a three-dimensional person.” Hmm I wonder if him learning the truth given next episodes events will impede that further. That whole guilt-over-responsible factor in his personality…there better be no noble idiocy ahead.

    But I hope there won’t be, he needs her too much to push her away. Plus, I’m glad he knew and fell in love with the crazy go-getta of the present day, not the sad girl trapped in the basement. Had the reverse happened, or she’d been a usual heroine, all sweet and demure and long-suffering, he might’ve thought he loved her out of guilt. Now more than ever I’m glad Ri-jin is who she is, so I guess those who said HJE’s portrayal was intentional was right.

  3. First things first! I love this blog, its like I have finally found a place to confirm my thoughts regarding this drama, given the high amount of suspense its currently running on! 🙂
    I had been badly looking for a family tree and finding one here was a relief 😛
    And that brings us to the impending doom of a romance because till now everything is pointing towards an incest!(Please NO!)
    I really wish you are right and they bring in some mysterious man who’s either of the main character’s father. Or perhaps Ri Jin and Ri On were switched at birth 😛
    I guess only time will tell!

  4. Well, I think that if Ri Jin is the child of Min Seo Yeon and Joon Pyo then she would have some legal stake (I guess) in the company. BUT if she is really their child, why hide her? Plus, why did Do Hyun get more prominence than her? We have never seen her address Joon Pyo as ‘father’ either, so I rule this possible family tree out. She seems to be more of a secret love-child between Min Seo Yeon and a mystery man.

  5. @pranx: The phrase “secretly loved his wife” sums up a lot of what I love about K-dramas. It’s like everything’s through the looking-glass. Your comment about the cliches inspired me to write about how I love them for ep. 14! I don’t think cliches are a bad thing on their own, depends on whether they’re used well or badly.

    @Muse: Good point about ORJ’s personality. If Shin Segi fell for her because of guilt about the past (which might be why he wasn’t very good at listening to her in the present), CDH is definitely involved with the outrageous ORJ of right now. This weird OTP makes me so happy!

    @camwill: Please, Show, let it be Mystery man!! The narrative structure worries me, though, because we don’t have any hints about who the Mystery Man could be, and we’re already entering Act 3. I’ll be annoyed if he shows up completely out of the blue, like the sudden Russia plot-line in the last two episodes of Healer. I’m thinking maybe we’ll discover that, say, the Chairman or father had Mystery Man killed 21 years ago. Please, Show, no deus ex machina ending!

    @Sohini: I occasionally wonder if ORO and ORJ were switched at birth too! It would solve the whole incest problem. And in the first episode, Oh Ri-On is joking around with Oh Ri-Jin and says maybe he’s a secret chaebol heir. I wouldn’t put it past the writer to have more surprises in store. I don’t trust any of the older generation in the story to be telling the truth. I’m so glad the family tree helps!

    • Oooh, this is important. The truth is revealed slowly, and becomes more clear around episode 16: they aren’t brother and sister.

      It’s confusing because ORJ’s mother was originally married to Cha Do Hyun’s father. But the couple didn’t have a child together and got divorced. After the divorce, Min Seo-Yeon went to the United States and met with her first love and had a child–Oh Ri-Jin. And Cha Jun-Pyo went and had a child with Shin Hwa-Ran after the divorce–the child who grew up to be Cha Do-Hyun. So Oh Ri-Jin and Cha Do-Hyun have no genetic relationship.

      The only weird thing is that in Korean government records you could have a “legal” mother that’s different from your birth mother. The law changed in 2005, but when CDH and ORJ were kids, it was hard for a divorced woman to get off her ex-husband’s family registry. Min Seo-Yeon probably remained legally part of the Cha family even after her divorce. The result was that she became a “legal” mother to CDH.

      Cha Do Hyun’s legal mother (in the family registry) is Min Seo-Yeon, who is Oh Ri-Jin’s genetic mother. (ORJ’s “legal” parents are the couple who adopted her.) The registry doesn’t list Shin Hwa-Ran as CDH’s mother, even though she gave birth to him, because his father didn’t marry Shin Hwa-Ran. Here’s the family tree I put together a few weeks ago: http://www.koreandrama.today/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/cha-family-chart.png.

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