Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review:// Kill Me, Heal Me

Kill Me, Heal Me is a 20-episode medical mystery/romantic comedy about a chaebol son with multiple personalities who gets treated by a first year psychiatry resident. Cha Do Hyun (Ji Sung) loses a year of his childhood memories after traumatic events splinter his mind into several identities. Because of his position, his condition cannot be revealed, and strangely enough, he's only responsive to Oh Ri Jin (Hwang Jung Eum), a psychiatrist with no experience with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Meanwhile, her twin brother Oh Ri Ohn (Park Seo Joon), is a mystery writer digging into Cha Do Hyun's history, but it seems he already holds a big secret.

The Good:  Ji Sung gave a brilliant performance, assigning different facial expressions, voices and body language for each personality. He inspired empathy for each, and sold every scene he was in as believable, touching and entertaining.

Although the chemistry between the leads was a bit lacking at first, it warmed up in the second half and improved through to the end.  Cha Do Hyun and Oh Ri Ohn's "bromance" was spectacular and worth watching over and over.

Oh Ri Jin and Oh Ri Ohn have a warm and funny sibling relationship, though there is a sad and poignant side to it that adds another layer of emotion to the overall story.

The action and intrigue unfolded in an interesting and well-paced manner. Though somewhat predictable, the storytelling still created a sense of curiosity as to how it would all be revealed and resolved.

The Bad:  There didn't seem to be much research done for the medical aspect of the drama. It was more a romantic comedy with a medical theme, since psychology didn't play a part in the actual handling or treatment of Cha Do Hyun's condition. And although I didn't expect it to be very realistic, the resolutions that came about completely devoid of psychological input were not satisfying, and I was left feeling like all the loose ends were not tied up.

Oh Ji Rin was completely unbelievable as a psychiatrist. She was extremely annoying for the first ten episodes with her histrionic shrieking and the disingenuous, condescending tone she took at times. She was too clueless and easily flustered to have the mind or training of a psychiatrist, and it pulled me out of the story for more than half of the episodes which was a big disappointment.

Despite that, there was a lot of emotion built up in the story which ignited expectations for a ending that was at least as engaging as one of the many endearing scenes. Though many viewers might be satisfied with the conclusion, it was just lukewarm for me. After laughing and crying with these characters for 20 hours, I expected an ending with a little more intensity.

Awards:  Kill Me, Heal Me's Neilsen rating  averaged 10.1 nationwide, and 11.1 in Seoul. Ji Sung, Hwang Jung Eum and Park Seo Joon received a slew of awards at the 2015 MBC Drama Awards where Kill Me, Heal Me was Drama of the Year.  Additionally, Ji Sung and Hwang Jung Eum won the 2015 Daum Best Couple award, and at the 10th Seoul International Drama Awards, Hwang Jung Eum was named Outstanding Korean Actress and the drama won for Excellent Korean Drama. The touching soundtrack won for Best OST at the 8th Korean Drama Awards.

Interesting Notes:  Ji Sung and Hwang Jung Eum played opposite each other in the 2013 suspenseful crime melodrama, Secret Love.  Hwang Jung Eum and Park Seo Joon went on to star together in She Was Pretty which aired later in 2015.

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