It’s Okay, It’s Love: Episode 2
Who ever thought that living in a house full of basket cases could be so fun? Our hero decides to take an interesting leap into another world, though it’s funny to watch just how much of his old world he has to take with him to make it feel like home. What begins as an exercise in curiosity morphs into a journey of self-discovery for Jae-yeol, providing some of this episode’s most poignant moments as we watch a man who, despite dedicating his life to writing about other people, seems to understand so little about them.
SONG OF THE DAY
HISTORY – “싸이코 (Psycho)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 2 RECAP
We find Jae-yeol returning home after getting patched up at the hospital as he reads a note Hae-soo left before he woke up. In it, she tells him to text her his bank account number so she can compensate him for his injury, which gets a rueful laugh out of him before he crumples and tosses the note.
Thinking twice, he picks it back up and decides to call her. He’s taken aback when Hae-soo is so completely unfazed by his call that she threatens to hang up if he doesn’t get to the point now, so he simply says that they should make sure to see each other at least once before they die. Click.
He mumbles an insult under his breath after hanging up, while Hae-soo looks at her phone like it sprouted legs: “He doesn’t want any money? Forget it then!”
She’s got more important things to worry about: The female patient (Soo-bin) who was escorted out of the hospital by her mother against Hae-soo’s explicit warnings, is back in the hospital after a failed suicide attempt.
Hae-soo’s frustration with Soo-bin’s mother is apparent, so much so that Doctor Lee sends her outside since the woman is in hysterics after the incident.
After getting a call from ex-wife Doctor Lee about Hae-soo needing therapy, Sunbae Jo has to deal with a minor attack by one of his angry psychiatric patients by reminding him that if he doesn’t continue therapy, he’ll be imprisoned for domestic abuse against his wife and son.
Hae-soo is not happy when Doctor Lee confronts her about the therapy issue, since she sees nothing wrong with having yelled at Soo-bin’s mother for almost killing her daughter.
Doctor Lee’s argument is that outbursts like hers creates mental patients, and that Hae-soo didn’t have a right to be upset at Soo-bin’s mother when that woman almost lost her daughter. Hae-soo losing a patient pales in comparison.
If this sounds like a serious issue, it’s because it is. If the cheery music playing seems jarring, it’s because it is. Even if both Hae-soo and Doctor Lee know each other well enough to toe the line between a “talking-to” and friendly advice, these weirdly chipper music choices are just bizarre.
But since Hae-soo is still her student, Doctor Lee entrusts her with a difficult new patient who’s obsessed with making erotic drawings of anyone he sees—and to make matters more complicated, Doctor Lee adds that taking his sketchpad away causes him depression and insomnia. If Hae-soo wants to prove herself, she has to find a way to help him.
Jae-yeol’s editor (who we’ll just call Editor Bae) is incensed about his girlfriend plagiarizing his book, as well as the audacity Pul-ip had to claim that he was the one who plagiarized off her.
She chides Jae-yeol for talking about his novel when he should’ve just kept things physical with Pul-ip, to which he cheekily replies that people talk about all sorts of things in bed—and the fact that she doesn’t know that is the reason she’s still single.
After telling Editor Bae to move forward in suing Pul-ip, he’s greeted like a celebrity as he attends his book signing. His young admirer, Kang-woo, is also among the crowd with a happy grin on his face.
Jae-yeol’s attempts to field questions about the plagiarism scandal fail when one press member mentions that Pul-ip’s publisher released a statement claiming that he plagiarized her book, along with the request that all copies of his book be pulled off store shelves.
Editor Bae assembles her team to deal with the situation, but they’re unsure how to proceed—Jae-yeol is all for suing Pul-ip, but his buddy and editing team member TAE-YONG is suspiciously against the idea.
Things get extra tense when Jae-yeol shares his conviction that someone in the inner circle sold Pul-ip his book file, since there’s no way she could’ve remembered his book word for word even if he had recited it to her.
Since Tae-yong has been tasked with finding Jae-yeol a new place that will actually tolerate his ridiculous requests, he calls up his old friend Sunbae Jo. He then suggests that Jae-yeol go live in that house, because he’d be sure to mine a novel from a few months spent with two psychiatrists and a Tourette’s Syndrome sufferer as his roommates.
Jae-yeol isn’t enthused about the idea until Tae-yong shows him a video from their recent house party—and there’s Hae-soo, his potential future roomie.
Realizing that seems to be Jae-yeol’s deciding factor, and the idea of living with her brings him out of his post-plagiarized slump. Tae-yong is more excited about the possibility of a book coming from all this, but Jae-yeol is definitely more excited about Hae-soo.
However, Tae-yong’s loyalty is again brought into question when Jae-yeol borrows his car and finds Pul-ip’s address in his navigator. He now knows Tae-yong lied about not knowing where Pul-ip lived.
At Casa Crazy, Sunbae Jo and Soo-kwang have to put up with the construction noise coming from Jae-yeol’s soon-to-be bedroom and bathroom, since it has to meet his exact specifications and be locked to all outsiders.
Sunbae Jo doesn’t mind the fuss, even if Jae-yeol will just be living with them for two months—he paid up front and is filthy rich, so who cares about a little remodeling?
Hae-soo is the only one unaware of who their new roommate is, even though she’s the one forced to answer the door with wet hair when he arrives since Sunbae Jo is helping Soo-kwang through an episode.
Her expression falls the moment she opens the door and recognizes Jae-yeol: “Oh my god.” He, on the other hand, could not be any happier as she grudgingly points him in the direction of his room.
After mistakenly opening Sunbae Jo’s door to find him helping Soo-kwang through an episode, he finally reaches his room, which is an exact replica of his old one. Even the bathroom is the same, all meticulously arranged and color coordinated just the way he likes it.
He seems uncomfortable when Sunbae Jo and Soo-kwang enter his space to give their introductions. Soo-kwang is polite but robotic—but when a motor tic causes him to squeeze Jae-yeol’s hand when they shake, Jae-yeol’s automatic response is to squeeze right back. Hard.
Afterward, Soo-kwang launches into a practiced explanation of his Tourette’s Syndrome, if only to warn his new roomie that whatever he says or does during an episode doesn’t mean anything.
Sunbae Jo explains how the episodes are as uncontrollable as a sneeze in an effort to make sure Jae-yeol understands. Even though he promises to be more considerate, the two don’t seem to hit it off mostly because of his awkwardness.
Hae-soo is the next to visit Jae-yeol’s room, and immediately picks on the specific color scheme and how even his clothes don’t deviate from it. “Are you OCD?” she asks, to which he quickly replies that he may have OCD.
He’s off like a bullet when she tells him where her room is, and he’s not disappointed when he opens the door to find a pigsty. Since Sunbae Jo said there were no rules, Jae-yeol has decided to make his own as he tells Hae-soo that he gives as good as he gets. “You screw me, I screw you.”
In this case, since she barged into his room, he barged into hers. He seems to enjoy teasing her as he says he’ll see her at the welcoming party Sunbae Jo is throwing for him tomorrow, but she’s not so easily stepped on as she interrupts his cool exit with: “So who plagiarized who?”
Now she’s the one enjoying getting under his skin, as she recites the rumors she’s heard while chomping on an apple. She seems surprised when he stalks toward her, takes her hand, holds her pinky…
…And then uses her hand to pick a piece of foodstuff from her smile. Hah. Jae-yeol: 2-ish, Hae-soo: 1.
The transgender patient (named Sera) from last episode approaches Hae-soo about being discharged, since she claims to understand why her parents and brothers reacted with violence when they found out the truth.
Hae-soo refuses the request, because releasing Sera would mean putting her back in danger, which is something she can’t do. To prove why, she wheels Sera to a mirror so she can confront her own bruised and battered reflection.
Hae-soo: “One woman has been beaten by her own parents and siblings. Beaten for one sole reason: to be understood by those who can’t understand her. Even though her face is bruised and her leg broken, that woman says she wants to go back to that house, that she understands those who beat her. If she goes back to that house this time, her head might bust open from being beaten. Not her leg, but her back might be broken this time. But she says that it’s okay, because they’re her parents and siblings. She says she deserves to be beaten, so she’ll endure the beatings.”
Sera breaks down into tears as Hae-soo tells her that she can either run away from her family or be forcibly committed for her own safety. She squeezes the girl’s shoulders reassuringly as she adds: “Sera, the only person you really need to understand, even more than your parents, is yourself.”
Sunbae Jo has a talk with Hae-soo about her outburst with Soo-bin’s mother, since her disdain for mothers is a recurring issue with her. Hae-soo does the psychoanalyzing for him by admitting that her behavior traces back to a childhood trauma, and because of that, she believes moms should be moms. Is he done?
He tries to get her to open up about an incident from her childhood where she found her mother kissing someone who wasn’t her dad. But Hae-soo is determined not to talk about it, and manages to hold out till their agreed-upon time is up.
After telling Jae-yeol that Pul-ip won’t be able to see him until the weekend, we find Tae-yong with Pul-ip as he brags about having bought her time to promote the book before her planned escape to the States this weekend. He’ll make sure the lawsuit is dropped while she’s gone.
When Jae-yeol comes knocking at her door, Tae-yong hides by hanging outside her window. But Jae-yeol’s no fool, and is not only able to corner her on the plagiarism issue, but has also figured out that Tae-yong is the one who betrayed him.
Pul-ip finally breaks, but tries to lay the blame on him by claiming that this wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t always ignore her manuscripts, to which he honestly replies that he did because he knew they were all plagiarized. He just never told her until now.
Desperate to get to him somehow, Pul-ip then claims that their three year relationship was just a sexual exchange, since he only spent what little time he ever did with her when he wasn’t too busy writing.
Those words sting, even if he does a marvelous job of hiding it as he admits that he wasn’t able to figure out what he meant to her or what she meant to him until she cleared it up just now. She might have seen them as just sex partners, but he didn’t—even if he doesn’t admit it straight out.
Still, it doesn’t change the fact that Pul-ip crossed a line she shouldn’t have crossed. “You reap what you sow,” Jae-yeol says before he leaves.
After Jae-yeol takes a baseball bat to Tae-yong’s car, he spots his former best friend trying to sneak back in through the window and snaps at him to shut up when he cries that he’s sorry.
But as he stalks off, he calls Editor Bae to call off the lawsuit and pull his books off the shelves—he’ll make up the loss with his next novel.
Jae-yeol ends up passing Kang-woo on his drive home, but despite Kang-woo’s pleas as he chases Jae-yeol’s car on his bike, Jae-yeol keeps on driving.
It’s Hae-soo’s 300th Day Anniversary with PD Choi, and he calls to remind her that he’s booked a hotel room for them. She frets after as she wonders if there’s anyone else who suffers from sex phobia as severely as she does.
After she passes up a ride from him, Hae-soo finds Jae-yeol standing outside the house. He’s nervous about going in with all the noise coming from inside, since he doesn’t know what’s going on.
“My boyfriend and friends are over,” Hae-soo says, which earns a shocked reaction from Jae-yeol as he repeats the word “boyfriend” like he’s never heard it. She challenges him on his surprise—did he think she wouldn’t have one? (Yes, yes he did.)
I love that he brings up the fact that his welcoming party was supposed to be tonight. “No, we’re just watching the soccer game,” Hae-soo chirps back. Jae-yeol can only shake his head. “What is it with these people?”
It’s a bit awkward for him to watch Hae-soo and PD Choi kiss, mostly because he remembers catching him locking lips with someone else backstage. He keeps that tidbit to himself, at least.
When Soo-kwang invades his personal space, Jae-yeol finally decides to lay down the groundwork with him: He won’t treat Soo-kwang any differently because of his condition, so Soo-kwang better not expect anything.
Soo-kwang gives Jae-yeol the rundown on how everyone in the room is connected, including but not limited to: Sunbae Jo and Doctor Lee being divorced, Hae-soo kissing Sunbae Jo once when she was drunk, Hae-soo being his first kiss, and how Hae-soo and PD Choi are likely to be married soon but ONLY because Soo-kwang conceded his loss to PD Choi.
Jae-yeol’s reaction is priceless: “Does everyone here have to kiss each other and live together… and do all that to be part of the group?” The look on his face! Haha.
I think he actually misunderstood what Soo-kwang said, since he seems to be genuinely curious when he asks Hae-soo whether she’s “sharing” PD Choi with Min-young, the PD girl.
She’s genuinely confused, and says that Min-young is just a colleague. But Jae-yeol, unaware that he’s divulging a huge secret, tells Hae-soo that he saw them kissing before their interview. Yiiiiiiiiiikes. He really thinks they’re just in some weird open relationship, doesn’t he.
Hae-soo marches into the living room, turns off the TV, and asks Min-young flat-out if she kissed PD Choi. Jae-yeol’s face falls as he realizes that it was a secret, while Sunbae Jo breaks up the party once he realizes that PD Choi is guilty.
Min-young freaks out and starts screaming that she liked PD Choi first, and has to be literally dragged out of the house. Jae-yeol tries to pull Soo-kwang off PD Choi when he starts beating him, but a solid kick to Jae-yeol’s family jewels cues that happy-go-lucky song, which may as well be a metaphorical kick to our balls too.
All the men in the living room start brawling, and Jae-yeol even tries apologizing to PD Choi, but that doesn’t end well. Luckily the music is there to remind us not to take this scene so seriously. Phew, right? I mean, for a second there, I was actually engrossed and in the moment. That is clearly not what the show wanted.
Jae-yeol is ostracized from his roomies after that, so much so that any room he enters is immediately vacated no matter how many times he tries to unobtrusively insert himself into the group. Awwwww.
His imprisoned hyung calls him just to say that he’s thinking of stabbing him in the neck when he’s released this time. “You framed me for the murder you committed so you could enjoy the good life. It’s not that unfair, is it?”
“I didn’t kill anyone,” Jae-yeol replies. There’s not a tinge of menace in his voice as he tells his hyung that he’s not the same person he was before because he can fight back now. Even so, he earnestly tells Jae-bum that he misses him, and that they should drink together when he’s released—leaving Jae-bum to muse that his little brother’s all grown up now.
Hae-soo visits her parents’ home, and helps her unni bathe their severely mentally handicapped father in a kiddie pool near the kitchen. Mom plays the nice and loving wife, but escapes to another room when she gets a call… from Ajusshi Kim, the name Sunbae Jo brought up with her during her “therapy” session.
She flashes back to that moment of her childhood where she and her unni happened to see Mom kissing Ajusshi Kim. It’s sad how her unni tried to protect her by distracting her, but Hae-soo never forgot.
After finishing a DJ-ing gig, Jae-yeol gives his mom a call, and affectionately calls her by her first name, OK-JA (Cha Hwa-yeon). He’s just calling to tell her how much he loves her, which is cute. (Meta Moment: Mama Ok-ja is watching this production team’s last drama, That Winter The Wind Blows.)
Sunbae Jo meets the prison inmate Tae-yong personally asked him to counsel pro bono, and it turns out to be none other than Jae-yeol’s estranged hyung.
“I’m convicted murderer Jang Jae-bum,” he says by way of introduction. That’s not awkward.
Hae-soo makes it a point to walk away when PD Choi approaches her at work, but a broken heel ends up thwarting her efforts. She finally just breaks down into piteous sobs even as she adamantly rejects any efforts he makes to apologize.
Jae-yeol tries to make amends later with a bottle of good wine, and prevents Hae-soo from shutting the door on him with his foot. He claims that it’s a comfort drink, since he’s in the same boat as her: His best friend from childhood betrayed him and his girlfriend of three years plagiarized his book.
This seems to get through to Hae-soo, who accepts a very full glass of wine…
…Which she then chucks at Jae-yeol’s face before she slams the door to her room. She swears she’ll have him packing or else she’ll leave, but whatever the case, it’s WAR.
She opens the door when Jae-yeol knocks on it, only to end up covered in wine as he chucks his glass right back at her. “I told you. I give as good as I get. You screw me, I screw you.”
Hae-soo yells after him, and Jae-yeol just turns around with a cavalier smile as he shakes the wine bottle invitingly. “What? Do you feel like a drink now?”
What an interesting show. I really didn’t know what to expect going in, even though I’ve seen every collaboration between writer Noh Hee-kyung and PD Kim Kyu-tae and loved some, but definitely not all. To that end, I knew that no matter what the story turned out to be, it’d at least be presented prettily—and not in the generic way dramas can easily achieve these days just by virtue of being in focus. So while I do tend to like PD Kim’s work whenever he manages to dial back his penchant for shoving lenses up his actors’ nostrils during any given scene, I’ve also been severely and irrevocably burned by following shows out of respect for the production team. Because doing so has never, ever, ever, ever turned out to be a good idea. Ever. (Do Not See: Basketball, Shark, Sword and Flower.)
That being said, I’m cautiously optimistic about It’s Okay, which has a lot going for it that didn’t necessarily rear its head in the first hour. It’s clearly a slow burn as far as establishing character goes, which has its merits when it comes to multi-layered people like Jae-yeol and Hae-soo. We don’t need to see their whole lives in flashback to know that they have well-established pasts, which turns the tantalizing glimpses we do get into a fantastic impetus to keep watching—as long as that build-up is used correctly. And we really won’t know whether it is unless it’s used incorrectly, which we won’t know until the future. So all there is to do now is sit back and enjoy the ride for as long as the road stays smooth.
As far as heroes go, Jae-yeol is definitely one of the more interesting ones right out of the starting gate, isn’t he? And that surprisingly has little to do with the overt character quirks he has on display, like his possibly OCD-related level of finickiness or his perceived distant exterior. It’s not even a case of a cold chaebol with the traditionally warm underbelly, because the more we see of him, the more we realize that he’s not at all the typical rich man who has to set aside his disdain for his fellow and lesser human beings for the girl unfortunate enough to receive his affections, nor is he any other thing that can be neatly boxed and packaged. That undefinable aspect to him is what cinched the deal for me this hour, especially after I was left feeling interested but fairly lukewarm after the first episode. But give me an emotionally vulnerable hero and I am sold.
It’s almost hard to believe that someone like Jae-yeol actually exists, which is part of the reason why he comes off as so unexpectedly interesting and fresh. And what an unexpected twist to add to a forced cohabitation storyline with a hero who’s so socially awkward and endearingly naive, especially when that flies in the face of all his swagger. I can’t help but think about how drastically different this show would be had Jae-yeol purposefully ostracized himself and treated the idea of living in such an unfamiliar place with all the curious detachment one might feel at a zoo—it’s fun to look at the lions, but not so much to cuddle with them.
And the crazy thing is that it was pure curiosity that led him to move in, whether he did it just because of his fascination with Hae-soo or because he’d have a great story after climbing into the exhibit. What matters is that he’s actually trying to fit in even if he’s failing, because the very act of trying at all makes him instantly relatable to anyone who’s ever felt like like an outsider looking in, otherwise known as everyone.
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