It’s Okay, It’s Love: Episode 4
This hour is packed with interesting revelations about our hero and his past, two related things you’d think would come in a packaged deal but simply just don’t—at least not in this case study. It makes for a compelling mystery as we delve deeper and deeper into who Jae-yeol really is, especially when the show drops just enough hints to keep us on our toes. I gotta say, it’s both fun and unnerving to have a show like this flex some muscle when it comes to messing with our collective head space, because while plenty of dramas have characters with skewed perceptions of reality, It’s Okay, It’s Love takes it a step further by asking us to reevaluate our notion of what’s real versus what isn’t. Like I said: fun, but also a little unnerving.
SONG OF THE DAY
Kae Sun – “Ship and The Globe” [ Download ]
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Jae-yeol keeps the kiss short and sweet, and smirks at Hae-soo after he pulls away before he turns his head ever so slightly to the side, expecting to be slapped. Hah.
Hae-soo doesn’t take the bait, and plays it cool instead by asking how many times Jae-yeol’s been slapped in his life. “I never counted, but maybe thirty times?” he all but shrugs. Hae-soo slaps him: “Now it’s thirty-one.”
When she attempts to storm out, Jae-yeol restrains her and pushes her against the wall before hitting the light switch. Off. On. He takes a step back while still keeping her lightly trapped between his body and the wall, but it’s worth noting that Hae-soo’s not completely freaking out. And he’s not trying anything funny.
Instead, he tells her a strange sort of folk tale about a dark cave where light hadn’t shined in over a thousand years, and how the villagers near the cave feared it: “Just like you.” Off.
He goes on to say how the villagers thought that it would take a thousand years to rid the cave of darkness, “But it only takes one moment for the light to shine into that cave, like this…”
On. Except it’s not the light switch this time, but a lighter Jae-yeol ignites near their faces to reveal that his is only inches from her. Omo. Whoa. Okay, point proven.
As Hae-soo clenches her fist and her lips shut, Jae-yeol laughs as he steps away from her. Off. “Even if you haven’t been able to love for the past thirty years…” On. “And the love you put effort into for three-hundred days has ended… It’s okay.” Off.
“To feel love again,” he continues as he draws nearer to her, “You only need one moment, friend.” On. Again, he’s so close to her she can feel his breath. I love that her reaction is to blow out the lighter as she snorts at his use of the word “friend.”
Surprisingly, she seems much more at ease as she plops down onto his couch to take a swig of her drink. They even sit closer together as he jokes about how moist her lips were—but he doesn’t miss the chance to drive home his point that she should just feel when it comes to love, instead of planning and agonizing over it.
He picks up her phone to find a picture of her with not PD Choi, and she snatches it back while declaring that “He’s my man.” Jae-yeol can’t get any further explanation from her when she suddenly feels nauseous, and it’s hilarious how he runs to stop her from vomiting his bathroom by clamping his hand over her mouth. “Not here! Swallow it!” HAHA.
Jae-yeol drags her down to the lobby to use their bathroom, but is stopped at the sight of Kang-woo standing there all bloody, bruised, and barefoot. Hae-soo seems confused when he asks Kang-woo what happened to him, causing Jae-yeol to remind her that he’s not talking to her.
“Noona, you’re pretty!” Kang-woo declares with a smile. “I’m this author’s friend.” Hae-soo doesn’t pay attention to him (or see him) because she’s too busy trying not to vomit, which has Jae-yeol hastily rushing to the bathroom as he throws back over his shoulder that he’ll meet Kang-woo after.
Back in Jae-yeol’s apartment, Hae-soo tries to drunkenly get herself together so she can go home—she’s afraid to crash at his place after that kiss. Her solution? To set up her phone to record video while she sleeps, so she can be sure nothing untoward happens to her.
Jae-yeol meets Kang-woo outside only to furiously throw money at him and order him to go to the hospital. “I told you to run away. I told you to run away if your dad ever tried to beat you again!”
When Kang-woo meekly protests that he can’t because of his mom, Jae-yeol doesn’t change his stance, adding that Kang-woo should take his mom away with him.
He has little patience when Kang-woo tries broaching the topic of his new novel, because he knows that it’ll either be about him killing Kang-woo or Kang-woo killing him. Kang-woo tries to eke out that it’s not like that as Jae-yeol storms off, but he at least calls Tae-yong up to take care of the kid.
As Jae-yeol returns home to find Hae-soo sleeping on the floor, Tae-yong goes where Jae-yeol ordered him but can’t find Kang-woo anywhere.
The next morning, Hae-soo beelines it out of his apartment with mussed clothes while Jae-yeol watches from the window: “She gets cuter by the day.” He ends finds her battery-dead phone where she left it.
Soo-kwang seems to be the only one concerned that Hae-soo and Jae-yeol didn’t come home last night, whereas her unni and Sunbae Jo would be glad if something happened between them.
He confronts Jae-yeol the second he shows up to the cafe, only for Jae-yeol to surprise him with the honest truth regarding Hae-soo: “We drank together and kissed. Then I got slapped.” Sunbae Jo’s reaction is opposite to Soo-kwang’s, because he wants to hear all the details at dinner. Ha.
Over the phone, Tae-yong tells Jae-yeol about how he couldn’t find whoever-it-was last night and expresses his suspicions about what Kang-woo really wants from him. How does Jae-yeol know he isn’t lying about his family situation?
He almost loses it when Jae-yeol claims that Kang-woo just wants friendship, as he rails against Jae-yeol’s gullibility: “He’s just using you because you have a soft heart!” Jae-yeol: “Like you?” Burn.
Jae-yeol talks to Mama Ok-ja next, worried about her visiting Jae-bum in prison because it could mean she likes his hyung more than him. Of course she’s not going to play favorites, and merely says that Jae-bum has no one else but her.
At the hospital, Hae-soo and Doctor Lee visit a female patient who thinks she’s holding her baby when all she’s holding is air. All the doctors greet the invisible infant, which leaves one of the residents confused—why would they pretend like that? This gets him chastised by his buddy, who tsks that he doesn’t know a thing about psychiatry.
Jae-yeol returns home home to find PD Choi waiting outside, because he wants to get his things from Hae-soo’s room. Just to make sure, Jae-yeol snaps a picture of everything he’s taking for Hae-soo later, and dogs PD Choi’s every step around the house.
He questions why PD Choi is taking Hae-soo’s clothes, only for Choi to growl that they’re his. Which makes it funny when he starts throwing some of her bras into the bag, only for Jae-yeol to remark, “Ah, I guess you must’ve had matching underwear.” HAH.
PD Choi gives Jae-yeol the evil eye when he picks up a call from Hae-soo and familiarly calls her “Hae-soo-ya,” only to become further incensed when Jae-yeol explains that he and Hae-soo use banmal because they’re donggap (same age friends).
Even though Jae-yeol’s tone is friendly, hers is terse as she tells him to send her phone to the hospital stat. Jae-yeol pretends like he’s still talking to her even after she hangs up, all, “I’ll bring your phone!”
PD Choi finally snaps when Jae-yeol asks him about the panties he’s taking, even though Jae-yeol’s confusion at Choi’s sudden outburst makes it seem like he’s missed another important social cue. Was he not trying to make him jealous? Or is he just feigning ignorance this time?
Regardless, Jae-yeol refuses to take any of PD Choi’s soapbox crap about how he won’t let Jae-yeol use and dispose of Hae-soo like he probably does with all his women by asking, “What are you going to do if I keep her for a long time? For a very, very long time?”
Eventually he just disappears into the house to shut out PD Choi’s incessant declarations on how he’s not going to let things with Hae-soo end like this, no matter what Jae-yeol says or does.
Soo-kwang spies a high school student letting herself into the house like she owns it, and we realize that they know each other when she flippantly asks if he’s mad she ignored his calls. (She’s also the student who asked Jae-yeol to buy cigarettes for her.) Whatever her ties to the house are, we’ll come to know her as OH SO-NYEO (Lee Sung-kyung).
During his next therapy session with Sunbae Jo, Jae-bum continues his odd trend of talking about the laws of gravity and physics, which seems to be his way of avoiding anything more serious.
At least Sunbae Jo engages him this time by asking if he dyes his hair, to which Jae-bum replies that his hair turned white after he got locked up. Their talk then turns to a prisoner who Jae-bum claims lied about having schizophrenia in order to gain leniency, causing him to question whether all psychiatrists are hacks.
To Jae-bum’s surprise, Sunbae Jo is able to read the prisoner in a second, and points out proof that he’s lying to Jae-bum. Furthermore, he adds that while prisoners may dream of fooling psychiatrists for reduced sentences, it’s impossible for them to lie when administered sodium amytal (“truth serum”).
Jae-bum makes sure to memorize the name of the substance, and muses about how he’d like to inject his mom and his little brother with it… before mimicking how he’d stab them right in the neck. Great job, Sunbae Jo.
Outside the prison, Mama Ok-ja thanks Sunbae Jo for all his help with her son before rushing inside as soon as Tae-yong tells her that Jae-bum actually wants to see her this time. He won’t talk to her, but Mama Ok-ja doesn’t care—she’s just thankful to be able to see his face.
After counseling the genitalia-drawing patient’s mother now that her son is being released, Hae-soo reassures the woman’s nervous son that he’s not incurable as long as he has the determination to get better. Plus, he has a psychiatrist like her on his side.
Hae-soo then gets a call from Jae-yeol (on one of the residents’ phones) that she can come get her phone from the broadcast station, prompting the resident to wonder if the two of them are an item.
While Jae-bum starts doing extra work in prison to secure an early release, Hae-soo works with a patient so afraid of germs that he wears gloves and washes the skin off his hands by having him touch garbage.
When he expresses his fear, Hae-soo urges him to just try it… lightly. She catches herself using the same words that Jae-yeol said to her before the kiss, and even uses the same logic and tactics Jae-yeol used to help her with her patient. (Minus the romantic aspect, obviously.)
Hae-soo gets her first chance to go to the broadcasting station for her phone later that night, only to find Jae-yeol’s DJ booth surrounded by adoring fangirls. She scoffs when he talks about “real love” in his oh-so-soothing radio voice as she wonders whether a player like him even knows what love is.
Jae-yeol catches her gaze through the glass walls, and just smiles at her as she makes the universal hand signal for “phone.” All the girls near her scream when that million watt smile is sent their way.
He has her phone sent out to her, where she finds a text from PD Choi asking for some of her time. But she can’t help but smile when Jae-yeol makes a few crowd-pleasing gestures, nor can she stop herself from staring. Who can blame her?
Just then, Sunbae Jo calls her to talk about how he heard that she and Jae-yeol kissed, and how using desensitization methods like that on her makes Jae-yeol almost as good as a doctor.
Even though he thinks it’s a good thing for Hae-soo to keep at it (kissing) until she’s no longer afraid, Hae-soo’s expression grows dark. She is NOT happy that Jae-yeol kissed and told, and texts him as much: “Is my anxiety disorder funny to you? Don’t live like that. Touch me again like you did last night, and you’re dead!”
“Still, my heart fluttered when you were sleeping last night… Understood,” the cheeky bastard texts back. She reads it and mutters to herself that he must be itching for a beating as she locks gazes with Jae-yeol through the glass.
He seems mildly surprised when the man from Hae-soo’s cellphone background shows up to collect her, YOON-CHUL, the one she described as “her man.” As she leaves with him, Jae-yeol muses that she has quite the interesting life with PD Choi and “her man.”
After Yoon-chul drops Hae-soo off at her parents’ restaurant, she’s faced with prying questions about her love life—after all, her unni told them she and Jae-yeol were an item. She flatly denies any romantic involvement with him.
You can tell Hae-soo is uncomfortable when Mom dotes on her impaired father so lovingly, but it gets even worse for her when she has to field questions about her intimacy phobia.
Apparently, this is the first time Mom is hearing about it, and she seems genuinely concerned that her daughter is still a virgin as she urges her to just do it with anyone. Because that’s the kind of advice that never backfires.
While busing home, Hae-soo watches the recording from last night, wondering how she started on the floor but woke up on the bed. Then she sees Jae-yeol entering the room while she was passed out…
…Only to watch as he cleaned her up, carried her to bed, tucked her in, and kept watch at her bedside while DJ-ing her dreams. She almost seems disappointed when watching him disappear into the bathroom to spend the night there. (Or does he spend every night there?)
Hae-soo gets home to find Sunbae Jo, Soo-kwang, and the high school student who just walked into their house and pilfered Hae-soo’s bracelet earlier, So-nyeo. Apparently she’s got a bit of a social disorder and is a counseling patient of Sunbae Jo’s, and if one thing’s clear, it’s that Soo-kwang doesn’t like her one bit.
But when Hae-soo asks how So-nyeo got into their house, she answers that the door was open… and then claims it was because Jae-yeol told her she was pretty and invited her.
I love how he looks legitimately bewildered when they all turn on him, but answers honestly that yes, he did call her pretty. Hae-soo orders So-nyeo to stay while she gives him a talking-to, but not before Soo-kwang tears into him for hitting on a minor. Jae-yeol’s not in the mood to take his crap today.
“I told her she was pretty because she was,” Jae-yeol tells Hae-soo. “I never asked her to come over, and you got your bracelet back.” He doesn’t see what problem—can’t they just send her on her way?
“You’re the problem,” Hae-soo stresses. She spouts the same point that Soo-kwang did about So-nyeo being a minor, and asks if he hits on anything with a skirt and kisses whoever he wants.
“You slapped me on the face for that one, so we’re even,” he counter-argues. But he won’t take her accusation that he treats minors as anything but minors, and proves it by calling the police to report a bracelet thief in their house.
He grabs Hae-soo by the wrist when she tries to stop him, and isn’t gentle when he lets go, either: “Believe people when they’re trying to say something! Are you relieved now that she’s going to get picked up by the cops?” “I am!” Hae-soo replies defiantly.
After calling the police to say that the last call was a prank call, Hae-soo guesses what Sunbae Jo is going to say before he says it and pre-answers: “No.” She doesn’t want to play doctor to So-nyeo, she just wants her, Sunbae Jo, and Soo-kwang to go to Yoon-chul’s concert tomorrow and have a nice time.
While Sunbae Jo heads to the prison on an emergency(ish) call about Jae-bum’s emotional state, Hae-soo watches as Jae-yeol bolts from the house like there’s a fire—but he didn’t get the same call as Sunbae Jo. It was Kang-woo who called.
Kang-woo’s knuckles are bloody even though his smile couldn’t be any bigger as he tells Jae-yeol that he finally hit his father to protect his mother. “Like a man, without fear. My father was so shocked, he left the house… because his nose started bleeding.”
This last bit rids Kang-woo of his smile, so Jae-yeol pulls him into a hug and pats him on the back. “Now he won’t be able to look down on me,” Kang-woo says into his shoulder. “I did it… without fear. Father…”
Jae-yeol’s eyes well with tears as he stops Kang-woo before he can finish his sentence: “You didn’t attack your father. You defended yourself. You just defended yourself from his attack.”
Sunbae Jo and Jae-bum sit down for their session as they normally do, even though it’s the dead of night. “My dreams… are reality,” Jae-bum begins, as a hazy flashback shows a young boy holding out something sharp as a man falls onto it and him.
But then we find out who it was when Jae-bum says: “My dongsaeng killed our stepfather. Even my mom saw it. She definitely saw it.” In flashback, we see the unintentional murder scene play out, and then a court scene where a young Jae-bum was on trial for his stepfather’s murder.
He’d told the prosecutors that Mama Ok-ja saw Jae-yeol stab their stepfather, but in court, Mama Ok-ja pleaded ignorance even as she looked at Jae-bum in tears. She knew what she was doing, but why?
Back in the present, Jae-bum continues, “Even after I wake up, I go back to bed and dream about the same thing. My dongsaeng killed him. My dongsaeng killed our stepfather!” He turns just a little more desperate as he begs Sunbae Jo to give his mother and brother that truth serum he talked about. “Promise me! Promise me!”
Jae-yeol tries to lend Kang-woo a hand when it comes to the girl he likes, since he’s too afraid to say anything even though they followed her all the way home. Kang-woo knows enough about the girl’s schedule to know when she turns on the lights, when he can see her shadow as she changes clothes…
The two of them laugh about it, at least until Jae-yeol throws a rock at the house to get the girl to open the window. “His name is Kang-woo, and he said that he likes you!” Jae-yeol calls up to her. “Make sure to say hi next time you see him!”
Kang-woo runs off in embarrassment, and Jae-yeol follows, all the while laughing like a schoolboy. He and Kang-woo are on a high after that as they run through the streets, with Jae-yeol exclaiming excitedly that she’ll know who Kang-woo is now.
While Hae-soo watches the video from her drunken night with a smile on her face, Jae-yeol keeps running and smiling… only Kang-woo’s not there. There’s no one with him.
SO CREEPY. Oh, so creepy. Though I can’t quite pinpoint when I became sure that Kang-woo was a figment of Jae-yeol’s imagination, I didn’t think we’d get the big reveal so soon. And the sequence of events leading up to it were so perfect in that they could not have been more unsettling if they tried. I thought I was prepared for this, but I’m still cringing in my seat.
The thing about it isn’t so much that we found out Kang-woo isn’t real, because it’s been fairly clear from the beginning that there’s something not quite right about Jae-yeol. But since most drama heroes tends to be at least a little crazy, I took it with a grain of salt that Jae-yeol might legitimately be off-center, since this show’s world is populated by the mentally unsettled. So, even if he had an imaginary friend in Kang-woo, I really thought it couldn’t be all bad if Kang-woo was just a hallucination that popped up every now and then—disregarding the fact that no hallucination is truly harmless, anyway. But Kang-woo’s not just an imaginary friend, is he? He could be the personification of Jae-yeol’s guilt, the ghost of his former self, his alter-ego, maybe even a mixture of all or still possibly none.
What blurs the line with what he is to Jae-yeol is the fact that he’s clearly living a separate life—which, by extension, means that Jae-yeol is completely unaware that he spends some of his time AS Kang-woo. From what we’ve been given, which is unreliable at best, Kang-woo isn’t just some harmless, ghost-like illusion. Not if Jae-yeol, living as Kang-woo, has been following a girl (maybe not even the first) home so frequently that he knows her schedule down to the second.
So… that’s horrifying, isn’t it? Even if there’s some magical turnaround later, or maybe even some reveal that would undo this one, the idea that there’s a part of Jae-yeol that follows girls home is really awful to consider. It’d be different, but not necessarily better, if the scene played out the way Jae-yeol really thinks it did except with the added twist that he’s really alone. But because Kang-woo is all in his head, the information he knows could only have come from Jae-yeol—which means Jae-yeol knew that girl’s schedule because he, not Kang-woo, had been there before. It adds a different color to all the fuss that was made about him complimenting So-nyeo too, even if it doesn’t necessarily excuse Hae-soo’s tendency to fly off the handle.
But here’s something I never thought I’d find myself saying: There might just be a silver lining to Jae-yeol’s stalking. Not just because he’s an unreliable narrator or because he’s crazy and doesn’t know what he’s doing, but because there were two versions of the girl inside that house. In one shot she’s a young student, and in the other she’s a young woman. It’s so slight that I have to grudgingly hand it to the director, but it’s certainly enough to keep us guessing—even if the outcome still doesn’t change all that much. Or does it? I give up until next week. You guys have fun hashing this one out.