It’s Okay, It’s Love: Episode 8
The fixation on our heroine’s reluctance toward physical intimacy goes into overdrive in an hour with as much of a one-track mind as its straight-shooting hero. I guess it won’t come as that much of a surprise when the weeks leading up to this have dedicated a fair amount of energy to the idea of getting down to business, so in that sense it’s always been less a question of “Will they or won’t they?” and more of a “Will she and when?”
It’s been a close race for ratings this cycle, and even though It’s Okay slipped into last place with 10.2%, I wouldn’t be surprised if that continues to change in the weeks to come.
SONG OF THE DAY
Wheesung – “For You” from the OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 8 RECAP
It turns out that Jae-yeol and Hae-soo didn’t take that trip, since she asks him if he’s angry that she pulled out. He’s completely fine with it as he tells her they can just go another time, causing Hae-soo to smile as she says, “You really are my type.”
So in lieu of a vacation, Jae-yeol takes her to see some flowers… at his mom’s house. Visiting the parents already? He’s fast.
Mama Ok-ja has sympathy for Hae-soo being caught unaware, even though she’s surprised at just how much Hae-soo knows about her son. Then again, Hae-soo’s the first girl Jae-yeol’s ever brought home.
While Hae-soo goes for a walk around the neighborhood, Mama Ok-ja confesses to Jae-yeol that she’s been thinking about the past a lot lately. One incident in particular stands out as we see the flashback: Mama Ok-ja had been enraged to find Jae-bum eating “his brother’s” food from her kitchen after being released from a juvenile detention center.
Even though Jae-bum remembered it was her birthday and noticed her new black eye, Mama Ok-ja treated him like an unwelcome pest. In the present, Jae-yeol tsks at his mother for being too harsh—she had quite the temper back then.
She doesn’t deny it, as the flashback resumes to where her shouting match with Jae-bum escalated sharply when she’d told Jae-bum to just go die, to which Jae-bum fired back that he wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of his death.
Then she’d noticed a container of oil, and in his anger, Jae-bum claimed he’d brought it to burn the house down. In the present, Mama Ok-ja admits that she didn’t remember until after how she’d told Jae-bum she couldn’t make him food without it a few weeks prior. The oil was his birthday gift to her.
She asks Jae-yeol if he knows that Jae-bum isn’t as bad as everyone makes him out to be, which he does. Mama Ok-ja then sighs that Jae-bum turned out this way because she didn’t testify for him in court, even though Jae-yeol cryptically counters that she couldn’t have testified for him anyway, because she saw what really happened.
Jae-yeol tells his mom to keep her chin up, so that way they can reunite as one happy family when Jae-bum finally comes home. To him, Jae-bum’s jail sentence will mark the last of their family’s misfortune. It’ll be blue skies for the three of them soon.
Mama Ok-ja approves of Hae-soo and tells her son to stick with her for the long haul, and he chuckles a bit as he wonders if he would eventually get sick of Hae-soo, but it’s clear he isn’t really looking to argue. If anything, it seems like he’s considering the idea of a future with her pretty favorably.
During the car ride home, Hae-soo initially brushes off Jae-yeol’s suggestion that they go on a trip together as him just fooling around. But when he reminds her that she always keeps her passport on her and is therefore always ready to travel, she starts to wonder if he’s really serious.
He is, and suggests they go to Okinawa, specifically to the place she has a picture of in her room. “Let’s just go,” he says, and she laughs at the ridiculousness of it all until she makes a sudden spontaneous decision and agrees. But he better hurry before she changes her mind.
Instead of seeing his next patient, Sunbae Jo is instead met with Doctor Lee, who wears a stone-faced expression as she explains that she’s only there to seek his counsel for her brother-in-law, who may be suffering from a delusional form of jealousy when it comes to her sister.
Jae-yeol is euphoric as he drags Hae-soo to the airport, even as she keeps trying to dissuade him by mentioning the various impracticalities of their sudden departure, all of which he refutes easily. I love how he’s as excited as a kid on Christmas.
In trying to follow him, Hae-soo trips and breaks her arm, forcing her and Jae-yeol to sidetrack to the hospital for a cast. (This is likely the drama’s way of covering for the real-life accident Gong Hyo-jin was in.)
Even though Jae-yeol is willing to call off the trip because of her arm, Hae-soo has freakin’ committed to this thing now, and says that they’re absolutely going. And yes, maybe her resolve has something to do with the tickets being non-refundable, but that’s beside the point.
Jae-yeol is amused not only by Hae-soo’s pragmatic approach to how they’ll split the costs of their trip equally, but by how her face lights up into a smile as she admits that she’s excited for the trip. She slips her arm into his with a grin, leaving Jae-yeol to wonder, “Do you know how strange you are?” Hah.
It’s funny how Hae-soo is much less bothered by her arm than Jae-yeol is, but knows to play the victim card when he tries to ignore her so he can get some writing done on the flight. His face just grows more irked by the second as she tells him stories about her life and how she’s always dreamed of traveling, but all she has to do is wiggle her cast arm pitifully for him to close his laptop and admit she’s won.
As Doctor Lee tells Sunbae Jo about her sister’s marriage situation, he wonders if she’s only considering her sister’s perspective as a method of countertransference (when a psychotherapist projects their own emotions onto a patient).
She flatly denies these claims, though he urges her to consider that while her brother-in-law’s actions may be over the line, being pegged with a delusional jealousy disorder by his wife (her sister) is also over the line. She grudgingly agrees to consider it, only to light up when Sunbae Jo asks her out to eat.
“Just us two?” she broaches carefully. But when PD Choi comes in, having also been invited, Doctor Lee storms out. She rails on Sunbae Jo when he follows after her about why they can’t ever just go out alone—is he afraid she’s going to eat him alive? Does he hate her that much?
Sunbae Jo barks back that that’s not the case, and confesses that he feels the same way she does. There are days where he misses and needs her, but then there’s reality. Does she expect him to divorce his wife and children for a former marriage that didn’t work out? “Even if we have lingering feelings for each other, it’s too late.”
Soo-kwang finds out about Jae-yeol and Hae-soo’s sudden overseas trip when he calls to ask why Jae-yeol told him to light Hae-soo’s candle for her that night. He flips out when Jae-yeol confirms that it’s just the two of them in Okinawa, but what can he do?
Still, he calls Jae-yeol back for some advice on So-nyeo—should he give up on her or wait for her if she has someone else? Jae-yeol’s response is simple: Give up. Soo-kwang doesn’t, much to So-nyeo’s delight. She has no problem dating two men at once if Soo-kwang is interested.
After making it crystal clear that she’s leaving unless they’ll be sleeping in two separate rooms, Hae-soo follows Jae-yeol to their multi-room, fancy suite and immediately calls the front desk for two separate (and cheaper) rooms.
She explains that she can’t abide by the cost of what this room must be, and again brings up his past with other women as she asks if he would spend this lavishly when it came to them. He just answers that he gets a discount, but hangs his head when she demands to know how much—it’s still way over what she’d deem acceptable.
So they move into a slightly smaller suite, which Jae-yeol claims is cheap. Hae-soo doesn’t believe him and calls the front desk to ask how much the room is, unsurprised to find that it’s double the price he told her. Jae-yeol stomps away, caught.
Cut to: Jae-yeol and Hae-soo in a much smaller room with two simple twin beds. Even this isn’t to Hae-soo’s liking, since she wants two separate rooms, and nothing Jae-yeol says will convince her otherwise.
Under Hae-soo’s order, they’re forced to leave their snazzy resort to go into the rain so that Jae-yeol can ask the locals about where they can find cheap rooms. Hae-soo doesn’t seem to think this is any trouble for him, and even pats herself on the back for being such a good girlfriend to be saving her boyfriend money. Jae-yeol just nods silently, which Hae-soo takes as a positive sign. “You’re exactly my type,” she repeats.
They finally end up outside a rundown bed and breakfast that’s exactly the budget Hae-soo wanted and that has exactly two rooms just like she wanted. But at least Hae-soo is able to detect the sarcasm in his words, prompting her to ask if he’s annoyed with her.
Unsurprisingly, he is. He wanted them to stay at a nice place for their first vacation together, even if it would’ve cost a bit more… but Hae-soo interjects to say that it wouldn’t just be his money, since they agreed to go halfsies. And before he can try to defend himself, she again interjects to say that she loathes women who depend on men financially.
When Jae-yeol says he doesn’t like those types of women either, Hae-soo all but puffs up in pride: “Then you should like me! Why are you annoyed?” Jae-yeol: “Because you aren’t thinking about anything else but money. Why did you even come on this trip? Was it to go on a vacation or count pennies? From the beginning of this trip, other than money, did you even once think about my opinions, my feelings, or that this is our first trip as a couple?”
He thinks Hae-soo means to go back to Korea with the way she says “Let’s go,” but she petulantly shoots back that they’ll find a different hotel. He, in turn, suppresses a surprised smile.
Both Doctor Lee and Sunbae Jo complain about each other to different people, though Sunbae Jo directs his ire at PD Choi by telling him to give up when it comes to Hae-soo, since she’s already moved on.
Remember Sang-sook, the girl from the window? Tae-yong reads a note she wrote to Jae-yeol about how she hasn’t been able to stop thinking about him ever since she saw a man who looked like him throwing pebbles at her window.
Apparently she was his first love, and is now returning love letters he once wrote to her in order to help him with his writing. But then Tae-yong gets a concerning call from the police, looking for Jae-yeol.
Jae-yeol gets some essentials from the convenience store since they packed nothing, stopping to stare only briefly at a shelf of condoms. But he returns to the quaint place he and Hae-soo finally settled on armed with only a new bandaid for her forehead. For now.
He jokes that he could’ve helped her bathe with her cast (coming from five weeks of wearing one, it is no picnic), only for her to reply that she wouldn’t allow it even if she’d broken both her legs.
She’s a bit more cuddly after they start drinking, but notices Jae-yeol’s finger twitching/stiffening problem. He brushes it off as just his nervousness in being with her, but goes wide-eyed when she suggests he take a shower so they can go to sleep. In their separate rooms.
Jae-yeol asks if they’re really going to sleep apart, causing Hae-soo to pat his thigh reassuringly as she asks if it’s not enough that they get to just be together like this. But then she decides to just ask him honestly: Why do men make such a fuss about sleeping with women?
He tells her that it’s because of instinct and love, to which she asks if that means men confuse sex with love. He asks her if she knows of a better way to prove the love between a man and a woman other than sleeping together, and she doesn’t have the answer. She tells him to just go to bed instead.
But since they’re being honest, Jae-yeol decides to tell her the truth: If she were to peek inside his head, she’d see that most of his thoughts are about sleeping with her. She’s surprised that he’d be that honest, only he doesn’t see it as a bad thing when it’s only human.
However, he adds that while she doesn’t have to understand his state of mind, she should at least recognize that him having those thoughts is natural and harmless. It’s completely different if he were to act upon them and force her against her will, so the least she can do is not tease him for having completely normal thoughts.
Hae-soo asks what he would do if she didn’t want to sleep with him, then. He says it’s simple: He’d just go sleep in his room. Even if he would be disappointed, what else could he do if she refused?
“Then just go to sleep. Because I refuse,” she answers. By way of apology, she plants a light kiss on his mouth, and while Jae-yeol tries to keep his cool, he can’t help but get a little into it. He’s resigned but accepting when she pulls away to give him a chaste goodnight hug. I hope he likes his showers cold.
They spend the next day sightseeing and taking pictures of each other at all the best scenic spots, including the cliff where she’d wanted to take her dad. (Darn you, Okinawa PPL!) It’s cute how Hae-soo notices that he wants to play in the water, and how he tries to act like he’s so above it out of deference to her hatred of water when he really, really wants to.
While he runs off with a silly grin on his face to go water skiing after gaining Hae-soo’s permission, Sunbae Jo attempts to get to the root of Jae-bum’s rage issues during their prison therapy session. Jae-bum just says it’s because he really, really hates his mom.
However, he challenges Sunbae Jo on his preconceived notions regarding prisoners when he asks whether every man who’s stolen or used violence end up committing murder. “Not always,” Sunbae Jo admits. “Then there’s a possibility I didn’t,” Jae-bum returns.
His solution to this problem? He wants Sunbae Jo to either administer truth serum to him in order to prove his story, or never return.
Soo-kwang is sweating after laboring to clean So-nyeo’s house of all the junk her father compulsively hoards (because of course), and gives her an outfit even though he knows she’ll use it to go clubbing with her boyfriend. She makes sure to stress that she’s considered a legal adult now, too.
But Soo-kwang isn’t there for thanks, since he tells her that the reason he came was to clean out his lingering feelings for her the same way he cleaned her house. Still, he can’t help but ask her ridiculous-looking boyfriend if he’s happy because he gets a young girl to take him clubbing with money she earned.
Her boyfriend balks at Soo-kwang’s audacity, then looks to So-nyeo as he asks if this is the guy with Tourette’s she’d talked about. OUCH. Ouuuuch. Poor Soo-kwang holds in his embarrassment and anger in well as he turns around only to thank So-nyeo for helping him get rid of any remaining feelings he had for her.
After Hae-soo tears into him for worrying her by being so reckless (and admits how much she likes him in the process), they share their thoughts about their chosen professions. He explains how he’d have no reason to live if he couldn’t write, while she explains that being a doctor is also her reason for living, and a way for her to understand others, her mom, and most of all, herself.
But when she asks why he writes such cruelty-filled novels, he replies that he’s just writing about the human condition, where god gives people terrible situations they can’t handle. He then mentions how he likes having these serious conversations with Hae-soo, only for her to fall back on that same refrain: “Why? Can you not talk about things like this with other women?” Lordy, Hae-soo. You have more of a one-track mind than he does.
Coincidentally (or not), Jae-yeol hasn’t had much luck trying to write on this trip, and answers a phone that Hae-soo doesn’t hear ringing—because it’s Kang-woo, and it’s not real. Kang-woo is just calling to check on him though, and does his best to hide the symptoms of his ongoing vague illness while claiming that his finger-stiffening issue is just due to him always writing.
While Jae-yeol enjoys a fun date with Hae-soo, Kang-woo is left all alone as he struggles to fight back tears. Jae-yeol believes Kang-woo’s lie and tells Hae-soo he was cleared by the doctors, which she considers a relief, since Kang-woo’s symptoms initially made her think of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Eek. That can’t be good for Jae-yeol.
At least we get a little more information on Kang-woo, and specifically how Jae-yeol “met” him for the first time after Jae-bum stabbed him with a fork. Hae-soo smiles when he explains that he’s so protective of Kang-woo because he reminds him of himself as a young boy, and adds, “I like you.” Jae-yeol: “I like you too.”
Of course, she warns him against letting his hands drift anywhere below shoulder level, causing him to let out this long, sexually-frustrated sigh. She, on the other hand, is fine as she launches into a story about Soo-kwang’s awkward first kiss, since eating shaved ice reminds her—…
Jae-yeol swoops in, mid-sentence, to kiss her and drink the shaved ice from her mouth. He smacks his lips after, all satisfied, only for Hae-soo to get up and angrily stomp off. Not the reaction he expected.
Aww, Dad is so happy to see pictures of Hae-soo at the place she always wanted to take him, which apparently Mom acquired directly from Jae-yeol behind Hae-soo’s back. Sneaky.
When Hae-soo asks if Jae-yeol is upset about how she reacted to his kiss, he assures her that he isn’t—however, he’s going to start applying his golden rule about giving as good as he gets. If she touches him, he’ll touch back, because it’s unfair to him that she can put her hands wherever she wants while he can’t do the same.
Hae-soo tries to argue that he doesn’t have the same boundaries as she does, but it’s useless when Jae-yeol’s response is that they can just maintain an equal distance from each other. Unless she allows him to return what she gives, they might as well have a nun holding a ruler between them. (“Make room for Jesus!”)
Hae-soo finally gets a taste of the frustration she’s been giving Jae-yeol when he puts his rule into action. She’ll be getting no affection for free from now on, and I gotta admit, it is kind of funny watching how she reacts when the tables are turned.
She tries every conceivable card imaginable, from being injured to purposefully leaving food on her face for him to remove for her. He cites the boundaries she brought up as the reason he can’t—under her logic, taking that one grain of rice off her face might lead to him jumping her bones. So he doesn’t, which, hah.
Hae-soo is in shock when Jae-yeol prepares to leave her to go for a night swim, especially when all of her attempts to get him to stay are met with his mercenary-like terseness. “You’re mean,” she finally pouts.
Jae-yeol: “That’s right. I’m mean, and you’re cruel. After coming to a place like this, looking at a beautiful woman like you all night without being able to touch you is very cruel from my perspective.”
After an unsuccessful attempt to sleep, Hae-soo musters the courage to go to Jae-yeol, who’s swimming in the ocean like he said he’d be. She beckons him back to shore and smiles at him, leaving the moment ripe for him to swoop in for a kiss. She gladly returns it.
They move to a blanket on the sand, where Jae-yeol slowly undresses Hae-soo, who smiles despite being covered in beads of nervous sweat. Once they’re both free from their clothing and lying with him on top, Jae-yeol gently asks, “Are you okay?”
“I’m okay,” she reassures him. They kiss.
…And presumably do some other things. As you could probably see from my masterful handling of business-time wordsmithery up there, I have no future in the romance novel business, which I have to admit I’m pretty okay with. I’m genuinely sorry to anyone who hoped to relive Hae-soo and Jae-yeol’s pivotal lovemaking scene in print form, though. I’d say I erred on the side of caution so as not to make the scene seem cheesy, but c’mon—sex on a beach under the light of the full moon? I’m a recapper, not a magician.
I’m not sure if knowing that this was the endgame would’ve helped the overall pace of the episode, which felt excessively weighted when so much time was dedicated to Hae-soo and Jae-yeol’s cerebral foreplay (brought to you by Okinawa, the perfect resort getaway). Even if theirs isn’t the kind of spark to set our screens on fire, there’s value in watching two people who’ve simply chosen to be together actually get to be together, especially when the only obstacles they faced was themselves. And, possibly down the road, a severe neurodegenerative disease.
As far as who had to overcome the most mental hurdles, I’d say Hae-soo definitely wins, even if I’m not quite sold on this particular case of sexual healing (brought to you by Okinawa, the perfect resort getaway). It’s difficult because I definitely get her without getting her, since her behavior tends to be the most puzzling out of all the characters—and that includes a maniac who stabbed his brother with a fork. But it’s fair that we can’t always predict where she’s going when she’s more or less forcing herself into situations of spontaneity, and especially when she’s a psychiatrist who can’t even peg herself down properly.
So on the one hand, I could understand Jae-yeol’s frustration with Hae-soo in wondering why she went on the trip if she wanted to stay close, but not too close. He defended his thought processes clearly and explained himself fairly, but it doesn’t do much to sugarcoat the fact that he wanted to sleep with Hae-soo and—despite being on his best behavior as an honest gentleman—felt that her going on the trip with him was already some form of acquiescence on her part. Because otherwise, like he asked, what was she there for?
The thing is, that’s exactly the sort of thinking that made Hae-soo so hesitant to go on a vacation with him in the first place. She refused the offer initially because she knew what going would imply, or at least what avenues it would open, and was completely justified in those concerns because Jae-yeol proved her right. But if he was going to basically outwit her into sleeping with him, I wish we could’ve seen things from her perspective just a bit more, especially since she changed a method of thought she’s held for her entire adult life. Or maybe it was just as simple as Jae-yeol perceived it to be, and he taught Hae-soo a valuable(?) lesson on the pitfalls of moderation by withholding any of him until she wanted all of him. So… mazel tov?