It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: Episode 4
As it turns out, it doesn’t take much to make our caregiver crack. He’s been broken for years, barely managing to keep himself together in order to care for other broken souls. And now, with Go Moon-young in his life, she threatens to change his whole way of life. It could lead to the undoing he’s been afraid of or the rebuilding he doesn’t even know he needs.
EPISODE 4: “Zombie boy”
Watching patient Kwon Gi-do onstage, Kang-tae wonders if he should have fun with Moon-young after all. Mere seconds later, as Gi-do is carried down, Kang-tae walks off, and a confused Moon-young reminds him that he wanted to do something fun.
“When did I say that?” he asks. He looks away and explains that he was just talking to himself. Moving on, she wants him to compliment her for doing the right thing and kidnapping Gi-do. He starts to argue, but she points out that he didn’t stop Gi-do just now. His excuse? That Gi-do was dancing and singing so well.
One of Assemblyman Kwon’s men confronts the couple, warning them that there will be hell to pay, and Moon-young scoffs and says that she’s oh-so-scared. The man lunges forward to hit her, but Kang-tae grabs his hand and shoves him to the ground. Moon-young smiles, impressed, while the man scurries off.
Joo-ri shows up, informing Kang-tae that Gi-do wants to see him. While he joins him, Joo-ri heads over to the ambulance, where Assemblyman Kwon is being lifted into, to find a family member to go accompany Gi-do back to the hospital.
Gi-do urges Kang-tae not to be mad with Moon-young; he feels so much better now. But then Gi-do’s mother stalks over and slaps him. She yells at him for humiliating their family when he should’ve lived quietly and then leaves to rejoin her husband. Gi-do smiles sadly and notes that his mother must really love him.
Kang-tae asks how Gi-do knows, and he replies, “You can tell when you’re the one getting hit. For some reason, when someone hits you with affection, it strangely doesn’t make you upset.” This triggers a memory for Kang-tae, of his own mother hitting him for sending Sang-tae home alone, resulting in him getting beaten up.
We also see the family on a rainy day, with Mom making sure Sang-tae was covered by the umbrella and paying Kang-tae no attention. One night, on the anniversary of his father’s death, Kang-tae overheard Mom drinking and declaring that she’d only die after watching Sang-tae live a full life.
Mom heard Kang-tae get up and crawled over to hug him, which made him smile and hug back. Mom rocked him back and forth and told him to protect Sang-tae until the day he dies. She added, “That’s why I gave birth to you,” and his arms around her slowly dropped. Oh, that hurts…
In the present, Kang-tae tells Joo-ri that he’s going to ride back with Moon-young, because he thinks she shouldn’t be driving alone. So it’s Joo-ri who ends up driving back alone, looking like she’s holding back anger.
Moon-young teases Kang-tae that she saw the look on his face when watching Gi-do and, sensing his discomfort, promises to only kidnap him when he’s ready. He grumbles for her to forget it, so she offers this instead: “When it looks like you want to run away, I’ll run away with you right then and there.”
Kang-tae’s mind goes to the cherry blossom petals falling around them, until Moon-young rolls up the windows. She curses that she hates flowers that fall petal by petal, preferring magnolias and the way the petals fall all at once. He laughs at her comparison, but he does think the flower suits her.
She asks him what his favorite flower is, and he says that he doesn’t have one. He gazes out the window again, his voice getting softer as he continues that he hates spring in general, that being the time he and Sang-tae always leave.
Back in Seoul, Sang-in nearly loses it to news of Moon-young’s Zombie Kid book ceasing publication. He gets in his car and calls Kang-tae, who’s currently in a convenience store with Moon-young. Knowing Moon-young has eyes for Kang-tae, Sang-in warns him that when she wants something, it’s like hunger and she eats that thing up alive. Kang-tae glances back at Moon-young, and she pretends that she totally wasn’t admiring his broad shoulders, lol.
Kang-tae hangs up and joins Moon-young so they can eat cup ramyun before work. He brings up her book, asking if it got banned because of the incident with Sang-tae, and she says that it was because of the “grotesque” artwork. She thinks that people should care more about the story’s message and encourages him to read it. He thinks he’s too old to, but she thinks he’s pretty young at heart — even younger than her. Offended, he asks what makes him seem like a kid.
Moon-young reaches out and smooths Kang-tae’s bangs, saying, “Because I can see that you want to be loved.” He looks at her, speechless, and she smiles at him, seeing the young Kang-tae in his place.
Meanwhile, Gi-do is taken back to OK Hospital and placed in isolation. Lying in bed, he touches his face, where his mother slapped him, and quietly says, “Mom.” His trip into town got his face all over the news, and the hospital staff are worried they’ll get sued.
Someone suggests they put all the blame on Moon-young, since she kidnapped Gi-do. Plus, she hasn’t kept her promise of walking her father. Wanting a second opinion, Director Oh asks what Joo-ri thinks (having noticed the two girls know each other).
Joo-ri dismisses the idea of her and Moon-young being remotely close and agrees with firing her, thinking she doesn’t belong at the hospital. Still, Director Oh thinks they should wait before making any final decisions.
On the road again, Kang-tae asks Moon-young why she won’t take walks with her father. She point-blank says that she already got what she wanted (him) and that her father would be better off dead. She asks about his parents, revealing that she did her research the same way you’d check the expiration date on something you buy.
“Are people like things to you?” he asks. She confirms this, saying that children abandon parents when they get too old and that parents abandon children when they’re too dumb — isn’t that the case with Gi-do? After a moment, he sighs and orders her to stop the car. When she doesn’t, he grabs the steering wheel and forces her to pull over.
Kang-tae gets out of the car and starts walking away, and Moon-young follows, demanding to know why he’s suddenly angry. He turns back and says that for a while there he forgot she was different. He almost expected something out of her, but it’s gone now.
He walks off again, and she calls out, “I love you,” thinking that will lure him back. While it does make him momentarily stop, he keeps going, ignoring her as she repeats this over and over. She’s left confused, as they were just starting to get along.
By the time Moon-young gets home, Sang-in is there waiting for her, wanting her to return to Seoul to write. But she’d rather stay and have her fun; if he’s really concerned, he can move into the mansion with her. At that, he says a quick goodbye and heads back to his car, heh.
Later that night, Moon-young sits in front of her mirror brushing her hair. A hand materializes, her mother’s ghost, to brush her hair for her, just like when she was younger. Back then, her mother, like Kang-tae, said that she was different. “You’re my greatest creation,” she continued. “My other self. I love you, my daughter.”
The memory transitions to a different one — young Moon-young standing in front of a locked room, blood seeping under the door, with her mother lying on the other side. Ooh… *shivers*
Sang-in stops by Jae-soo’s pizza place for dinner, and he’s (quite literally) blown away when Joo-ri stops by. He puts on a suave front, asking if she wants to join him, only to shrink back when she insists on eating alone. The two get drunk throughout the night, unaware that they’re both stressing over Moon-young.
Elsewhere, Kang-tae picks up Sang-tae from school and then takes him to an art supplies store so he can prepare for the hospital’s mural. Sang-tae finds a dinosaur block set and, falling in love, declares that it’s pretty and that he wants it. Of course, this reminds Kang-tae of Moon-young saying the same thing.
The following day, Assemblyman Kwon barges into OK Hospital with his men, wanting Director Oh, Kang-tae, and Moon-young to beg for forgiveness after ruining his reputation. Joo-ri picks up the phone to call Moon-young, but Kang-tae stops her and says that he’ll handle it alone.
Kang-tae joins Director Oh in his office, and there, Assemblyman Kwon goes on a rant about wanting to send his useless son off to another mental facility. The word “useless” hits a chord with Kang-tae, and he says, almost to himself, “Do children have to be uselful to their parents?”
Assemblyman Kwon stands and faces Kang-tae, saying that people are brought into this world because parents need them. He shoves Kang-tae and urges him to ask his parents if he’s useless or not, and that pushes Kang-tae over the edge.
“Then you shouldn’t have had him!” Kang-tae shouts. The assemblyman slaps him across the face and goes on about him being a mere caregiver, while he just stands there stunned. He later escapes to the restroom to splash water on his face, and he stares at the sign over the sink that reads, “Smiling can really make you happy.”
Nurse Park comes into Director Oh’s office steaming mad, asking if the director is going to let the assemblyman get his way. Director Oh just waves her over and shows her what’s on his computer: a CCTV video of the assemblyman slapping Kang-tae, AKA blackmail. We even see Director Oh winking at the camera. HAHAHA.
Sang-tae arrives at the hospital, going around the garden and taking pictures. But when a butterfly lands on his hand, he panics and runs off screaming. He goes inside and, after calming down, starts planning out his mural.
Someone comes up to Sang-tae, asking what he’s doing, and he gasps to see that it’s Moon-young. (Yay! He finally met his idol!) They take some adorable selfies together and then sit down so he can draw her a caricature.
Kang-tae finds them, and Moon-young perks up, saying she came back to walk her father — that was the reason why he was angry, right? But Kang-tae isn’t in the mood right now. He tells Sang-tae to wait in the lobby, raising his voice when Sang-tae doesn’t listen.
Moon-young then notices the red mark on Kang-tae’s face and demands to know what bastard hit him. Kang-tae just drags her away, over to somewhere private, listening to her ramble on. He asks her why she’s getting mad, what she’s even feeling.
“You don’t know what kind of emotion is getting you so worked up,” he says, stepping closer. And, oof, every ounce of snark seems to leave her. “Even you don’t know. You’re all empty inside, just loud like an empty can. So you’d better not act like you know and understand everything about me, when you know nothing.”
He puts the final nail in the coffin, telling her that she’ll never understand until the day she dies. With that, he walks past, missing the look of genuine hurt on her face, to look for his hyung. But Sang-tae is gone, now hiding under a table in the kitchen and worrying that Kang-tae’s yelling means that he hates him.
Joo-ri’s mom, who’s a cook at the hospital, tries to lure Sang-tae out, but it’s no use. She tells Kang-tae to go on home and that she’ll bring Sang-tae later.
Moon-young is still outside, staring at a butterfly with (concerning) intensity, when Joo-ri shows up with her father in a wheelchair. Moon-young looks down at her father, asking if his memories are really gone. She leans over and whispers in his ear, “Did you really forget what kind of person I am… Dad?”
Her father finally looks at her and asks why she’s still alive. In a split second, he jumps out of his wheelchair and attempts to choke her. Joo-ri and other staff scramble over and pull him off of her, but she stays where she is, lying on the ground. She starts laughing with the most pained expression, a tear escaping her eye.
We see a figure at the hospital window, watching Moon-young as she leaves. A voice — her mother’s voice? — narrates that it serves her right for thinking she could come here.
Kang-tae is on his bus home, and he passes Moon-young walking down the street instead of taking her car. Though he seems concerned for her, he stays on the bus. He tries to busy himself at home, and yet Moon-young still invades his thoughts.
All the while, Moon-young is still walking home, until she has to rest and take off her shoes. She thinks about what Kang-tae said earlier and notes, “You also won’t understand me until you die.”
While organizing Sang-tae’s books, Kang-tae finds his copy of Zombie Kid. He decides to sit down and read it, just as Moon-young suggested.
“A baby boy was born in a small village… While raising the boy, his mother naturally came to the realization that he had no feelings whatsoever. All he had was the desire to eat, like a zombie. So his mother locked him up in the basement so that the villagers wouldn’t see him. And every night, she stole livestock from her neighbors to feed him… A number of years passed like that. Then one day, an epidemic broke out. It left the remaining animals dead, and it also killed many people. Those who survived left the village. But the mother couldn’t leave her son all alone. To appease her son crying of hunger, she cut off one leg of hers and gave it to him… She gave him all her limbs. When she was left with nothing but her torso, she embraced her son for the last time to let him devour what was left of her.”
Kang-tae remembers being young, watching his mother snuggle with Sang-tae in bed. He put his arm around her and clutched her shirt, savoring the closeness. The memory ends with more lines from Zombie Kid: “With both his arms, the boy tightly held his mother’s torso and spoke for the first time in his life. ‘Mom is so warm.’”
Kang-tae’s voice shakes as he reads aloud, causing him to break down crying. Even still, he reads on, reaching the final lines, “What did the boy really want? To satiate his hunger? Or to feel his mother’s warmth?”
Jae-soo comes home, sent by Joo-ri, and finds Kang-tae sitting in the dark. Jae-soo tells him what he heard from the hospital, saying that Moon-young was attacked by her father, and Kang-tae seems to wake up from his trance. Thinking back to Moon-young walking on the street, he rushes out the door and takes Jae-soo’s bike.
It’s pouring rain out, and Moon-young continues her long walk, now barefoot. A motorcycle comes speeding past and then screeches to a halt, making her slow to a stop as well.
Kang-tae hops off the motorcycle, staring at her from across the way. And Moon-young’s surprised expression is replaced by a soft smile.
He closes the distance between them, peels off his jacket, and wraps it around her. With the drop of her heels, she falls into him, and though he hesitates, he eventually grabs hold of her.
No, nope, nuh-uh. I am not saying that I’m in love with this drama. It is too early, dammit! I will not cave when we are only two weeks in! Arghhhhhhhhhh, but it’s so good! *conflicted with conflicted feelings*
I could go on and on about everything that’s good about this drama, and I have before, but this episode I’ve gotta commend the impeccable acting. These roles were tailor-made for this cast, and I can’t imagine anyone else playing them. (Oh Jung-se? Killing it. Kim Chang-wan? Killing it. The child actors? Just, wow.) Seo Ye-ji expressed a lifetime of her character’s pain in one scene, with one tear. And Kim Soo-hyun is one of those actors who cries with meaning, who doesn’t just show it but makes you feel it, and boy, did I feel for Kang-tae. He’s been trying so hard to be the responsible guardian figure, and now we’re seeing that behind the put-together facade, he’s still a little kid. It’s heartbreaking watching those flashbacks, watching him feel as if he was losing his mother and then actually losing her to a gruesome murder. He always had and always will have his brother’s love, but it’s different with his mom. His need for his mom seems like something he’s held close to him, something he felt he could never convey to anyone else. And reading Moon-young’s words, feeling their meaning to his core, has to be eye-opening.
I’d been waiting for Kang-tae to go off on Moon-young, because honestly, she’s been asking for it. But that was tough, y’all. He’d been holding in so much frustration with her and it came out harsher than I expected. We know that she wanted him to lose control, but she probably didn’t want him to direct it towards her. Of all people, she doesn’t want rejection from him. And I don’t think she’s looking for understanding. She’s known from the beginning, since that day she tore the butterfly, that Kang-tae doesn’t understand her. She just wants him to see her and to accept her, the same way Gi-do wanted his family to accept him. Because at the end of the day, Moon-young is a person just like everyone else; the human experience doesn’t skip those who happen to be wired differently. She can hurt in her own way, and as Kang-tae seems to be learning, she can hurt in the same way he’s been hurting for all these years. Once he sees Moon-young for who she is, and not for her disorder, a real relationship — a healthy relationship — with her could be possible. But it’s a two-way street, so they both have to be open to each other in order for this to work.
Another thing I love about the show — OK Hospital and the community. I love that the patients seem like good friends, the staff like a second family. In certain moments, it doesn’t even feel like a hospital. Just a place with a beautiful view and a beautiful set of characters. Speaking of which, Joo-ri is becoming more and more interesting to me. She started off as this kind, passive character, but she’s got a little spunk in her. Maybe even a little darkness? Who knows? We still don’t know what happened in her past with Moon-young (other than perhaps being stuck in a love triangle then too). On paper, she’s the typical second lead, pining over the male lead, but she doesn’t stay within the lines of that cliche. Again, like an absolute dream, the drama just takes these stereotypes and makes them real and relatable. It gives me hope that our characters, Moon-young especially, will get the arcs that they deserve.
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