It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: Episode 5
It’s not easy for people to open up, but even more so for our fairy tale writer. She was imprisoned for so long, in her own home and in her own mind, that she now resists anyone who tries to get her out. But our caregiver is starting to get to her, affecting her more than she thought he ever could. All I can say is, Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your walls.
EPISODE 5: “Rapunzel and the cursed castle”
It’s pouring rain, and Kang-tae finds Moon-young walking along the road completely drenched and barefoot. He takes off his jacket and wraps it around her (and, gah, so swoony). She falls into him, noting that he’s warm and that she’s starving. He hesitantly hugs her back, and she smiles to herself.
Kang-tae takes Moon-young to a nearby motel, intending on dropping her off, but the front desk clerk (cameo by Jung Sang-hoon) assumes that they’re here together. The clerk even asks if they want any add-ons, like, say, a vibrating bed.
Moon-young is more than happy to stay, but Kang-tae suggests she take a taxi home instead. But when he learns she didn’t bring her phone or wallet, and that she meant to walk all the way home, he starts lecturing her to think before she acts. “If something bad happened…” he trails off, and she and the clerk smirk.
Moon-young backs Kang-tae up against the wall and asks why he’s getting angry — does he like her? She genuinely wants to know, referring back to what he said about her being incapable of understanding him.
Flustered, Kang-tae turns back to the clerk to pay for the room. Only, he forgot his wallet, having left home on impulse. “It’s okay,” Moon-young says, patting his shoulder. “It’s natural for men to act instinctively.”
This leads the couple back to Kang-tae’s apartment. Sang-tae is downstairs, with Joo-ri’s mom, and Moon-young tells Kang-tae not to call him over. But she doesn’t have to worry about that; he doesn’t want her around his brother. She teases that she should go fetch him then, and he grabs her back.
He asks her how his expression reads, and ignoring her answers (“handsome,” “rude”), he shows her Sang-tae’s card set of emotions. He tells her to at least make an effort and memorize the pictures and their meanings. She argues that she’s not autistic, and he throws back that she’s not a zombie kid either.
He quotes her book, asking if the zombie kid wanted to satiate his hunger or feel someone’s warmth. He uses her hand to guide his hand to her cheek and continues, “This is what he truly wanted. He didn’t just want to be fed.”
Her playfulness gone, she shoves his hand away and says that he’s reading too much into the story. The kid was a zombie, with no desires other than filling himself up. She goes into the bathroom to change into dry clothes, and once out of sight, she touches her cheek. “Who’s pitying whom?” she wonders.
Kang-tae heads downstairs and finds Sang-tae banging his head on the wall. Kang-tae apologizes for yelling earlier, and seeing that that won’t work, he reveals that he got slapped today. So hard that his face turned lumpy.
Sang-tae finally looks at him and, pointing out that he has no lumps, calls him a liar. Sang-tae starts hitting him and giving him a big brother scolding, which is how Kang-tae knows they’re good again.
Kang-tae is then greeted by Joo-ri’s mom, who urges him to sit down and eat. He asks for some food to go instead and sneaks away to eat with Moon-young. As they do, Moon-young compliments the food, and he asks what she eats at home. “I don’t eat anything,” she says, “I don’t have a mom who’d give me her limbs.”
Meanwhile, at OK Hospital, caregiver Cha-yong is nodding off in the hall, when the lights flicker. A dark figure glides past him, humming creepily, and he startles awake, turning his flashlight on to — Joo-ri. He tells Joo-ri what he heard, and she says it must be the “ghost” that patient Sun-hae is always talking about.
Joo-ri joins Nurse Park at the front desk and, thinking about Go Dae-hwan, asks why he might’ve attacked Moon-young. Nurse Park simply says that post-surgery patients can have aggressive outbursts, but Joo-ri doesn’t look so sure. What if he was trying to protect himself, to live?
Nurse Park turns to Joo-ri and brings up the fact that she and Moon-young seem to have a bad history. Joo-ri has a flashback, and we see the girls when they were younger, when Joo-ri asked Moon-young if she wanted to be friends, and then some time later, when Joo-ri screamed at Moon-young to stay away.
Nurse Park suggests Joo-ri ask herself if she’s letting countertransference (a therapist’s emotional entanglement with a client) get in the way. Though Joo-ri smiles, something tells me Nurse Park’s words aren’t really sinking in.
Back at Kang-tae’s apartment, Moon-young makes herself comfortable and insists on spending the night. Kang-tae tries to drag her out, but he freaks when he hears Jae-soo approaching. Kang-tae meets Jae-soo outside and when Jae-soo moves for the door, Kang-tae karate kicks it shut. Pwahaha, I can’t.
Once Kang-tae gets Jae-soo out of there, he finds that the door is now locked. Moon-young opens the window and jokes that they’re like Romeo and Juliet, but the frustrated Kang-tae orders her to stop fooling around and let him in. They argue about her spending the night, until she threatens to call for Sang-tae.
With that, Kang-tae calls Jae-soo and asks him to take care of Sang-tae for tonight, lying that his pipes burst. Only then does Moon-young let him back inside. They set up their separate beds, and she notes that he’s a pretty good actor.
His back to her, he quietly reveals that his brother is always reading every little detail of his face to figure out what he’s feeling. And when he’s feeling awful, he can make Sang-tae believe he’s happy by forcing a smile.
“All I care about is what Hyung thinks,” he says. “It’s fine even if it’s fake.” She mentions the childhood photograph on his wall and asks if he put on a fake smile even back then. He doesn’t remember, so she then asks about the girl he used to like — does he miss her?
To that, Kang-tae says that he’d rather forget that girl. Not because she was a bitch, like Moon-young thinks, but because he was a jerk for running away from her. He’s ashamed of that fact that he’s been running away since. Moon-young reminds him that he ran to her instead of away tonight.
Kang-tae returns to his tough attitude, saying he’s regretting that now, and she laughs. She closes her eyes and says that he looked cool, and he turns to look at her. Later, as he tries to sleep, she goes for skinship, playing footsie and rolling over to hug him. Eventually, he grows tired of this and drags her aside.
At OK Hospital, in Go Dae-hwan’s room, the window mysteriously frosts up just as the dark figure reappears. The figure starts to choke Dae-hwan, and he groans in pain, but when Dae-hwan’s roommates wake up, the figure is gone. What the what now?
The next morning, Joo-ri is just returning home after a long shift. She picks up Kang-tae’s delivered milk and heads upstairs, wanting an excuse to see him. But when she gets up there, she’s shocked to see Moon-young standing on the roof… wearing Kang-tae’s clothes. Moon-young is surprised too and asks what she’s doing here, and Joo-ri states that her mom owns the building. In fact, she was the one who brought Kang-tae back into town.
Moon-young smiles, correctly guessing that Joo-ri’s harboring a crush. That’s too bad, since Moon-young’s already confessed her love. Besides, she says, Kang-tae has always belonged to her. Joo-ri says that this is classic Moon-young, wanting something when she’s just going to toss it out after getting tired of it. And Moon-young says that this is classic Joo-ri, acting nice when she actually badmouthes people — that’s why she never had friends in school.
Fuming, Joo-ri slaps Moon-young and initiates a screaming hair-pulling match. But then they hear Kang-tae yelling, “Go Moon-young!” and they freeze. Kang-tae grabs Moon-young’s wrist and orders her to let go of Joo-ri.
That’s when Jae-soo, Sang-tae, and Joo-ri’s mom appear as well, having heard the screaming, and start at the sight of Kang-tae and the two women. Kang-tae pulls Moon-young away, down the steps, and tells her to go home. But she holds him back and demands that he come with her, move out of this place.
He frees himself from her hold and says, “Mind your own business. I decide where I live. And you don’t own me.” (Oooh, he overheard their conversation.) He shoves some taxi money into her hands — compensation for the “love” she showed out of sympathy. When he walks off, she curses and throws the money to the ground.
Kang-tae rejoins Sang-tae in their apartment, and he has to beg for forgiveness for lying yet again. But Sang-tae is also offended that Kang-tae lent Moon-young Kang-tae’s clothes instead of his. Kang-tae promises to give Moon-young Sang-tae’s clothes next time, hee.
Downstairs, Joo-ri is crying in bed, and her mom asks if Moon-young was that “friend” from years ago. Cue Joo-ri’s typical response, “She’s not my friend.” Mom then asks if Joo-ri is crying because she got her hair pulled, and Joo-ri whines that it’s because Kang-tae called out Moon-young’s name.
Joo-ri can’t believe Kang-tae and Moon-young seem so close while Kang-tae still treats her like an acquaintance. Mom assures her that she’ll get her chance, and Joo-ri sniffles, asking how she knew she liked him. “Everyone in this neighborhood knows,” Mom answers.
Sang-in is called back to Seoul with an emergency: the jerkface book critic that Moon-young pushed down the stairs is demanding compensation. Having this on top of the publishing house’s other financial problems, Sang-tae faints from stress.
That night, Kang-tae and Jae-soo are in the pizza place drinking (a lot of) beer. After the ordeal this morning, Jae-soo is worried for his friend. After all, Moon-young did hurt him with a knife the first time they met; he should use the scar on his palm as a reminder.
Kang-tae agrees that involving himself with Moon-young is a bad idea, but he’s been getting forgetful lately. “Of everything,” he says. “The scars, the butterflies, even Hyung.” So he’d appreciate it if Jae-soo helped him come to his senses every once and awhile, like he is now.
In her mansion, Moon-young lies in bed, staring at Kang-tae’s shirt drying by the window. She’s still thinking about the taxi money, enraged that Kang-tae thinks a mere 30,000 won is going to get rid of her. She tears the shirt down and stomps on it, calling him a jerk.
But then she remembers the way he touched her cheek, the way he looked at her, and it calms her down. She sighs and wonders, “Why is he so fickle? It confuses me.” Uh, girl, I’m pretty sure it’s the same for him.
Kang-tae comes home drunk, and he cuddles up to Sang-tae, asking who he likes more, Moon-young or him. But Sang-tae, who never likes answering this question, pretends to be asleep. Kang-tae murmurs, “I like you more,” before passing out, making Sang-tae open his eyes.
The next day, Sang-in and Seung-jae go to Moon-young’s mansion, and they inform her that they’ve gone broke paying compensation and other overdue fees. Sang-in is desperate for Moon-young to write for him, reminding her she even invited him to move in. Moon-young smirks and says that she’s having someone else move in.
At OK Hospital, after a therapy dance session, a patient named Eun-ja pulls Kang-tae aside. She’s had her eye on him for a while, and she’s noticed that “that nurse” likes him, but she thinks he’d be perfect for her daughter. Not knowing what to say, Kang-tae awkwardly leaves.
Director Oh is in his office wiping paint from his face (after disturbing Sang-tae’s masterpiece in progress), when Moon-young walks in. He called her in to apologize for the incident with her father, and she asks how he’ll make it up to her. To that, he reveals his throat and suggests she choke him too. Pfft, this guy.
Joo-ri is in the female ward, asking patient Sun-hae about the humming ghost she’s been hearing. Sun-hae’s roommate Ok-ran sighs that Sun-hae’s ghost is a hallucination, meaning she’s crazy. Sun-hae starts to argue, and Joo-ri holds her back, reassuring her that she isn’t crazy.
Ok-ran slaps Joo-ri, surprising her and Sun-hae, and asks, “Are you saying I’m the crazy one?” Joo-ri doesn’t answer, trying her best to keep her composure. Joo-ri later ventures out to the roof and sees that Kang-tae is already there, looking out at the view.
Being together on the roof, Joo-ri is reminded of a time when they worked at a different hospital. A patient had slapped her and Kang-tae urged her to slap him to feel better. She smiles, saying the incident probably made them closer. But then he asks if she wants to slap him now, and her face falls.
Kang-tae elaborates that she may be upset with what he says next. He doesn’t want her wasting her feelings on him, because he doesn’t deserve any of that. Still, she says, she can’t help how she feels.
Joo-ri’s voice wavering, she asks Kang-tae not to run away if he feels uncomfortable around her. She sheds a tear, saying she’d feel pathetic and sad if he did, and he silently nods. Behind them, we see Moon-young put out her cigarette before walking away.
Moon-young makes her way to the stairway, where Sang-tae is painting the wall. Sang-tae, as always, is starstruck to see her, and when she asks if he wants to have fun with her, he immediately says yes.
By the time Kang-tae starts looking for Sang-tae and he learns that Moon-young has taken him, they’re already on the road. They get to the mansion and Moon-young is pleased to see that Sang-tae is amazed by it all. She hands him a piece of paper that reads “Illustration contract” and tells him to sign it if he wants to live here.
At the hospital, Kang-tae is staring at his scarred palm, remembering his first encounter with Moon-young in vivid detail. Coming to a decision, he calls her and demands to know where they are. She says that they’re in the cursed castle, and he replies that he knows exactly where that is, that he’s been there.
“When you saved me and I ran away from you,” he says. Her amused smile fades as she says, “You knew?” He just tells her that he’s on his way, hanging up and walking out of the hospital with purpose.
Moon-young hangs up as well, turning to Sang-tae, who’s nearly passed out on her table from drinking. She asks if he wants to hear a fairy tale and he slurs a yes.
“A long time ago, deep inside the forest, there lived a little girl in a cursed castle. The girl’s mother always told her that she’s too special to live among everyone else outside the castle… However, the girl felt like she was imprisoned. So she prayed to the moon every day: ‘Please send me a handsome prince who can save me from here. Will he come today? Will he come tomorrow?’ The girl waited for him every day.”
In flashback, we see young Moon-young waiting out on her balcony and then seeing Kang-tae outside her gate, holding a bouquet of flowers. She turned and ran down the stairs, beaming, only to run into her mother.
We don’t see their exchange, but we do see when Moon-young met Kang-tae outside. He started to apologize for running away, but she just threw his flowers on the ground and stomped on them.
We transition from young Kang-tae walking away from the gate to present-day Kang-tae walking toward it. He pushes it open and walks through, looking up to see Moon-young standing on the balcony, just like that day.
Interestinggggg. Kang-tae is a smart and observant guy, so it doesn’t surprise me that he’s figured out who Moon-young really is. What I’m curious about is how long he’s known and why he hasn’t said anything until now. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when he might’ve had the epiphany, and I like that. I like that it wasn’t too obvious. Did he find out when he first brought up her eyes? Did he find out when she followed him to Seongjin City? For all we know, he could’ve recognized her the day he met her. It seems like a small detail, but seeing the look on Moon-young’s face, it means a lot to her. I’m guessing she kept her own knowledge a secret because it felt like a weapon she could pull out at any time, a reason to make him fall for her. But if he’s known she was his crush this whole time, and he’s still been acting cold… I can only imagine her disappointment.
This twist made me hurt for Moon-young, but, I’ve gotta say, the episode as a whole made me angry with her. The drama’s done a good job of making a character that’s hard to relate to actually relatable, but most of the time, I still feel more for Kang-tae and his struggles. I feel for him when Moon-young just won’t leave him alone. I want him to let loose sometimes, for sure, but her using Sang-tae to get to him is crossing a line. He made that clear and she chose to ignore him, for the sake of getting what she wanted. In that way, Joo-ri’s depiction of her rings true — she’s the type of person to do whatever it takes to get what she wants, even if she has to destroy it. And maybe in another drama world, Joo-ri would be the innocent heroine and Moon-young would be the evil villain. But every good villain has a good story, and Moon-young definitely has that. She’s more than what Joo-ri is saying, and that’s why I feel comfortable both loving and hating her.
Now on to the twist that did surprise me: Go Dae-hwan seeing the ghost. Naturally, when Moon-young arrived at the mansion and saw her mother, I assumed it was a dream. But her father seeing her mother — if that really was her mother — changes everything. So, what’s really going on? Are Moon-young and her father simply experiencing the same trauma? Or is there something paranormal after all? I don’t want to say that Sun-hae’s “ghost” is Moon-young’s mother just yet, but it is a possibility. My gut is telling me that the mother character is just such a powerful force, like Moon-young once said, that she somehow lives on. It’s so effective, too, denying us a good look at the mother’s face. She’s the scary thing in the dark, as if she’s the monster, not Moon-young.
We’ve seen (or heard, really) that the mother is always in Moon-young’s head, a constant reminder the same way the scar is a reminder for Kang-tae. But lately, I’ve been noticing how much that affects her in her daily life. For example, when Kang-tae touched her cheek, she was totally melting at his warmth. For a second, I thought he’d hit a sensitive spot in her wall and that it would come tumbling down. But then something shifted in her. And I swear, even though it wasn’t in the actual scene, I could hear her mother’s voice. It’s like anytime Moon-young is close to feeling vulnerable or warm, her mother pulls her back into that dark place. I don’t think Moon-young is some princess that needs saving (girl’s got enough strength), but she may need someone to help pull her out of the dark place and into the light.
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