It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: Episode 14
It’s dark and dreary in the cursed castle, as the prince and princess are thrown into a total nightmare. They know that being together means being in danger, that their past and present are finally catching up to hurt them. But this prince has no intentions of leaving his princess behind. Not this time.
EPISODE 14: “The hand, the monkfish”
The unique butterfly painted over Sang-tae’s mural sends Moon-young running out of the hospital. Kang-tae catches up to her and, his voice desperate, says that it’s not what she thinks. But she knows better — it’s the same mutant design as her mother’s one-of-a-kind brooch.
Kang-tae doesn’t want to let her go, but she insists that she’s not running away; she just needs time to think. As she leaves, he watches helplessly and then calls Sang-in to ask that he check in on her later.
For now, Kang-tae heads back inside to talk to Sang-tae, who’s hiding under the kitchen table and crying that the mom/baby butterfly found him. Kang-tae crouches down and gently tells him that it’s not the same butterfly, that the mutant butterfly is actually quite common.
Still, Sang-tae says, it was rude for someone to paint over his mural. “Right,” Kang-tae says. “I’ll catch that person and teach them a lesson.” With that, Kang-tae coaxes him out, reminding him that he promised to be brave. Sang-tae says it’s still hard for him, but he’s sure he can overcome his fear with Kang-tae’s help.
After leaving Sang-tae in Joo-ri’s mom’s hands, Kang-tae joins Director Oh in his office so they can check last night’s surveillance footage. They find the moment when the perpetrator was painting… and Nurse Park turns right to the camera and smiles.
Kang-tae’s mind starts racing, remembering his interactions with Nurse Park and putting the pieces together. Kang-tae can’t believe she was right in front of them, even getting close with his brother. Now that they know, Director Oh plans to get the police involved and gives Kang-tae time off from work to be with his family.
Meanwhile, at the mansion, Moon-young is frantically searching through her mother’s old vanity, but the butterfly brooch is gone.
The brooch is with Nurse Park (er, Hui-jae), who’s out somewhere, standing by the ocean. She looks up to the sky and says to herself that she sure had a good time, thinking back to the night before. While she was with Dae-hwan, he said that he had no regrets, making her frown.
“You killed the woman you loved,” she told him. “So you have no right to die in peace… honey.” He looked up at her in shock, realizing it was his wife, and she continued that the only reason she let him live all this time was because it was so much fun watching him suffer.
Hui-jae laughed in Dae-hwan’s face, saying it was quite thrilling to play this role with all the cameras and eyes watching. He weakly begged her not to hurt Moon-young, and to that, she stated that she’s been looking after their daughter. We see that Hui-jae had been a nurse at the hospital Kang-tae worked at previously, and that she’d taken the steak knife Moon-young tossed aside. She snuck that knife into the patient Mr. Kim’s room and encouraged him to take his own life. Whoa, what?
Hui-jae then told Dae-hwan that she worked so hard to raise Moon-young and that she didn’t like how Moon-young was behaving lately. “Do you know what you need to do to make children obey their parents?” she asked, leaning in. “They become extremely obedient when you take away what makes them the most happy.” With another wicked grin, Hui-jae walked away, leaving the panicked Dae-hwan crying out Moon-young’s name.
Just as Kang-tae asked, Sang-in comes rushing into the mansion to check on Moon-young. And seeing how she’s oddly cool and collected, even smiling at him, he can tell that something’s wrong. He steps out to let her sleep and then calls Kang-tae.
Before Kang-tae can come over, he tells Sang-tae to stay at the apartment for a while so he can make up with Moon-young. Sang-tae adorably scolds him for getting in a fight with Moon-young again and urges him to give her a proper apology.
Inside, Director Oh informs Joo-ri that they’ll be filing for Nurse Park’s resignation, though he doesn’t explain why. He trusts her with acting as head nurse for the time being, since she’s worked here the longest.
Once Kang-tae gets to the mansion, he fills Sang-in in on everything. In disbelief, Sang-in wonders why Kang-tae would want to be with Moon-young when they have such an ill-fated relationship. Kang-tae merely says, “Moon-young is just Go Moon-young to me. Not Do Hui-jae’s daughter.”
In turn, Sang-in fills Kang-tae in on what he knows about Hui-jae — that she dropped out of medical school and cut ties with her family before becoming a writer. Long after she disappeared, publishers were desperate to get the draft of her lost novel, which still hasn’t been found.
Kang-tae heads inside and, seeing that the basement door is open, goes downstairs and finds Moon-young. Turning to face him, she asks again if her mother really killed his mother. And to his sad silence, she bursts into tears and starts to walk past. He grabs her arm, telling her that he won’t leave her.
Kang-tae continues that she’s not her mother; she’s the girl he’s liked since he was a young boy. But she just looks at him, pain in her eyes, and calls him a hypocrite. With that, she escapes to her room and falls to the floor crying.
Back at OK, Director Oh admits to Joo-ri’s mom that he feels so sorry towards Moon-young and the brothers — he wanted to help them but ended up hurting them, because he trusted the wrong person. Joo-ri’s mom reminds him that even doctors make mistakes, pointing to his sign with the hospital’s motto, “It’s okay to not be okay.”
Later, at the apartment building, the gang is busy making rice balls to send over to the mansion. (They assume that with Sang-tae here, Kang-tae and Moon-young must be going through something.) Joo-ri takes Sang-in aside to say that she’s worried, and Sang-in interrupts that she needs to stop talking about Kang-tae around him.
To Sang-in’s surprise, Joo-ri meant that she was worried about Moon-young. Touched, Sang-in blurts out that he likes her, and Joo-ri answers that she likes Moon-young too (avoiding his sudden confession). When he leaves, she whips out her phone and sends Moon-young a message asking if she’s okay.
However, Moon-young doesn’t answer. She’s still sitting by her bedroom door, with Kang-tae sitting on the other side. Knowing she’s listening, he admits that he was devastated when he learned the truth too; he wondered why bad things kept happening to him.
“But none of that matters,” Kang-tae says. “When I see you smile, I forget everything else.” He continues that she did nothing wrong, that they all did nothing wrong, and the more he talks, the harder it gets for her to hold back her sobs. They stay like that, their backs to each other, for the rest of the night.
Still feeling down, Director Oh approaches Cha-yong after work and asks if he wants to have drinks. They’re revealed to be father and son, which… Huh. I never would’ve guessed, but that actually makes perfect sense.
At first, Cha-yong questions what’s up, since his dad only ever cares about his patients. But seeing his dad so beat, he smiles and agrees to go. Before they do, Director Oh stops him and gives him a sincere, “I’m sorry.”
The next day, Joo-ri is still worried about Moon-young, as well as Kang-tae since he’s taking time off. Everyone, including patients Jung-tae and Sun-hae are wondering where Kang-tae is. Sun-hae, who’s now back to her usual self, also asks Joo-ri that she let her know if her father calls.
At the mansion, Kang-tae knocks on Moon-young’s bedroom door and, surprisingly, she lets him in. He sits her down so he can explain what’s been going on at the hospital… revealing that Nurse Park was the one who painted the butterfly.
Moon-young has trouble processing this, saying there’s no way Nurse Park is her mother. Even if it has been many years, and even if her mom did get plastic surgery, she would’ve recognized her.
Even so, the idea starts to sink in. She grows panicked and tells Kang-tae that her mom’s brooch is missing, meaning her mom has been in the house. Meaning her mom has been watching them this whole time.
Jumping up, Moon-young screams for Kang-tae to run away, to protect himself and his brother. She’s crying and begging for him to listen to her, but he just brings her into a hug, his own eyes filling with tears.
Sang-tae tries to reach Kang-tae all morning, and when he finally does, it’s after Kang-tae has put Moon-young back to bed and is overwhelmed with emotion. Kang-tae tries to keep it together, but he’s crying as he says that Moon-young is sick.
Sang-tae’s so worried that when he hangs up, he heads downstairs and asks that Joo-ri’s mom make some porridge. Soon, Sang-tae is rushing over to the mansion, Jae-soo in tow, so he can take care of his little sister. God, he’s the most precious thing.
While Jae-soo stays with Kang-tae downstairs, Sang-tae barges into Moon-young’s room with her food. Startled, Moon-young turns away to hide her tear-streaked face. She asks him to leave, but he insists on feeding her so she can get better. It’s all too much for her, and she breaks, saying, “I’m sorry. This is all my fault.”
She keeps crying for him to forgive her, and he just brings the spoon to her mouth, saying he’ll forgive her if she eats. She cries even harder, but she complies, making him happy. He wipes her tears and says that she shouldn’t fight with Kang-tae anymore, that “kissing is better than fighting.”
Outside, while Kang-tae and Jae-soo are talking, Jae-soo comes to the conclusion that the brothers’ feared butterfly is Moon-young’s mother. He looks at his friend and tells him to admit that he’s weak.
Jae-soo states that Kang-tae and Moon-young are both weaklings — always acting tough, wanting someone to lean on them and vice versa. “That’s why weaklings are attracted to each other like magnets,” he says. “You should join forces and stick together. Then you’ll become invincible.”
Eventually, Sang-tae comes down, excitedly telling Kang-tae that Moon-young ate her food. He wonders what she did wrong, since she kept apologizing, but nevertheless, he forgave her. This makes Kang-tae emotional all over again, and aughhh, I can’t take this.
Kang-tae asks Sang-tae to hug him, to pat him on the back, and Sang-tae does just that. As they clutch onto each other, Kang-tae admits that he’s scared, and Sang-tae promises to protect both him and Moon-young since he’s the older brother. Laughing through his tears, Kang-tae feels relieved.
After Kang-tae sees Sang-tae and Jae-soo out, he notices an unmarked package by the front door. He opens it to find one of Moon-young’s books, The Hand, The Monkfish. As he starts to read it, we hear Hui-jae narrating:
“Once upon a time, a beautiful baby girl was born into a wealthy family. The mother loved her so much that she pledged she’d do anything for her baby. When the baby started eating solid foods, the mother was thrilled. ‘Baby, I will feed you everything you want to eat.’ When the baby started walking, the mother quickly ran to where she was. ‘Baby, I will carry you.’ After raising the baby by providing her with everything she needed, the mother said, ‘My beloved baby, I need to rest now. Can you get me some food?’ The baby said, ‘Mom, I have no hands. I never used them, so they vanished.’ ‘Then, my baby, can you carry me?’ ‘Mom, I have no feet. You always carried me, so I’ve never stepped on the ground. Instead, I have a huge mouth.’ The mother shouted, ‘You weren’t my perfect baby after all. You’re a useless monkfish.’ Then the mother threw the baby into the faraway sea. Since that day, it’s been said that fishermen can hear a baby’s cry: ‘Mom, what did I do wrong? Please come get me.’”
Kang-tae finishes the book, finding Hui-jae’s written note in the back. It says that this book is Mom’s favorite, but that it was Moon-young’s biggest failure. And all writers should know that they should discard their failures.
Elsewhere, Hui-jae burns her family photo, while we see all the times she was watching Moon-young and Kang-tae at the hospital. We then see that Hui-jae is currently parked in front of the Joo-ri’s apartment building. No.
Meanwhile, in the mansion’s basement, Moon-young removes the vanity drawer and pulls out a hidden file. Inside is Hui-jae’s lost work — the final volume of The Murder of the Witch of the West.
The next morning, news blows up that Do Hui-jae’s final book will be published by Sang-in’s company. Sang-in and Seung-jae panic, realizing that Moon-young must’ve contacted Mr. Ascot (the book critic she pushed down the stairs) and leaked the story.
At home, Moon-young gets all dressed up, like she’s getting ready for battle. She stares into the mirror and says, “Come to me… Mom.”
But, apparently, Mom has other plans. She calls Sang-tae, and Sang-tae gladly meets her outside, thinking he’s meeting up with his friend Nurse Park. He notes that she looks different today, and she grins, saying, “That’s right. I’m a different person.”
As the day goes on, Kang-tae worries because he can’t reach Sang-tae on the phone. While Kang-tae goes out searching for him, Sang-in comes by the mansion to confront Moon-young about the news article.
Moon-young states that she has to catch the butterfly in Kang-tae’s place, and that this was the one way she knew how to provoke it.
Well, it must’ve worked, because Sang-in tells her that her mother already called him, wanting him to meet her with the manuscript. So she bolts up and demands that he take her to the meeting spot right now.
Kang-tae reaches the apartment, but Sang-tae is nowhere to be found. All he finds is Sang-tae’s last sketch, the mutant butterfly, on the desk. Then, finally, he gets a call from Sang-tae’s number — and his heart drops to hear Hui-jae’s voice.
Kang-tae warns Hui-jae that he’ll never forgive her if she hurts his brother. In a teasing voice, she says that forgiveness is for those who did something wrong and she hasn’t done anything wrong. Kang-tae: “Where do I have to go?” Hui-jae: “The cursed castle.”
As Sang-in drives Moon-young out of town, he thinks back to a conversation he had with Kang-tae earlier. He asked if Kang-tae would really be okay by himself, and Kang-tae just told him to take Moon-young far away. Oh, Kang-tae…
When Sang-in doesn’t answer any of Moon-young’s questions, it dawns on her and she orders him to stop the car. “Kang-tae is there alone!” she shouts, grabbing the wheel and making him pull over. She jumps out of the car, out of her heels, and runs back, crying Kang-tae’s name.
But it’s too late. Kang-tae is already at the mansion.
Determined, Kang-tae walks right in, finding Hui-jae in the study facing the newly hung family portrait. His eyes then land on Sang-tae on the couch, unconscious. He hurries over and tries to shake him awake, but it’s no use. He looks back at Hui-jae, who’s laughing maniacally.
I don’t like this. Kang-tae is doing exactly what I was afraid of, storming the castle without any backup. It’s infuriating, but he doesn’t really have a choice when his brother’s life is at stake. It’s perfectly planned, on Hui-jae’s part, trapping the two men who changed her daughter. Her masterpiece. Because let’s face it, all Hui-jae sees in Moon-young is a creative project like one of her books. And now that she’s unhappy with the way her project has been edited, she’s going to do whatever it takes to change it back. Or, who knows, maybe she’ll throw it away, thinking it’s already ruined, just as the storybook mom did with her baby.
I was enamored with this drama from the very beginning, and I’m still enamored. But yeah, it’s had its issues, some I could overlook and some I couldn’t. Unfortunately, this episode had a major issue that just took me out of the drama. That being Do Hui-jae. Weirdly enough, the whole thing with the mom was creepier when it was in the background. Like in scary movies, when you notice something off to the side or behind the main character and it makes your skin crawl. The same effect was wonderfully executed with the flashbacks, the nightmares, the overall feeling that someone was watching. I loved that. I even loved the Nurse Park reveal, because I saw it coming and it still hit me. But now that Do Hui-jae is an actual person, right before our eyes, it’s lost that magic. She was made to be a fairy tale villain, spooky and witchy, and that doesn’t fit in the real world. Having her in the real world, she’s almost cartoonish. The something off to the side became a cheap jumpscare.
Still, even with the mom brought center stage, the drama stayed consistent and kept the real focus on our trio and their emotional journeys. Kang-tae had to be brave going in to save his brother, but he also showed so much bravery beforehand. In situations where, a few episodes ago, he would’ve run away, he stayed and endured. It was satisfying watching his scenes in the mansion, as he tried to work things out. When he was talking to Moon-young through the door, he seemed like a fully-realized adult, rather than a kid trying to play an adult. Then, moving on to Moon-young, she showed true selflessness. She cares so much for the brothers and it killed her to know she was somehow a part in their painful past. She cares so much that she felt she had to take the blame, when it was in no way her fault. And Sang-tae — what an angel on Earth. Any time he does something big brotherly, I just wanna squeeze him. That goes for Joo-ri, Sang-in, and Jae-soo too. The character arcs are spot-on for me.
I don’t know where Do Hui-jae’s arc is going to go. Knowing this drama, it could go anywhere. It could go the You From Another Star route and make the villain a villain, or it could go the Pinocchio route and make the villain human. I’d much prefer the latter, because that provides way more emotional pull. In the meantime, I’ll be praying for the brothers’ safety, for Moon-young’s safety. After whatever happens next, they better start making some smart choices. Because Kang-tae leaving Sang-tae in the apartment alone? Kang-tae and Moon-young staying in the mansion when they know Hui-jae has access? WHY. I love you guys and I want to see you smiling in Episode 16, so let’s all listen to Jae-soo and stick together.
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