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It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: Episode 16 (Final)

Well, here we are… Our prince and princess have lived their dark fairy tale, enduring all the monsters and witches to reach that happy ending. And what we get is probably one of the most bittersweet happy endings I’ve seen in quite some time. I can tell you right now, this drama won’t be easy to let go.

 
EPISODE 16: “Finding the real, real face”

Where were we? Oh, yes, that almost-kiss. Kang-tae has Moon-young on top of the desk and is slowly leaning in… when a deer cries outside. They turn to the sound, and Kang-tae is so annoyed that he yells, “Shut up, you damn deer!” *pauses video to laugh way too hard*

They also laugh, but Kang-tae’s face immediately turns serious again. He tells her that he loves her, with such sweet intensity, and this time, it seems to hit her. A tear runs down her face, and then they’re kissing, over and over again. And whoa. *laughing turns into swooning*

Meanwhile, at the apartment, Sang-tae calls Jae-soo over to give him some news — he wants to quit working at the pizza place so he can focus on being an illustrator. And, of course, Jae-soo doesn’t take this very well, nearly bursting into tears. Later, as Sang-tae gets ready for bed, he reveals that he’s staying here to give his siblings time to make up. Touched, Jae-soo hugs him, wishing he could be his sibling too.

Back at the mansion, our couple is now lying together on the couch. Moon-young asks about the family portrait hanging on the brothers’ tree, and Kang-tae tells her that it was his way of introducing her to his mom. “As the best friend she always wanted for Sang-tae,” he says, “and as the woman I love.” She thinks that their mom wouldn’t have liked her, and he points that she’s not likeable in general. But that’s okay, since she has him. In response, she looks at him and says that she’s, er, sleepy.

The next morning, we see clothes strewn all over the floor and our couple cuddling in bed. Later on, a cheerful Moon-young finds Kang-tae in the kitchen and backhugs him. She’s not so cheerful, however, when he reveals that he quit his job and is thinking of attending college. She’d rather have him stay with her at all times.

In turn, he asks if she really plans to retire. He admits that he was looking forward to her next book, that he wanted to show it off to people. This in mind, she drags him to the study and pulls out Sang-tae’s drawing of what she calls the “real, real happy Moon Kang-tae.”

After seeing it, she says, she decided to make some changes to her story. (Yay, she’ll be publishing after all!) He smiles down at the drawing, and, curious, she asks if he likes her or Sang-tae more. Still looking down, he answers, “I like myself the most.” As he walks off, she curses and chases after him, asking again. Hee.

At OK, Director Oh gifts his buddy Pil-wong a new pair of shoes, telling him to go out into the world and find his door. Director Oh then heads downstairs and finds Cha-yong napping in the storage room. At first, he caresses his son’s face… and then we cut to him dragging him out by the ear. The other employees hear Cha-yong cry, “Dad, it hurts!” and they’re shocked to learn of their relation.

Sang-tae returns to the mansion in time for breakfast, and as everyone’s eating, he asks if Moon-young and Kang-tae kissed and made up. With a sly smile, Moon-young brags that they did a lot of kissing. “But that wasn’t enough,” she continues, “so we even–” Kang-tae goes into a coughing fit and kicks her under the table. To change the subject, he reveals that the new book is back on. (Also, have to highlight that Sang-tae helps Moon-young pick up her quail eggs, just like Kang-tae used to do.)

That afternoon, Moon-young meets up with Sang-in and surprises him with her mother’s long lost manuscript. But there’s a catch — she wants him to choose between publishing her mom’s final novel or publishing her final fairy tale. The novel would bring in more money, but even so, Sang-in tosses it aside.

Apparently, that was all for show, because when Sang-in sees Seung-jae at home, he asks her where the novel manuscript is. She has no idea what he’s talking about, so he takes out his phone, saying he texted her to pick it up. And, ha, he’s horrified to see that he accidentally sent that text to Moon-young.

Though Moon-young’s peeved about the text, that’s not her biggest worry at the moment. She’s currently at the county jail, ready to face her mother for the last time.

Even in jail, Hui-jae is still smug, telling Moon-young that the brothers will never stay with her. Hui-jae continues that she loves her, that she did everything she could to make her a strong woman — and Moon-young completely shuts her down.

“I almost turned into a demon like you,” Moon-young says. “And I’m so relieved I didn’t.” In fact, she pities her mom, because she’s never known warmth, never even tried to be interested in it. And that’s what makes them different.

Moon-young stands to leave and tells her mom to at least eat well; because from now on, she’s going to erase her mom from her memory. She turns to leave, angering Hui-jae and making her scream that she’ll never ever erase her.

Afterwards, Moon-young stops by the hospital to see how Sang-tae is doing on his mural. She notes that he erased Hui-jae’s butterfly, and he tells her that he didn’t erase it — he just covered it up so he could make his own.

Moon-young remembers her last moments with Hui-jae: After Hui-jae screamed, Moon-young turned to face her again. “Butterfly,” she said. “You told me that the word ‘psycho’ comes from the word ‘psyche.’ But to us, butterfly means ‘cure.’ A cure that heals our soul. You should remember that.”

Now, Moon-young smiles up at the mural and says that Sang-tae is right. They just have to cover up the bad with something better. With that, she encourages him to paint a beautiful butterfly and goes on her way.

Kang-tae visits Jae-soo at the pizza place, telling him that he’s going back to school. Kang-tae smiles when Jae-soo suggests he go too. He knows his buddy doesn’t actually want to study, so he suggests he stop following him and finally do what he wants. Poor Jae-soo pouts, thinking he’s no longer needed.

“Hyung,” Kang-tae says, making Jae-soo perk up. “Jae-soo Hyung.” Before, he didn’t want another older brother, but now, he figures the more the merrier. He sincerely thanks Jae-soo for being so supportive, and an emotional Jae-soo just orders him to call him hyung again. Aww, you guys.

By the time Kang-tae returns home, Moon-young and Sang-tae are busy working on their book. He tries to join in, but they immediately kick him out. He comes back later, after they’ve fallen asleep, to take a peek at the drawings (which use the same style from the premiere’s stop-motion animation).

Over at the dump, Sang-in and Seung-jae are searching for the novel manuscript. Sang-in chides Seung-jae for leaving it at the coffee shop, and having had enough, Seung-jae yells, “Hey, you punk!” She’s done taking orders from him, so she tells him to have a good life and then stalks off.

Joo-ri and Sang-in go out for drinks, and having seen Seung-jae at home in bed, she tells him not to be so hard on “that kid.” Sang-in laughs at that and reveals that Seung-jae is actually six years older than her. And this comes as a shock to her, since Seung-jae always called her “Unni.”

At the apartment, we see that Seung-jae is actually hiding the manuscript, which she found when Sang-in wasn’t looking. She giggles and figures she should withhold the manuscript for at least a month, as punishment.

We fast forward to the publication of Moon-young’s new book: Finding the Real, Real Face. Sang-tae takes one of the copies, and he’s overjoyed to see his name printed on the cover, next to Moon-young’s.

The first thing Sang-tae does, Kang-tae and Moon-young in tow, is visit the mom’s tree. Sang-tae shows his mom the book, even reading it aloud for her. And as Sang-tae gets emotional, Kang-tae does as well.

“My eyes are welling up with tears even though I’m happy!” Sang-tae cries to his siblings. Kang-tae comes over to give him an encouraging hug, while Moon-young stands back and watches with a smile.

To celebrate the release of the book, OK Hospital holds a special live reading. And what a special day it is — we get one big reunion, with the return of patients Ah-reum, Eun-ja, and Gi-do! They all seem to be recovering well, Eun-ja back to running her restaurant and Gi-do studying for the civil servant exam.

On top of that, we see that Sang-tae has finally finished his mural, butterflies and all. While Director Oh and Joo-ri’s mom are admiring it, Director Oh is proud to say that Sang-tae overcame his fears all on his own. Director Oh then grins at Mom and says they should hang out more often, like the old days.

As everyone piles into the classroom for the reading, they wonder where their favorite caregiver is. Heh, speaking of whom, Kang-tae is about ready to knock Moon-young and Sang-tae’s heads together, as they fight over who gets to read.

In the end, the trio decide to take turns and read together. Through their narration and the gorgeous illustrations, we’re introduced to the three characters: The emotionless princess, the masked boy, and the box ajusshi.

Having had their faces stolen by a witch, they got in a camping car and went on a journey to find them. On the way, the masked boy came across a crying mama fox who had lost her child in the snow (like Eun-ja). The boy was so heartbroken that he cried along with her, melting the snow and revealing the lost child.

Then, the emotionless princess came across a clown dancing naked in a field of thorns (like Gi-do). When she asked why he was doing this, when he was just getting hurt, he answered that it was the only way people would look at him. So the princess joined him and — Moon-young and Sang-tae suddenly read over each other.

Pffft, Moon-young and Sang-tae start arguing right in front of the audience, and poor Kang-tae tries and fails to break them up. Afterwards, Kang-tae and Joo-ri’s mom laugh about this, with Mom saying they still have a lot of growing up to do. Kang-tae then gifts mom with a copy of the book, a note from Sang-tae inside.

“To my fake, real mom,” the note says. “Thank you for all the delicious meals… I really like you.” Mom is moved to tears, and Kang-tae sweetly asks if he can hug her. Without hesitation, she brings him into a big hug and tells him to live well.

Outside, Joo-ri finds Sang-in looking pretty down (because video of Moon-young and Sang-tae’s outburst is already online). She reassures him that he can get through this, that he’s a strong person. She then asks when he’s returning to Seoul, and he reveals that he’s staying. The rent is cheaper here… And she’s here.

After an awkward beat and few shy smiles, Sang-in slowly moves his hand toward Joo-ri’s until they’re touching pinkies. They stay seated like that, holding pinkies, and it’s pretty darn cute.

As our trio is leaving, Director Oh calls them back to present them with a big surprise — a camping car. Kang-tae doesn’t feel right accepting it, but Director Oh insists, since he caused them so much trouble. Kang-tae slowly smiles, thinking a long road trip with his family will be so much fun.

Only, when they get home, Kang-tae realizes that no one else wants to go on a trip. Sang-tae doesn’t understand the difference between running away and traveling, and Moon-young doesn’t want to stay in a cramped car for that long. Kang-tae is devastated, having been so excited.

So that night, Kang-tae goes out drinking with Jae-soo and Sang-in. He slurs, “How could they do this to me? When they know I’ve been suppressing myself and enduring everything?” All he wanted was a carefree trip with no destination.

Jae-soo and Sang-in can barely contain their laughter as Kang-tae prattles on. And it doesn’t help that they keep pouring him drinks when he’s clearly had enough. By the time he comes home, he’s completely wasted.

Kang-tae’s taken aback to see Moon-young and Sang-tae waiting up for him, suitcases in hand. (Ha, they were only pretending they didn’t want to go to surprise him.) They hand him a matching family shirt, making him burst into happy tears and hug them.

Cut to: The next day, our trio on the road, with Kang-tae severely hungover.

Moon-young curses at Kang-tae for ruining the beginning of their trip, and Sang-tae chides her for using bad language, grabbing her ear and making her swerve on the road. Needless to say, Kang-tae gets sick and they have to pull over. They also use that time to take a break and eat lunch.

Moon-young glares at Kang-tae, wondering if this experience is giving him a reality check. Sang-tae asks what a reality check means, initiating a whole conversation about slang words. Needing some rest, Kang-tae lies down inside the car, though he smiles to hear the others’ chatter outside.

What follows is a sweet montage of our trio’s road trip, filled with singing and laughing and just plain ol’ family fun. The camping car makes it to many different places, over many different days, and the doll Mang-tae has the perfect view while hanging off the rearview mirror.

And this, right here, is where I break down crying.

One night, while they’re camped out, Moon-young joins Kang-tae outside by the fire. She cozies up next to him and apologizes for ever hurting him; she hopes it never happens again. She also thanks him for bringing her on this trip, and he smiles, wondering what’s gotten into her.

“I love you, Moon Kang-tae,” Moon-young says. “Not fake but real, real.” She concludes this with a soft kiss, which makes them both smile. They then snuggle up even closer, looking as warm as they’ve ever been.

The next day, they’re about ready to set off again, but Sang-tae tells Kang-tae that he wants to go home and get back to illustrating. Though Kang-tae is a bit disappointed, he is willing to end the trip here.

But Sang-tae clarifies that he wants Kang-tae and Moon-young to keep going, while he goes back and works. He reveals that another author reached out wanting to work with him, so he called Sang-in to come pick him up.

Just as Moon-young joins them, Sang-tae happily states that someone needs him now. Moon-young starts to say that she needs him too, but Kang-tae takes her hand to make her stop.

With tears in his eyes, Kang-tae asks, “Hyung, you’ll be okay without me? You won’t need me?” To that, Sang-tae says that Moon Kang-tae belongs to Moon Kang-tae, just as Kang-tae said when they were younger.

Now crying, Kang-tae says that he’s right — Kang-tae belongs to Kang-tae and Sang-tae belongs to Sang-tae. Sang-tae stands and wipes his brother’s tears away before bringing him into a hug.

I can’t even see the screen anymore, I’m crying so much. Sang-tae says thank you, and Kang-tae says the same: “Thank you for being my big brother.” Sang-tae grins, and we see him as his younger self.

Beside them, Moon-young is getting teary-eyed, too. Just then, Sang-in’s car pulls up, and Kang-tae sadly watches Sang-tae hurry towards it. Kang-tae laughs, though, when Sang-tae turns back and enthusiastically waves goodbye.

Finally, finally, Kang-tae seems to… let go. We see the camping car and Sang-in’s car go their separate ways, with Sang-tae calling out, “Go Moon-young, Moon Kang-tae, take care! And don’t fight! A kiss is better than a fight!”

We then hear the end to Finding the Real, Real Face.

“They began a new journey to find their stolen faces, and the evil shadow witch appeared in front of them once again. She kidnapped the masked boy, who shed tears on behalf of the mother fox, as well as the emotionless princess, who danced with the clown. ‘The two of you will never be able to find your happy faces.’ After putting such a curse on them, she locked them up in a deep, dark mole tunnel. The box ajusshi found the mole tunnel a few days later, but the entrance was so narrow that he couldn’t go in. ‘What do I do? I need to take this box off my head in order to go in.’ That moment, the masked boy’s voice reached him. ‘Ajusshi, don’t worry about us. Just run far away. The shadow witch will return soon.’ However, the box ajusshi mustered up the courage to take the box off his head. Then he went inside the tunnel and saved them. Upon getting out, the two of them saw the ajusshi’s face covered with dirt and grime instead of the box and burst out laughing. While laughing uncontrollably, the masked boy’s mask suddenly fell off. The can surrounding the emotionless princess’ torso also fell off and made a clanking noise. The ajusshi said this when he saw the two finding their true faces while laughing: ‘I’m happy.’ What the shadow witch had stolen from them was not their real, real faces but their courage to find happiness.’”

After the story ends, we rewind to Sang-tae waving goodbye. Sang-tae walked back to the camping car, saying they should have coffee before they go. And Kang-tae and Moon-young looked at each other and laughed. Typical Hyung.

And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

 
COMMENTS

I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. Seriously, I’m stunned. The majority of the drama’s run, I was on a high, and the last three episodes brought me down, naturally scaring me. But wow, all the drama needed was an hour and twenty minutes to lift me back up. It didn’t feel at all fake, as if it was trying to make up for its mistakes by giving us fluff; it felt like every bit of happiness from our characters was genuine and earned. Right from the beginning, when our couple had a humorous moment followed by an intimate one, there was a release. Moon-young released herself from her mother’s spell, and she said Screw it, I’m gonna love this man. All thanks to that damn deer. After that, it was like everything fell into place.

Am I still upset about those last three episodes? Oh yeah. But I get what the writer was trying to do. I get it, and I almost believe it could’ve worked, had the execution been better. It reminds me of when I write my own stories and when I struggle to fit a plot point in. If I can’t figure it out, sometimes I just… throw it in. That’s what Do Hui-jae’s storyline felt like, like it was thrown in solely because it needed to be there. Our couple definitely had to face Do Hui-jae somehow, whether in person or in spirit. I’m glad that 1, Kang-tae chose to move on rather than forgive; 2, Moon-young made the difference between her and Hui-jae clear; and 3, we immediately got rid of Hui-jae (bye, Felicia) and focused on what was important. We didn’t get all the details on how Hui-jae survived, and I don’t care. It was all the other details I cared about — with the trio, the friendships, the family relationships — and the finale touched on every single one.

Now, I went into this drama wanting it to break new ground. I knew that it was going to center around mental health, and, as a mental health advocate, I hoped that it would be as real and respectful as possible. Unfortunately, I think the media, and k-dramas especially, often sacrifice realness for story. Can we blame them? Yes and no. Certain things are addressed poorly or not addressed at all, and that’s incredibly problematic, but I have to remind myself that mental health is still a taboo subject in South Korea. It’s sad and it sucks, but it’s true. It created some glaring errors of practice within OK Hospital, for sure. We had Director Oh pushing patients’ buttons, for humor. We had numerous employees stand back and watch while the Moon brothers had their meltdowns, for tension. And those are just a few of the many examples.

I will praise the drama for being real in other ways. Everything with the brothers and their mom was so well done, because it showed both the ugly and beautiful sides to that dynamic. They struggled so much, and what’s sad is that they struggled alone. They all had their individual pain and stress, not knowing how to communicate that with each other. Even when the mom was gone and the brothers had to stick together, they were leaning on each other without actually being present. So the brothers’ emotional journey was really something to behold. Moon-young’s journey as well. The framing of the appropriate fairy tales only strengthened what was already there. I haven’t seen many of these actors’ projects (only Kim Soo-hyun’s), but I have to believe that this is the best they’ve ever been. I never once saw Kim Soo-hyun, Seo Ye-ji, or Oh Jung-se. It was always their characters — their characters’ grief, their characters’ happiness.

A few weeks ago, I was ready for It’s Okay to be over. It was making me feel way too much, and I was ready for a break. But then this finale happened, and I was like Kang-tae not wanting to see his brother go. I think that just shows how attached I’ve gotten to this world and its characters. I fell in love with everyone, which I did not expect at all. I mean, I thought Joo-ri, Sang-in, and Jae-soo were going to be played for comedy, and then they went and stole my heart. Joo-ri and Jae-soo eventually cared for Moon-young, and Sang-in eventually cared for the brothers; together, they became a strong support system for our main trio. At the same time, the secondary characters still had their own lives (and love lives, of course). That being said… these characters almost felt too real to me, making them that much harder to say goodbye to.

So yeah, despite its obvious issues, I still love the drama. It’s nestled into a very special place in my heart, and it won’t be going away anytime soon. I will never forget Kang-tae and the way he learned self-worth. I will never forget Moon-young and the way she learned love. I will never forget the families that formed, whether in the mansion, in the apartment, or in the hospital. It’s hard to let them go, just as it was hard for Kang-tae to let Sang-tae go, but it’s also liberating. I’m happy knowing that they’re in a good place now and that they’re going to be okay. And that’s what makes this the perfect ending for me: It feels like the characters are going somewhere. It’s not leaving them 100% healed, which would be totally unrealistic, but it’s reassuring us that they’re healing. What better ending than the promise of another beginning, right?

To all of the beautiful broken souls in It’s Okay — jinjja neomu neomu saranghae!

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I love this!

Thanks for this series recap, @sailorjumun!

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I havent really seen it mentioned anywhere, but how amazing was the art-work for this show. Does anyone know anything about the illustrator?

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The illustrator for this show is Jamsan. https://www.instagram.com/jamsan74/

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thank you so much!

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Immediate follow..on insta...i can't wait to see more of their work!!

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This is Jamsan's second gig with the PD, I believe. They also worked together in the drama Encounter.

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oh Wow .. I always like the illustration of Encounter. It juts like story telling. This illustrator is just amazing

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IOTNBO did something I didn’t know was possible in dramaland: there were three!!, three!!! main leads who experienced true character growth, were each well developed and internally consistent until the conclusion of the story. This alone is an impressive feat in and of itself, and it speaks to the superiority of the writing, especially in a romance genre. Mind you, if we get one character who experiences some semblance of positive growth (usually the male lead) without a schizophrenic change of heart in the 11th hour, and the female lead isn’t completely shafted by that point, we consider it a win.

On that note, there’s never been a character like Ko Mun-yeong before, and Seo Ye-ji perfected and breathed life into this wonderful being. In the first act, she was electric and utterly intoxicating. Typical of dramas, her character growth necessitated that she scale back on her antics, which I found unfortunate, but I appreciated that the writers at least tried to keep the integrity of her character until the very end. I will miss her ab grabs, deer noise, demands for a baby, and the now infamous “saranghae”. SYJ deservedly earned herself a fangirl for life.

The cinematography: I’ve never seen anything like what I saw in the first 3 episodes in a k-drama. Usually, productions blow their budget on gratuitous action sequences, cars blowing up, filming abroad, CGI bears/tigers, etc. This production team instead blew their budget on paying KSH’s salary (a wise choice), scene transitions, giant KMY, wonderful animations, many OST’s and letting us experience how someone who is “ill” perceives the world. Ki-do’s recollection of his party night was well executed. Add in the silent film blooper, which I had to pause because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Just wow, these guys are on another level, and IMO they set a new bar for cinematography in a k-drama, a mere month after TKEM showed the worst CGI imaginable in 2020.

The acting: What can I say? I think each lead made a legitimate case for Daesang (grand prize award) through this production. I don’t know if there’s a clear favorite but I would rank OJS over KSH over SYJ, though KSH is probably the frontrunner given his star status. SYJ certainly carried the first 6 or so episodes in my opinion, though OJS and KSH dominated the second half.

IOTNBO above all excelled in the combination of its characters, acting, directing and writing. I could write pages and pages about what I liked specifically, but I’ll stop here before I get carried away. It was a great watch, and I thought ending the drama by showing our trio taking turns being at the center was just perfect. Thanks to everyone here for sharing the experience with me!

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And yeah, the drama had its flaws. I think everyone agrees the mom arc was a mess. The last few episodes certainly lost steam and some of the writing felt a bit lazy/forced towards the end, like overusing “Kang-tae belongs to Kang-tae” in Sang-tae’s farewell, people are imperfect shenanigans (yuck) and the prison visit dialogue. Some of Sang-tae’s one-liners at times made me suspicious whether the dialogue was within the capacity of an autistic, and I especially thought they were trading off his character integrity for cheesy/comedic moments in the last few episodes. I thought this was unfortunate since his character had the most character development in my opinion, and was so well grounded and acted that it sucked to see his character be the one to be compromised for cheap dialogue given his condition made him most susceptible to character inconsistency. I do appreciate the fan service though, and how funny is that Kang-tae’s character growth is to scream at deers?

The production did make the right adjustments, such as giving Joori less and less screen time instead of as a 4th lead or prominent side character, which is what I had initially thought from the promos, and wrapping up her story with reconciliation instead of writing her off completely. Sang-in somehow showed up as a different person, but I’m not complaining since his eps 1-2 characterization depicted him as a potential sleezeball. They also wrapped up Nurse Park as Do Hui-jae in 25 minutes, which I appreciate since the alternative would have been to devote entire episodes to her. I do think the revival of Do Hui-jae arc was a disaster for this drama. I don’t know how much ratings had to do with it since ep 15 was its second highest, which is beyond me.

A lot of times, we hypothesize that if a drama were 12 episodes, it wouldn’t have had whatever its issues were. Well, I think a 12 episode version of IOTNBO already exists, just by retaining eps 1-10 and largely keeping ep 16 and first half of 12 in tact, and this folks would be one of the most pleasant watches in dramaland. Nevertheless, the drama as a whole had incredibly high production value, and the good far outweighed the bad.

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I was ON THE FLOOR with Kang-tae's behaviour! I haven't laughed this hard in a while.

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you raise a great point about how ST become a comedic genius at the end and whether that is possible in the realm of an autistic person. i felt in the beginning of the show, he was somewhat annoying and thus realistic.

but perhaps, it mirros actual growth of someone with autism? hmmm, something to ponder. in any event, yes, by the end of the show, every freaking line ST said me cry or laugh! it was ridic. :)

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hmm. repetition of words/phrases, situations, and behaviours resemble autistic behaviours. Sang-tae was also very observant, had great memory, and conceived of things literally without mollycoddling (which is where the incidental humour was dropped), in line with what i studied about autism. So i actually felt Sang-tae's humour was appropriately utilized and not at expense of his character and autism, based on my knowledge anyway. curious for others' thoughts...

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I didn't mean generally, which I agree with you wholeheartedly. There were just really specific one-liners on occasion that I thought was more fan-service than Sang-tae's actual dialogue.

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Ohh I see, understood. I personally didn’t feel that way but i guess it’s subjective

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Completely agree with you about Oh Jung-se! He has moved me to tears on many occasions in this drama, but when he broke down in tears reading “his” story to his mum’s tree, I became a blubbing wreck. So, so moving. I wonder if that was as much the actor as the character at that point – that sense of coming to the end of a project, having pulled something off so brilliantly and finally realising your achievement. It’s true for ST, but equally true for OJS. It seems (from the BTS) that KSH’s tears as he came to hug him were very real – a much-deserved acknowledgement of what OJS has achieved.

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This show reminds of a baseball game where you see your team dominate for seven innings but suddenly cough up the lead in the eighth but rally for the win in the bottom of the ninth. I usually find finales unworthy of the preceding episodes for good shows but this one...I think I actually felt my heart turn to goo multiple times.

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That may have been my favorite scene! Somehow, it felt as if I were watching Sang-tae the person, not a drama character, and the scene felt so authentic and organic that somehow I felt part of it by knowing Sang-tae up to that point? OJS became his character.. not just in mannerisms and intonation.. He and KSH did ordinary and relatable moments really movingly.

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kang tae was also apparently not supposed to cry when the brothers hug at the end, with the callback to younger sang tae. park pd kept asking what is wrong with him lol

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yes, i want to say that a #hyunji scene was the best in the show/episode, but i can't. ST at the tree telling his mom about his book was #1. i was a glass case of emotion ......

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"It seems (from the BTS) that KSH’s tears as he came to hug him were very real". That scene felt so real to me. KSY crying, SYJ looking at him, bemused, him looking back at her and then pulling her close while she kept staring at him, the way she was staring at him,yeah that wasn't acting. I could swear that was real. I loved that scene, I loved it all, I love this drama and the cast, (chef's kiss) perfecto ❤ 😍

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I am with you for voting OJS for Daesang award. Not even KSH will topple his performance these 2 3 years ✌

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I agree with everything you raised in your comment :') so rare to have such solid writing for not just one character, but three. I never had moments where I questioned the actions of our trio and where they were going. Even as painful as they might have been, I understood why and where they were coming from, and I knew that they were going to go somewhere. It was never a case where it felt like lazy or shoddy or irrational behaviour/writing. Cinematography was beautiful, they utilised the close ups well and the directorial choice to substitute the child actors for the adult ones at key, emotional and gut wrenching scene was incredibly well-played. Manged to wring more tears out of me than I thought was humanly possible.

On a side note, SYJ was amazing in this show, but her best performance for me by far was still her run in "Save Me" - now that was a real masterpiece. I think it really took her to a very dark place and she delivered, but I remember her saying in one of the interviews that it took a long time from her to recover from the intensity and darkness of that role. I knew that KSH was a fantastic actor (my favourite for a reason!!) and I think this was by far his best show for me in terms of the nuance, complexity and how he made a understated, non-flashy character so compelling and multidimensional. But OJS was the real standout for me. I watched him in When the Camellia Blooms, but I didn't know the full extent of his acting range until I saw him here. Fantastic cast and I hope all of them get all the awards that they deserve.

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what an absolute treat that we got to enjoy not one, but three riveting performances. each one so strong that you write a whole paragraph of praises for them, even when you have a clear favorite.

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I heard such great things about Save Me. But honestly its really dark. Almost uncomfortably so. In reality, I saw the first episode - the subject matter was super interesting and I think it came at the time when SK’s president was found to have a cult-leader/daughter dictating her. So the timing was quite perfect and fascinating too.

But the darkness made me step back. It was just too intense. I’ll gather my wits hopefully and check it out again.

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We are on the same boat, @mandy. How I wish I could press play button again after few episode of Save Me. Considering my mental healthness, I just drop it. Even I read that she needs quite a long time to recover after the show is finished.

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Yea... it’s not for everyone. I can see why strong hearted people loved it. I’m sure I would too except... I don’t think I can find the courage to watch it. Probably the darkest kdrama I know of. I don’t remember ever stopping a drama because I just can’t deal with the intensity. They really took it to a different level.

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save me is not for the faint-hearted. i got through the first six episodes, and had to take a step back bc there was just no respite, which i know is the reality of these things. :(

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It is very dark and I'd agree that it's not for everyone! The subject matter can be uncomfortable also, but even if it was I didn't regret watching it because of how thought provoking it was. If not for the standout performances from the cast (SYJ and Woo Do Hwan were amazing), the fact that these cults do exist and it shed light on a side of the world we don't always see or understand. It's not scary but if you don't mind powering through the discomfort, it is definitely worth a watch! Just a tip - space out the episodes so that it doesn't get too intense and take a break when you need to :)

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Same boat. I got through 2 and a half episodes and I just couldn’t handle it. It was way to dark and disturbing for me.

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Actually, Save Me was the first time I thought there should be a limit to how dark a show gets for the sake of the actor/actress. I had actually wanted Save Me to get much darker after ep 6 or so, but reading SYJ say how she had to act cheerful after her each scene ended because even the staff were so depressed....

I agree with you about her performance in Save Me. In my previous comments, I've referenced her train tracks scene as a point of conversion for me lol. In my opinion, IOTNBO allowed her to show more range and Save Me showed depth to a narrower body of emotion, both impressive feats (though of course, showing terror the way she did was just ....).

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@asterell The cinematography actually puts other shows/movies (globally) to shame. Some shows set the bar so high its not visible beyond the clouds. The background score (not even the soundtrack, which is what I've actively been listening to as the show painstakingly released weekly) is like embedded in my head...nowhere to go for a while and I'm not mad. And the little details omgsh. The epic chorus of the "sew your heart" score in the background wasn't even revealed until the 15th episode as Moon-young stared at Sang-tae's drawing. Also the goth organ in some of the songs...guitar in "I'm Your Psycho"...like what? Its perfection. I'm blown. Small things like these were utterly breathtaking.

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Yes, so right. The attention to detail was mind blowing - thanks so much for making this point!

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Literally!! The soundtrack is such a highlight. Every track is perfection.

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the transitions were so cool in the initial episodes— i remember one of them was the deer moonyoung was looking at and then it went to a bottle of deer milk that juri was holding (it sounds weird when i describe it but it was just really cool to watch)

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whoaaa didnt even notice that. gotta do a second watch one day to have a closer look!

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Re. SYJ, I seriously have so much respect for actors who are able to make an unlikable character likable. I can just imagine how much pressure and stress this character brought SYJ, in addition to the intense scrutiny as the female lead in KSH's much awaited comeback drama. KMY is a complicated character, with her mental health condition (ASPD) and all, who says and does things that make everyone uncomfortable. It is a character that can easily become caricaturish at the hands of a less adept writer, PD, and actress. It's just amazing and magical that they were able to pull her off and make KMY so alive, relatable, and memorable. (Props as well to the stylists who really did their homework.) Aside from Cheon Song Yi, I'm not sure I've seen another female character as well-written. SYJ from the get go has just been so breathtaking and mesmerizing as KMY. This is definitely a hallyu star making role for her and I hope it takes her places. She earned a fan for life in me also. I'm already lining up the actors and writers that I want her to work with next.

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I thought Jeon Ji-hyun took Cheon Song-Yi's character and ran away with it, like added life to the character that didn't exist in the script, whereas SYJ executed to perfection who the writer wanted KMY to be (not that I think one is better than the other). I guess KSH is what officially ties the two, but for me, it's that they're the two most memorable heroines whom I can't imagine any other actress portraying to such acclaim.

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Since everyone still talking about MLFAS...I guess that this would be my next drama 😅😅😅.

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@fydea I envy the one who has hath not graced thyne eyes with the first sighting of MFLAS.

Omgsh I am excited for you!

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Like @kakakash I genuinely envy you lol. I’d trade almost anything in dramaland to have the chance to watch it again for the first time. It is quite literally the best drama to ever be made in my books lol.

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homagosh! Am excited for you! :D I can't even count the number of times I've watched that drama. Best romantic comedy drama in my opinion. And to this day, Cheon Song-yi remains my most favorite female character ever.

Have fun watching it! :)

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oh yeah, don't watch it on netflix. People have commented that netflix cut a lot of scenes. Watch it on viki, they have superior subtitle as well.

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https://kmzkorea.com/photo-feature-kim-soo-hyuns-super-curly-natural-hair-compilation/ feast on this while you watch? I cannot stop laughing for some reason...

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Totally agree. JJH and SYJ will always be my favourite leads for KSH. They complement him.

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For me, Cheon Song Yi and Ko Moon Young will forever be the best female characters ever. Props to KSH for not being intimidated to be in projects with such characters.

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@doublefault

I think KSH has enough confidence to make his characters just as popular irrelevant on how good the female lead’s character is. Do Min-joon is just as well known and loved as Cheon Song-yi. They were such an iconic couple along with being so great individually. And same goes for Kang-tae. He’s also not afraid to work with strong costars and take the “lesser” role like in The Producers. Irrelevant on if that drama ended up giving him 95% of screen time, initially anyway, he’s willing to be secondary to Cha Tae-hyun. Lots of respect for that attitude, but it also exudes real confidence in his abilities and how he believes he can shine in any situation.

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The OST...❤❤❤❤❤

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"...she was electric and utterly intoxicating. [...] SYJ deservedly earned herself a fangirl for life."

+1 fangirl here. Her layered, detailed portrayal and reveal of KMY is one of the hands-down best performances I've ever seen in a k-drama. She was unapologetic about who MY was, while at the same time showing the MY wanted and was willing to, if imperfectly, evolve.

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thank you for saying whats in my heart but not knowing how to translate into words!

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Kang-tae was my favorite character. I loved Moon-young and Sang-tae, but my heart belonged to Kang-tae. Life was so, so cruel to him that it felt as if he was punished for being happy. I teared up when Kang-tae told Moon-young, "I like myself the most" because he has to love himself first before he can love someone else. Moon Kang-tae belongs to Moon Kang-tae. Kang-tae may have been a pathological liar, but I forgive him. He deserves nothing but happiness.

...which is Moon-young. "I can see that you want to be loved." Kang-tae needed to realize he was loved: Sang-tae loves him, Jae-soo really loves him, Joo-ri, Joo-ri's mom, even Sang-in confessed his heart aches for him. But Kang-tae's mom messed him up so bad that he felt undeserving of love until Moon-young made him want to live like everyone else. Before Kang-tae's confession(s) yesterday, I had expected Moon-young to be the first to say "I love you" because of Ah-reum's Beauty and the Beast, but I knew she would say, "I love you. For real this time."

Sang-tae's character growth from "My dongsaeng belongs to me" to letting Kang-tae go, becoming independent, and no longer needing him was emotional, as was Kang-tae's character growth from wishing he had a normal brother to thanking Sang-tae for being his hyung. At first, my heart broke watching Kang-tae's face fall as Sang-tae told him he wanted to go home. I already felt so sorry for Kang-tae when Sang-tae and Moon-young refused to go on his trip because the camping car was literally Sang-tae's idea from saving up money and his contract with Moon-young, on top of this being Kang-tae's dream to travel with no destination. Kang-tae deserves this, dammit! Poor boy even drowned his sorrows in alcohol. I hate surprises.

I cried when Kang-tae called Jae-soo "hyung." "You made me laugh, helped me breathe, and made me feel less lonely." Jae-soo is the bestest friend ever, and Kang-tae finally reciprocating his love and thanking him for always being by his side killed me. I wish Sang-tae would accept Jae-soo as his little brother already like he accepted little sister Moon-young. Will Moon-young call Jae-soo "Jae-soo oppa" like Joo-ri in the future? Just hope Moon-young has learned his name by now. (It's not Jae-mi.)

I cried at Sang-tae's message to his "fake, real mom." Besides being the best mom in the world, Mom was also Kang-tae's savior. He is incredibly lucky to have her in his life. I wish Moon-young wrote a message to Mom too thanking her not only for the meal, but also for her beloved quail eggs and Oppa's porridge. I still wish Moon-young would sell the cursed castle, but I love how the brothers will never move out of Mom's rooftop room.

While I'm disappointed about the nonsense Do Hui-jae plot and wary about them keeping Sang-tae in the dark till the end, It's Okay to Not Be Okay will always be my all-time favorite drama. Like Kang-tae said, a happy ending is all that matters, and...

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(cont.)

Like Kang-tae said, a happy ending is all that matters, and after the many nightmares, leashes, and stolen faces, all our characters deserve the happiest of endings. I will forever cherish the messages in Moon-young's books, especially The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares "Don't forget any of it. Remember it all and overcome it. If you don't overcome it, you'll always be a kid whose soul never grows." and The Cheerful Dog "The body is honest. So it cries when it's in pain. But the heart is a liar. It stays quiet even when it's hurting." This truly was a healing drama and my life drama. Forever thanks for every recap, @SailorJumun!

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Literally all of this, those two books and their messages were just so true to life. I've loved that the most about this show, the messages that people can take away from it about being kind to yourself.

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Me too...love Cheerful Dog story. Despite the cheerful title and image, it has the best hidden messages and stroke the chords so hard 😭.

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i loved how all the fairy tales and small stories really added and mirrored the plot— it added such nice details

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Just found out that the books are written by the script writer, Jo Yong. She's a relatively new writer with just two dramas under her belt, but what amazing talent to come up with the drama script AND Moon Young's story books the drama.

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Agreed! Kang-Tae's character stood out despite the being the more obviously subtle character amongst the three (THANK YOU KSH).

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agree with you, Kangtae finally can see how people around him love him cherish him after he start loving himself. i cried so hard when he called Jaesoo "Hyung"

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What a true masterpiece of a drama. It’s been a beautiful couple of months with it and it breaks my heart that it’s really, truly over. Serious props to the cast and crew for all their hard work; I hope they know what a huge impact they’ve made on so many viewers. I, for one, will carry this drama in my heart for many years to come.

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PERFECTION!! No other words can describe the ending to this drama except perfect. I would not have changed one single thing. First, the utter growth of Kang Tae and how he has changed leaves me very happy, seeing him let everything out and not have his emotions pent up all the time is really beautiful to see. I am also proud of how calm Moon Young has become. Moon Young now respects people's space and gives them time to deal with their emotions. The kiss in the beginning of the episode that Kang Tae gave Moon Young was smoking hot!! Gosh, I loved this episode so much!! The scene where they were reading the story and Moon Young and Sang Tae started to argue.. I laughed so hard.. They are hilarious and it stayed true to who they all were but my favorite scene was when Kang Tae tried to convince them to go on a trip and they said No so he went and got drunk and when he saw them waiting on him with those utterly adorable dino family T-shirts.. I lost it especially when he started to Ugly cry because he was happy they were going. I loved the shots of the camping car trip and I must say that someone on the the crew had to be in love with Kim Soo Hyun because let me tell you he was an entire visual, he really did look flawless during these scenes. Although I was sad, I felt the ending was PERFECT!! ABSOLUTLEY and UTTERLY PERFECT!! Sang Tae going his own way separate from Moon Young and Kang Tae hurt but its a testament to the growth and development of each character. It was time for them to live their separate lives and I was so proud of both brothers for having the strength to let each other go. I loved the ending because it was so natural and it seemed like the perfect ending and continuation of their individual stories. Well Done writers and staff.. seriously well done.

This was one of the most satisfying endings to a K drama I have seen in a long time. I will say it.. I enjoyed this drama more than CLOY and IC and the ending was definitely better. This drama took us on a different type of ride but I enjoyed it the entire time.

PS.. Did you see how they breezed over the plot holes.. 🤣😂😁Aww well.. I stilled loved this amazing drama..

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Yes to the ending! This was a great closure to this huge narrative arc, and handled so well – that it was ST who made the call and they parted closer than they had ever been for the last 20 years.

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That ending, I especially love how the cars first parted in opposite directions, totally giving me the finality and reality that it's the end, my heart tho full felt broken that it's really goodbye.

Then suddenly (after the storybook narration), we see ST asking for coffee before they left and the broken pieces of my heart mended... hey it's farewell but no, I'm not leaving forever but see you soon maybe for coffee sometimes... I felt the warmth.. no other shows have help me overcome the withdrawal so quickly with just one additional scene..

Definitely one worth rewatching again..

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I never got the feeling that it’s “really goodbye” personally. Sang-tae always said that family should live together of course. What I got from the ending was that Sang-tae could be independent now. Kang-tae can take overnight trips for many days not having to worry about Sang-tae. And Sang-tae is no longer scared to death that his brother will abandon him.

But that’s the temporary part - the road trips. As Kang-tae said, he’ll stop when he’s bored and he’d also like to go back to school. So definitely when that time comes, they’ll be back to living together again. But this time, they aren’t obligated to be together - they are because they want to be and that’s the beauty of it all.

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Yes, I think he is still going to live with them but have their separate lives too

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Aha, this series' main poster didn't fit Moon-tae properly well despite of three leads.

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I mean, Moon Sang-tae, not Moon-tae.

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Hands down... I can finally declared that IONTBO is a solid contender of my No. 1 series drama (up till now). A good drama is hard to come by but great dramas are one in a million !!! It was a true masterpiece, from beginning to the end👏👏👏. This show deserves all the recognitions and awards ahead, and especially Mr. OH Jung Sae for his top-notch performance (I'm so glad Seung Jae gave the first book to ST instead of MY and how I cried a river when ST read those to Mom 😭). Not to mentioned Best Wardrobe/Costume by MY's stylist team...damn she is gorgeous in every piece 🥰🥰🥰.

I realized that there are some loose end that can be properly tighten (but I am not voting for extended episode). Apparently, we viewers are the one who always asking for more (more than it intended to be). If I was going to nitpick the final loophole, it would be "how on earth you lay down those shirts and shoes so neatly on the floor while going to the bed" scene 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. Only happen in kdramaland 🙈🙈🙈.

This show was very consistent with its message, and not even had any unnecessary episode (although they did stretching on the ending and mostly play safe mode). By drawing a similar stories with fairytales concept was totally remarkable (even some fairytales are not quite familiar to me). Again, writernim make it crystal clear that this drama is about healingness, even by the last scene between KT and ST where they were still struggling of letting go each other. I am so glad that ST stood his ground firmly by knowing what is more important for his development, how he feels needed by someone else (outside his circle) and he really, really the best character that drama has ever been described.

To all who watching this drama, I hope you will continue to search your happiness, proud of you for hanging there while you are struggling in your life. Please, do not get petition on getting a sequel. I don't want my memories of it to be tainted.

To the next drama...and see you again beanies. Million thanks to @sailorjumun for your hardwork, writing a speedy lightning recap in every single week👍.

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This:
"If I was going to nitpick the final loophole, it would be "how on earth you lay down those shirts and shoes so neatly on the floor while going to the bed" scene." Made me laugh so much, especially that KT managed to get pants off before shoes. That's an achievement...

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And also, the sleeves of the shirt were right side out. That takes some skill. 😂

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And did Moon-young take off her slip before her dress? Or did she just lay her dress on the bed because it's designer?

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Yes! The pants before the shoes momentarily distracted me, too, haha!

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this took my attention too. The discarded clothes literally made a beeline to the bed. My first time seeing such. KT and MY were just so beautiful on that bed. I guess we can forgive them for the 'neat' discarded clothing. lol!!!!

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Am dying at how we all nitpick the details on how they lay down the clothes on the floor perfectly. LOL.

Admit it, we all wished they included the in-between scenes :D

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This... really messed up the fanfic in my mind of this scene...

Conclusion : no frenzy embrace and tearing of clothes to the bed.. have to go with the scenario of him giving her a strip tease, remember that scene of him wearing the suit, reverse it slowly... shoes were kicked off, giving them the distance further away from pants

Her dress was laid on the bed by her, whereas the slip was taken off by him and thrown to the ground.

For sure my mind is messed up, but hey, it's okay not to be okay....

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I won't be one of those people without a medical degree who debates about whether or not the show portrayed mental illnesses correctly (especially MY's ASPD or ST's autism). Doing so would be completely missing the entire point of the show, and undermining all of the messages it has tried to convey.
The mother subplot was definitely disappointing, and there's no denying that it's one of the show's most noticeable flaws, but latching onto it will only make me feel bitter. It'd be unfair to crucify the show and say it was awful just because of this one blunder. Despite wanting answers, this drama has shown us that we don't always get the closure we want. Sometime's it's best to forget and move on. The past is the past, something that we all need to learn how to let go of. (It made it a lot easier for me too when I read other people's POV on the arc, so thank you to all the people who put their thoughts out there to help broaden my perspective!)
This drama wasn't perfect, but the amount of heart that went into it is immense. From the acting to the directing and writing, this drama knew what it wanted to convey to its audience. It stayed true to itself, starting and ending it with our trio. The character development was astonishing to see, and the writer did an amazing job showcasing everyone's growth throughout the show. The use of parallels was super satisfying and rewarding to see as a viewer, and I loved them! There were a few moments where the show did falter, but even then, it would jump back on track by bringing its focus back to our beloved trio, the main strength of the show. After everything that our leads have had to go through and endure, this episode gave them and us the wholesomeness we all needed. The look of pure joy and love they have on their faces while taking selfies on top of the camping car really just shows how freely happy they finally are.
I'm going to miss this drama a lot... I looked forward to weekends knowing a part of my day would be filled with heartfelt moments, laughter, tears and countless smiles. I had so many emotions and thoughts while watching it. I feel like the best dramas bring out this certain feeling of comfort and excitement that I don't often experience. This drama really did that for me. With this year having been so tragic and terrible, this show gave me a sense of hope and warmth while also reminding me that there's still humanity left in the world. I had so much fun watching it and reading about it. Thank you so much to the entire cast and crew for filling up my Saturdays and Sundays with your love and healing!
Finally, thank you so much @SailorJumun for recapping this drama! I really appreciate how much thought and effort you've put into it. It's reassuring knowing that the person recapping a show you're watching is just as invested and cares deeply about it as you do. Thank you ♡

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Because of this forum I am reading "Women Who Run with Wolves" and sending my scream to the Iceland wilderness. Love sharing this incredible show with others who interact daily with children of many abilities - I'm saying all you teachers out there. Thanks to all the beanies who shared and I promise I will register.

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You forgot that Seung-Jae and Jae-soo are definitely converging, but seem even more shy than Kan-il and Ju-ri and that the other nurse said that he ex-congressman's son was definitely her type, and he seemed very pleased. Obviously director Oh has a thing for Ju-Ri's mother, so that's another ship.

While I found the previous episodes poisoned by the inexplicable story of Do Hui-Jae and her cartoonish insanity, I was happier too with the final episode, it is *too* sweet, even if the deer and Moon-Young are still a bit annoying in their own ways.

The best moments of episode 16 for me were when Kang-Tae tells Moon-Young that she is not likeable (implying quite truthfully she is lucky to have a very hot guy like him), and when Moon-Young really really insists several times that she is "sleepy" :-). The second best is when Kang-Tae gets drunk with Jae-Su and Kang-il.

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I'm curious to see Jae-soo's reaction when he finds out Seung-jae is actually five years older than him. Nurse Byul was shown to have a boyfriend in Episode 12. Joo-ri was waiting for Sang-in's call and mistook Byul's ringing phone for her own whose caller was Byul's "oppa." It would be nice if the kids Joo-ri and Cha-yong gave Director Oh and Mom their blessings.

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Can't remember the last time I cried so much at such a happy ending. This was a truly lovely show.

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Happy tears are the best tears. 😭🥰

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Awww. The ending was so apt. It made me cry tears of happiness also. I was a mess after, to think that I watched the finale around midnight. How do I let these three go? 😭 The drama has been a treat and it has been really satisfying going on this journey with our trio.

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I cried during the roadtrip montage, I haven't really ever experienced a Kdrama that made me feel as much as this one. Not sure if it is because they reminded us all that it is actually okay to not be okay, which during this truly horrible time we all need to be reminded of, or just because these three actors actually became their characters and made us feel how loving this family became!

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Thanks so much @sailorjumun for another great re-cap. You've been a star!

So many highlights in this final episode! But the one that made me smile the most: the three of them just enjoying driving in the camping car. There was so much unbridled joy in those moments, as if they were shouting from the rooftops their victory over their pasts. When they were singing with their sunglasses on it just looked like the actors were laughing so hard! ST and MY’s heads lolling from side to side in unison as they slept was hilarious, including KT’s bursting out laughing at it. Teary riding the wind out of the window captured something beautiful. Particularly, I loved the focus on Mang-tae swinging from the mirror – he stands at the centre of them all, as the symbol of their unity and the defeat of their nightmares. The use of Janet Suhh’s OST at this point was perfect, too. Those brilliant moments of film-making and the emotions they caught will stay with me for a very long time. Thank you IOTNBO for delivering so well!

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that whole scene cemented this drama as one of my very favourites, it looked so much like the actors having the time of their lives and it brought so much joy to the screen!!
If this drama doesnt win bag loads of awards, it will be a complete travesty!

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It should be my fantasy titled final change after IOTNBO:

''It's Okay to Be Okay Already''

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This is one of the BEST ENDING episode in kdrama for me. The happy ending story is real. I forget the last drama which made me cry of happiness and feel so warm. I don't care about Do Hui Jae anymore, yess it's a flaw or minor hole but the most important was the trio's journey of healing and finding their own happiness. The sweet montage of their trip with camping car (Moon Young's minimalist makeup and hairstyle, her simple outfit, kang tae and sang tae consistency of wearing stripes, plain t-shirt and slippers) made me cried harder than watching them in pain.

The show will definitely last in my heart for a long long time. I want to see Kim Soo Hyun, Oh Jung Se and Seo Ye Ji in another drama soon but I think I'm not ready to see them in another character right now.

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For the sake of those who view this show as perfect, I'm going to leave out my criticisms. This show is aesthetically and musically flawless, watching it felt like stepping into a different world. The main trio were unfathomably amazing, from their performances to their chemistry to their character growth. I'm very happy that I finished this, it's a worthy Bean.

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If you could like a comment a million times...

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🥰

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a huge, HUGE thank you to @sailorjumun for all the recaps and for always getting them out so quick <33

these last 2 episodes were full of love and now i’m so sad this show is over. i really liked the callbacks in these episodes, i noticed they didn’t really seem forced or awkward (except for maybe the deer thing with gangtae, i thought that was a bit out of character BUT IT’S FINE).

i definitely feel like the writing in the later episodes was a bit forced. i was really excited to find the head nurse was the mom, but they made her into a cartoon villain. and i feel like i saw way too many episodes on gangtae and moonyoung fighting about how they’re not meant to be together, and the same conflicts kept playing over and over. i really miss the darkness the first four (or five) episodes captured, because this show has taken a more lighthearted tone than what it started with. i also wish the show discussed moonyoung’s antisocial personality disorder more. i liked the show, but it became slightly predictable and cute after a while. which is fine, but it’s not what i fell in LOVE with in the beginning.

but anyway, to focus on what the show did WELL...
this is the first drama i’ve seen seo yeji in, and i’m so happy i found her. she’s shown so much pain, so much happiness, so much humor, and it’s crazy how much emotion she can convey with just her eyes and those micro expressions. oh jung se made sangtae into such a pure and warm character and perfectly captured the characteristics of someone on the spectrum (i still can’t believe he’s the same actor i saw in when the camellia blooms because sangtae is so different). and of course, kim soo hyun stole my heart with each gaze and each small smile.

and that chemistry between moonyoung and gangtae was absolutely ELECTRIC from their first meeting, but it warmed my heart to see how they made each other better people. and the trio had such good chemistry together, (but did anyone else find sangtae leaving a bit abrupt?)

at the end of the day, this show was special. each and every character made this show as beautiful as it is, from the leads to the supporting characters to the patients, and i know i’ll miss this drama and the actors for a while.

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i still like those light and airy relationships the show had, i’m just saying that i didn’t realize that’s how it was going to be from the initial episodes. still love moonyoung and sangtae’s friendship to death tho

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The last role I saw Oh Jung-Se was as the a**hole/villain husband in Mistress. Man, was this a surprise.

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his role in camellia was kinda a jerk but like it was funny. but sangtae just makes you CRY

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He was sooooo good in Mistress! If not for the weird last five minutes, I would have called the show perfect.

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This drama had left me speechless.. It’s just perfectly imperfect!

Thanks for the all your recaps @sailorjumun ❤️

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The ending (meaning the last episode) was beautiful. I loved the storybook, I loved their camping trip. I loved all the things that happened to the characters.

Overall I give the Show 6/10.

I'm disappointed at the evil mom arc. I wanted the darkness of that to have been present in MY's mind as a product of her trauma. And that's the reason why she is how she is. It could have been done that way and still made the mom's evil and darkness come out very strong and dark. Not just for MY but for the brothers too.

Because most of the evils we face are in our heads and for people with mental illness, charging on with that darkness is an impossibility or is extremely difficult. It's different when the "demon" is an actual person that others can see and validate. Mental illness is so hard to process literally because those of us who dont have it, dont know exactly what goes on inside. And to love someone fully doesnt need validation in the sense that "I need to see what makes you scared for me to love you". No. Love, in the purest sense means, "I love you." MY has shown this for KT and for that I applaud the Show.

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This drama will hold a special place in my heart for a very long time. I was always excited for this drama from the start because of the cast but never could I imagine that it would be executed almost perfectly. The story was intriguing and the characters resonated with me so many times even though our experiences in life were different. Seriously the main 3 characters are one of the best written characters I’ve seen in a long time and when I think back to how much they’ve grown and found their own worth compared to the initial episodes I feel so happy. This episode was so good and so satisfying. I love that our supporting characters got a good send off too.

The acting was so freaking good. I’ve been a fan of KSH, SYJ, and OJS, but this drama made me love them even more. They breathed so much life in their character, made me smile when they smiled, made me sob when they cried. The years not over yet but I can safely say this is my favourite drama of the year.

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Thank you @sailorjumun for all the recaps. This was/is my first "live" k-drama - being in the US, it's tough to watch anything live so I truly appreciate the speedy recaps and all the nuances from all the other "beanies" who chipped in with cultural and colloquial idiosyncrasies.

Regarding this drama, the first 8 episodes were amazing. The second half seemed like someone padding an essay to meet the requisite 1,000 words or 7 pages or whatever. No use beating a dead horse, but weaving in Do Hui-jae in person was unnecessary. This wasn't a murder mystery where we had to know who killed the brothers' mom. Worse, we never found out how she managed to survive the fall and being dropped in the lake. Another incredulous event was how did KT not see MY running barefoot to the cursed castle since he drove and got there before she did. (Sorry, this is just my engineering/analytical mind seeping through.) Overall, it's still a good series, but it lost a lot of oomph for me.

Lastly, thank you again to you @sailorjumun (amazing recaps!!! I'm not surprised that you divulged that you're a writer), @asterell, @eazal, @mindy (I hope your covid test is negative) and a bunch of others who made my experience on this board and for this show so enriching.

Stay safe everyone!!!

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They had Sang-in explain doing an illegal u-turn and almost hitting a deer but glossed over how MY arrived at the castle at the speed of light ! Flattered to have helped!

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LOL guys. yes especially since there is only one darned road to the castle. i actually envisioned Sang-in did a u-turn and cut across Moon-young's path, gave-in and offered her a ride back to the castle. Am I not mistaken to have seen the red car in their driveway in the end? Idk maybe that was my wishful thinking...

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Dunno about the car in the driveway, but I assumed the same about Sang In's u-turn to easily catch up to Moon Young and driving her back.

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And not to mentioned KMY's bed. Always top clean,nicely done every single time (what a magic bed!!! I need it soooooo much 😆).

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Not to mention her nails were always perfect with new shades of polish.😊

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I really wish they had repainted Moon-young's fingernails once she and Kang-tae made up because it was so jarring that her nail polish was still black when Kang-tae held her hand after Moon-young told him, "I love you." When her character was introduced, Moon-young's polish was black, but after her and Kang-tae's tension-filled conversation "I liked her." at the publishing company, her nail color changed to white ever since the book signing in episode 2. (Except for her shades of green in episode 8 and blue in episode 12.) When she found out her father was dying, Moon-young wore black polish to the hospital, but it was back to white after his funeral, until she painted them black again for the final showdown with Mom. I just feel the color black signifies her dark past, and because Kang-tae brought light into Moon-young's life, her fingernails should not have been black.

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Or that she has always such *perfect* every single time she wakes up from sleep.

Magic hair. I need it desperately too 😂

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You know, like KMY, I also braid my hair perfectly whenever I'm feeling depressed. I also wake up with flawless sparkly light peach/pink eye makeup every morning even if I spent the night crying. 😅

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@doublefault

Don’t troll meeee! Provide the exact details of your beauty equipment. I will fly to the moon and grab it if I need to. 😂

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okay but regular sleep is one thing but her makeup was perfect even after a whole night of going at it lol what setting spray is she using i need the deets sis

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Wow, @sailorjumun thank you so much for your recap and thoughts. I'm glad to say that despite Hui-jae's odd and out-of-sync story...I was not bothered. Her presence was felt in the majority of the drama psychologically, so it didn't shatter me to learn she was alive and go through that weird plot/segue thing we had...Iike you said sailorjumun, i was just glad it went by fast. I think the writer had a brain fart and reverted to old trope of bringing ppl back from the dead.

But anyway enough about that, I was stunned by the end. Like stunned. When Moon-young started to say she loves Kang-tae for real in the end, I had a momentary thought that she was saying goodbye, temporary, for a mental health break hahahaa. I've been preparing myself for a short break between the couple for many weeks now. I expected one of the two or both to need therapy. What I was not prepared for was Sang-tae's arc. Wow. I am just speechless at his growth. I never expected the couple (Kang-tae & Sang-tae) to separate. I thought they would be one tiny joint family under a roof for life. And what was so poignant was the pride Sang-tae felt at "being needed" elsewhere. I think what really got to me was the fact that Sang-tae was leaving for himself, not for Kang-tae. He was leaving for his dream and independence. And that made me so emotional and happy for him. I know its not an actual goodbye and just a new chapter in their lives but damn that hit hard. Also that caravan ride in the end made me super emotional. I have always dreamed of traveling with people I love so the way they portrayed the three having the time of their lives in the end was just breathtaking. It was paradise.

Lastly, I am curious to know how many people think Sang-tae knows about Hui-jae's identity, that she's actually Moon-young's mother. Sang-tae is sneaky and I think when he awoke from his slumber at the nick of time to hit Hui-jae with the book, I think he heard her say she's Moon-young's mother. I haven't spoken about this since because I thought the drama would address it in this episode. But I wanna know other beanies' thoughts. I would like to imagine that when Sang-tae confidently stated he would keep Dooly's umma, he metaphorically meant Moon-young because he actually KNEW Hui-jae was the butterfly and Moon-young's mother. If that's not the case, then idk how I feel about Moon-young and Kang-tae keeping that from Sang-tae. They underestimate Sang-tae's hyper-rationality. ST is smooth as eff and is more rational than the other two when he receives information in an appropriate way and because he was healing so well from the butterfly trauma. So he could have handled the truth head-on better than the other two did if the others were forthcoming about it, in my opinion.

But guys this drama now has a piece of my heart. It was not without its flaws but man, was it gold?! Experiencing some severe withdrawal. I am stunned by near perfection. As sailorjumun so aptly put in,...

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*my comment cut off since I wrote too much and I sort forgot what I had written in the end so here is me attempting to re-write it!*

As sailorjumun so aptly put it, this drama will not leave my memory or heart anytime soon. It has been a while since television/movie has gotten to me in this way and its so very satisfying. Thank you to all the cool beanies and sailorjumun for your top-notch discussions and fawning; I had so much fun!

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Hmmm interesting, did ST know about Nurse Park being DHJ being mom's killer?? Hmmmm, during my nerdy rewatch, I'll look for easter eggs hahaha.

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I assume that ST oppa knows because of what he told KT when he was about to dispose off of the stuffed dinosaur. That only the one that gave Dooly was bad but not Dooly herself. So he wants to keep her.

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@doublefault okay I'm gonna choose to believe that as well 😌

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@ltung23 lol please do and inform us all!

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Life has kept me away from dramaland the last few weeks but I've managed to binge watch the last 4 episodes just in time for the finale's recap, HOORAY! Its been a bumpy ride but our trio have finally break free from their 'own' limitations and started a new journey. Honestly am not completely satisfied with how they got there, since am not a fan of the predictable and underwhelming turns the show took to solve their main characters' conflicts (mostly everything related to the killer mother and the 'treatment' of psychological problems); but I cannot denied that the writers always found ways to surprise me, entertain me, and most importantly, to move me. So, maybe the show didn't ended up being exactly what I want it to be, but it turn out being exactly what I needed, specially in these turbulent and depressing times we are living.

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«characters' conflicts (mostly everything related to the killer mother»

Actually the problems were caused by both mother Ko and mother Moon: mother Ko for being a cartoonish villainess, and mother Moon for being a much more realistic mother who treated Kang-Tae with amazing coldness, as sometimes parents who have favorites do to the children that are not favorites.
As to that one of the ironies of the show is that mother Moon was killed by mother Ko for caring about Moon-Young, while she cared very little for Kang-Tae.

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The satisfying, not-too-fluffy, but still positive finale was one of the best! There were many meaningful scenes.

Kang Tae, Sang Tae, and Moon Young. ♥♥♥ Their character growth was the main thing I wanted to see and the drama totally delivered on that front. I wasn't even hyped about the romance factor at the beginning. Instead, I was curious about these broken people and what they were struggling with. I wanted to see their journey and hoped that they would heal and become better people. They accomplished that. The family vibe was so heartwarming. Loved their camping trip montage.

It was good to see Kang Tae asking for help from a professional, but I would have liked seeing Moon Young doing the same. She has improved though.

Moved on from Do Hui Jae's story. I like the actress though. The part/writing just wasn't great. If her death had been written differently, then it would have been more plausible. (Like no suitcase, etc. lol) Despite this minor blip, I'm still a fan of this drama. Loved the use of fairy tales. I hope they win some awards. Oh Jung Se was incredible in this role.

It's been a fun, but also, at times, tiring ride. Thanks for the awesome and fast recaps, SailorJumun, and thanks to all the Beanies who shared their insights! ♥♥

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The mom plot was silly, but I am so in love with our trio that I forgive it, and that’s where the drama succeeded. What a beautiful, sweet ending. They earned it!

Thanks for the recaps!

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Joy, this last episode was wonderful and nearly made up for the last three. I love every bit of Sang Tae's growth and independence. I loved how Moon Young and Kang Tae "evolved"😍🥰😁 together. This ending was perfect and I am so glad it ended well.

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Jesus Christ I thought I cried all my share of tears in the past 15 episodes of angst and heartbreak and growth. Then the writer decided, no no no. You get an hour and 20 min more of tears because I said so. UGH. I’ve genuinely never cried this much in an episode for any drama or movie. And the funniest part is that it’s not even a sad episode. It a damn happy one. I was watching on TV and hilariously, my mom was like... oh? It’s a sad ending? Too bad, cheer up. 😂

But okay, so there were exactly three scenes where I was fully brawling. The entirety of others I was simply crying lol. First was Kang-tae calling Jae-su “Hyung”. That. Was. Freakin. Heartfelt. That really hit me. I always loved all these characters but I’ve had a soft spot for Jae-su since day one. He’s Kang-tae’s rock. The person who was there for him through it all without asking for anything in return. I love that when Kang-tae told him he didn’t need a Hyung, he easily slid into a best friend role. And I love it even more than now, Kang-tae would like another Hyung, he’s just so so happy. Jae-su’s reaction and when he kept asking to be called Hyung - somehow that got me real hard. I love his character so much.

The second scene was when Kang-tae hugged Joo-ri’s mom. Again, she was such a pillar of strength for everyone in this drama and particularly Kang-tae. She showed him a mother’s love but also showed him that his real mother also loved him. It was great how both brothers were able to acknowledge her and tell her they love her. God that was beyond sweet.

And lastly - also where my eyes got so swollen, it took hours to ease - was the brothers thanking each other in the end. That was simply beautiful and one of the most heartfelt scene I’ve ever seen in my life. The meaning of independence, letting your child go almost, and also getting the acknowledgment from them that they are thankful for everything. How absolutely heart breaking and heartwarming was that? The way Sang-tae said thank you and the way Kang-tae fully embraced that he’s thankful for a Hyung like Sang-tae. I’m kinda getting teary eyed now so I’ll stop LOL.

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Lolllll Mandy. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Emotional whirlwind was literally the whole drama. Never experienced 16 hours in my life so consistently stunned like this to be honest. Every bloody episode taught a lesson and hit somewhere deep so that I stayed up nights thnking about what it effing meant for me hahaaa

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LOL... “what it means to me”

Tell me about it 😂
The drama is tooooo deep for a fairytale. I was trying to explain it to a friend and getting them to watch it. I said “the drama is about a caretaker, his autistic brother, a possibly-ASPD woman set in a mental health facility. Oh and it takes life lessons from fairytales.”

It sound so... absurd. And yet it’s so deep and... ugh. This drama got me real good.

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Right I've been trying to get ppl on board and NO ONE in my circle caved hahaaa. Leaving me seeking emotional support from ya'll every week about how good it is 😭

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Lol I’ve been luckier (or flower-ire?) with my convincing skills. I might’ve manipulated a few things here and there tho 🤣. The trick is to get them started. After that, the won’t even care what made them start.

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I might've expended my manipulative skills long ago so my friends and family see right through me. Its also a heavy subject, which is why many in my circle are saving it for later/avoiding it. I avoid and gravitate towards media based upon my mood as well so I don't blame them. I'm just so glad this community was here for me to vent and fangirl with!

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Yes, "consistently stunned" is a great way to put it. First, we were stunned that the serious actress SYJ is playing the Jeon Jihyun role and doing it even crazier. Then, we were stunned as the show's main locales became a mental hospital and a cursed castle. Then we were stunned by KSH's abs and OSJ's acting. Then we were stunned by the fairy tale books and murder mystery and the Nurse Park plothole and sexy times ...... One after another. Episode 16 actually felt calm.

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...cont

One of things I hate most about closed endings is when it’s too closed. So much that the last scene felt like the end. That the characters don’t live a life after it. There’s something to be said about a story that has such a beautiful happily ever after and yet feels like there are so many pages yet to be turned and so many adventures still untold. It’s quite an uplifting way to end.

Now onto the performances. The ensemble cast and characters of this drama is brilliant. I love every single one them from Dr Oh, to Joo-ri’s home mates. Shout out to Kim Mi-kyung who’s one of my favourite dramaland supporting actress. She always just gets me. I lufffff her!

And of course the main cast. SYJ was of course amazing. I’ve only seen her in Moorim so this was quite a turn around for her. She made Moon-young truly relatable and loveable when from a lesser actress, she could’ve been a very difficult character to like. Moon-young started off so differently yet it never felt she lost her main essence so hats off to SYJ. I hope she uses this as a launching pad for her career because she deserves to go places.

OJS was marvellous. It’s my first time seeing him in anything actually. So to say I’m impressed is a bit of an understatement. What an actor, and what a performance. Kang-tae as a character wasn’t typical-nice autistic either. He had a personality, real feelings and can be vicious even if he doesn’t intend it. The character was just so well written and so well acted. OJS deserves all the recognition in the world!

And lastly KSH, who honestly had the least colourful character amongst the three and yet who to me, shone the most. Some people tweeted photos of many comments on Koala’s blog so I’m somewhat stealing this from them when I say - KSH was so brilliant because he managed to make a somewhat typical and obscure character into a real hero. This performance has to be one of his best and in every frame he was just Moon Kang-tae. It’s not the KSH fan in me saying this but the IOTNBO fan instead: Kang-tae to me was the soul of this drama, and the person I related to the most. I based my reactions on his so what he felt about things was exactly how I did. When he was angry, so was I. When he was sad, crying, frustrated, devastated or happy, I was right there along with him. I believe I’ve said this before but KSH is so present in every scene. Every frame he’s alive and in the moment. There are very few actors I feel so strongly for so I just hope he won’t stay away from the industry for too long. That talent is just so precious to waste.

I’ll end this comment with one of the best line in the drama: “I like myself best”. Such an ordinary line yet so impactful. I went through the ringer for 16 episodes to hear this from you, Kang-tae!! And for that alone this drama deserves 11/10.

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I thought I knew OJS, seeing him on screen for almost a decade. Then this show happened. It made me wonder how many talented actors/actresses there must be, relegated to playing 'minor' roles until given the chance.

Kang-tae was the most relatable, but somehow the most pitiable? KSH portrayed Kang-tae to be so ordinary, which is a feat considering, hello his face, but also managed to deliver how his mental state was the worst out of all the characters, which I thought worked to this drama's comment on blurred lines between labels and mental health.

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KSH was seriously brilliant in this drama. Honestly, this role could’ve gone wrong in a lot of ways. Kang-tae was neither heroic, nor swoony on paper - he wasn’t even interesting like Moon-young or Sang-tae. But I believe being able to make the most “boring” character the one most people can relate to is real talent. KSH was just awesome and in general knows to make a character feel alive. Seung-chan was such caricature on paper too. So his execution of all his roles have been really top notch.

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i would just like to let you know that i actually started crying reading your last paragraph lol that scene was truly something else, especially when they pulled in the younger sang tae, as if to acknowledge he has known the magnitude of kang tae's love for him all along. these brothers will have my heart forever.

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It was such a brutal scene right at the end, but in the best way possible. I was watching on TV and my mom passed by asking “oh no... was it a sad ending?” LOL. I was literally sobbing while I said no... it’s actually so happy 😂 Probably looked a complete buffoon, but yea. This drama does things to me lol.

These brothers were everything for me in this drama. I love that they came back to the point of independence from each other. But to me, this scene was also about true forgiveness and acceptance of each other and just being regular brothers. That moment when Sang-tae casually wiped Kang-tae’s tears before hugging him? Like come on show... that’s just harsh for my eyes lol.

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I watched this last episode with a bittersweet feeling, like I’m sending off old friends, but I know that they’re in a better place and I’m excited for what is to come for them. Every minute of this epilogue felt well deserved, like we had to go through so much to get to this point, but the emotional pay off made every painful moment worth it. And it blew my expectations way out of the water. I loved the reconciliation between our leads, I loved LOVED moon young and sang tae's book and the beautiful story of the real, real face. I loved that sang tae finally found a best friend in moon young, and how they quarrel and make up all the time. I loved how kang tae is so incredibly expressive, unafraid to show his true feelings, to pout and wheedle his way to get what he wants, and to throw a fit when he doesn’t get it.

And I especially loved the ending scene where our brothers learned to let go of each other. While watching the earlier episodes, I always wondered how we could get there to the point of sang tae and kang tae learning to coexist independently and to be their own person. But the drama handled it so beautifully and convincingly, and there was just so much pride and tears welling within me when I realised that they didn’t forget this aspect of their journey. We’ve been sold and taken in so well over the last few episodes of the existence of our trio as a family unit, that i’ve forgotten that part of the journey is about them learning to lead meaningful lives apart from one another. The two brothers are the heart of the show and this scene solidified the belief for me of the love the production team has towards these characters. They have always known the story they wanted to tell, the place they wanted to bring the characters to and never wavered in the process.

This drama may not have been perfect to all, but it was perfect for me and that’s all that mattered. Thank you to the production team for this beautiful story and the love they poured into it. Thank you to our amazing, amazing cast who embodied and breathed life into the characters (this is officially my favourite KSH drama of all time). Thank you to this amazing beanie community for accompanying me through this 8 week long journey. Thank you, show, for being the most perfect drama to exist in awhile and for reminding me of the power of storytelling as a medium. For being a show that knew its characters inside out and loved them so much, that wasn’t afraid to delve into the pain and the darkness and to show that it’s okay to not be okay. Thank you for moving me, for making me feel so much and for giving our three the most perfect send off they could have, doing the things they love with the promise of a new beginning. What an end, what a show :’)

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i love this comment so much. so well articulated and couldn't agree more!

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Thank you for the recaps!!

The ending was perfect. When this show started, we all had doubts about whether they will end up together or not. That's how much their relationship looked unstable, toxic even. They were both in such bad shape that we thought I relationship would only make it worse. Watching them now, I fully support this couple. They've gone through so much, found themselves (and their real faces), and I can let go of them knowing they will be fine.

It didn't leave me hanging at all. I have no questions. I'm completely satisfied. The callback to other characters was beautiful. They were even included in the book! I love that because the people around them helped them through this healing process. I'm so glad it got acknowledged. Also emphasizes what Director Oh said to Hui-jae. We stay together because we are weak. That's what makes us human.

Okay, I love everyone in this show but the person who I will always keep close to my heart is Sang-tae. Oh how proud I am of this man. His journey is brave and inspiring. Oh Jung-se breathed life into the character and he honestly deserves every award out there.

Beautiful drama all through out. Story, acting, and directing were top notch. The quality was never lacking. They gave us the best look this drama could ever be. Thank you to the actors, writer, directors, whole production staff, and everyone involved with this masterpiece! Lots of love for beanies who shared their opinions here in such an intelligent and respectful manner. 💙

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I enjoyed the ride Show, and for that, thank you!

P.S. I also want a hug from Sang-tae.

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i have never before experienced watching a show where i could say with so much love and conviction that each new episode we got was my new favorite. kdramas are known for many things, but strong writing is not one of those things. what a wonderful surprise then that the thing that shines the most here and sets it apart from most other dramas is the writing. many of us were apprehensive about this show centering around mental health, bc it's such a delicate subject, and there is no universal right or wrong way to write mental health bc it is such a complex, nuanced, and sensitive condition that affects everyone differently. what the writing got right, i think, is that it steered clear of trying to fit mental health and the people suffering from its many afflictions under a single broad stroke. instead, it chose to focus on smaller stories, stories of everyday people like you and me, who are struggling against a faceless foe. in doing so, the writing allowed itself to focus on what's most important: humanizing these people that are shunned from society, written off like defected pieces in a large, mechanical factory, discarded into a cruel pile that calls for redesign and reformation.

it demonstrated, with each character's toil, that there isn't a world of difference between someone admitted to a mental institution for recuperation, and another someone who's tasked with caring for them. dispelling popular belief, it highlighted that even the people who are supposedly okay, in fact, are not okay. and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. the state of not being okay is not permanent. it's a necessary evil that everyone must experience and overcome to grow and heal. and there's no way we can be okay, if we do not accept and admit to ourselves that we have been "not okay". the writing in this show beautifully relayed this message. it took us on a journey of heartbreak, pain, vindication, redemption, and finally, acceptance. it didn't alienate people struggling with mental illnesses, instead choosing to draw parallels between both the patients and non-patients at okay psychiatric hospital, highlighting both of their need to go through this cycle to truly heal, regardless of what label society stamped on them. using something as universal as fairy tales as a frame of reference, jo yong delivered a lesson in empathy that each and every one of us can stand to learn something from.

of course, the writing was further elevated by the absolutely stunning direction. park shin woo breathed magic into this fairy tale of fairy tales, his visual flair and prowess taking this production to a place very few tv shows (dramas or not) have transported me to. i remember taking pause to admire the direction and cinematography in encounter, and wondering if we'd get to see more dramas that are just as visually enchanting. suffice to say, park shin woo delivered again, and it's clear he has grown tremendously since his last project. it's okay to...

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(wow this is my first time needing to break up a post in two lol)

...it's clear he has grown tremendously since his last project. it's okay to not be okay is the work of a director who believes in the power of visual storytelling, and knows exactly what to do to harness that power.

lastly, a story can never be told without the characters, and characters only resonate with viewers when actors take the time and care to understand why and how they live and breathe. kim soo hyun, seo yeji, and oh jung se breathed life and wonder into their characters with astonishing depth and finesse. so much so that kim soo hyun, an actor who has had several career-defining roles, will now forever be engraved in my heart as the boy without a sense of self, who had to hit rock bottom to be able to rise up and find himself. seo yeji will always be the haughty emotionless princess, who lacked kindness and empathy only bc she had never been on the receiving end of those emotions herself. and oh jung se, man if anyone walks away with an award for their performance in this show, it has got to be him. oh jung se brought sang tae to life in such an authentic, affecting, and powerful way that his growth ended up being the very backbone of the entire story. it is obvious he put his heart and soul into this role, and in doing so, he left us with one of the most memorable characters in kdramaland. moon sang tae is not someone who is defined or confined by their autism. moon sang tae is someone who is not afraid to push the envelope even when his methods are shaped by his autism. he is an inspiration, who will comfort and uplift many for years to come.

looking back, i had just hoped this show wouldn't be a train-wreck. it blew my non-existent expectations out of the water with its first four episodes, which then propelled me into this state of anxiety, wherein i was constantly worried the rest of the show wouldn't and couldn't live up to the excellent beginning. but as it kept defiantly raising the bar higher with each episode, my anxiety naturally turned into trust in jo yong. i think it's this goodwill and utter fondness she's earned that makes me impervious to a fault many are not too happy with. she took this story to places i'd never even thought of, and she did it with so much splendor and grace that in my eyes, this show is a through and through bonafide win. to me, this drama is perfect. and even looking at it through a lens of objectivity, it is as close as any drama has ever come to achieving perfection. i said what i said! ;)

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@dogemama I paused and re-winded to visually take it in an embarrassing amt of times. Lol I agree it was near perfection 🙊. I say that and no one in my circle believes me; hence I was alone watching this 😭. I actually can't believe this is Jo Yong's second drama? I'm amazed. I'm sure the directing enhanced the storytelling. In the bts/bloopers, the director is so chill and calm. Lol he just casually gives the most nuanced directions that he almost looks like he's not directing at all and they're just adlibbing/goofing off all the time. Such an incredible team...

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has anyone seen jo yong's first drama, jugglers? it seems a bit more mainstream/office slice of life?

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i think @mandy had mentioned previously that she did.

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i am in awe of jo yong, and seriously cannot fathom how this is just her second drama. what's even more shocking, apparently, her first drama is nothing to write home about. this story must have taken so much emotional labor, incredible amounts of vulnerability, and a hecka lot of research to write. it's evident that she poured her heart and soul into this. i am forever grateful, and a forever fan.

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@dogemama so crazy. and @Itung23 i have no idea but i'm curious. Like dogemama said, the plot summary seems basic? So this must truly be her breakthrough, which is really great

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I will be on the lookout for this writer's next work. Hopefully, it's another collab with this director because this show was magic.

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@asterell @kakakash @ltung23 jo yong has been getting a lot of attention in kmedia, and she is being widely acknowledged as a very skilled writer. i think her next project will be high profile on her own merit, which makes me very happy.

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@dogemama yay thats so good to know! It makes me so happy! I hope she brings more to us with this level of detail. Wish I could read Korean so that I’d know/be able to read such news...

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