It’s Okay To Not Be Okay Review: Episode 5

While the initial episodes were loaded with meaningful interactions and intense flashbacks into the past, this one is much more light-hearted. Most of Episode 5 leans towards fun and humor rather than emotionally heavy. Moon-young (Seo Ye-ji) and Kang-tae (Kim Soo-hyun) find themselves in some strange and hilarious situations and connect in ways they didn’t expect to. The mystery surrounding Moon-young’s father deepens, and we end with a revelation that is not entirely unsurprising.

After finding her drenched, Kang-tae takes Moon-young to a motel to escape the rain. Long-time fans of K-drama know that this is one of the best tropes in romantic comedy. I mean, the leads getting stuck in a shady motel with the staff making innuendos? Sign me up. We have Jung Sang-hoon (Team Bulldog: Off-duty Investigation) in a delightful cameo as the inquisitive clerk at Bates Motel, which is a nod to the American psychological horror TV series based on the cult-classic Psycho. Then, instead of the female lead being awkward and embarrassed, we have an aggressive Moon-young teasing Kang-tae and getting him all flustered.

Seo Ye-ji and Kim Soo-hyun might be one of the best drama pairings to grace our screens in a long while. Not only is their chemistry amazing, they have complementary comic timings, too! The motel scene is followed by Kang-tae bringing Moon-young over to his place. And, oh my god. He’s like a teenager whose crush is visiting, hiding dinosaur-patterned undies with lightning-fast speed. Moon-young obviously tries to be as annoying as possible by hogging Kang-tae’s bed and shamelessly checking him out. The mood shifts to being romantic when they share a soft moment that leaves Moon-young affected. By the end, we are firmly back in the emotional territory as they drift off to sleep while talking about their lives. Ugh, this is already one of my favorite episodes!

In addition to dealing with Moon-young, Kang-tae also has to placate Sang-tae (Oh Jung-se), who is still agitated because of Kang-tae’s outburst at the hospital. Poor guy, can’t catch a break. In previous episodes, we’ve seen how Sang-tae’s visual imagination works. This time, we learn how he reads and processes emotions. Kang-tae has a chart at home to teach Sang-tae what different human emotions look like. He shares that because his hyung is always reading his face, he tries very hard to school his expressions. Every time Kang-tae reveals just how minutely he controls his life for his hyung, it breaks my heart anew.

This prompts Moon-young to wonder if he’s always faked all his emotions, even when he was a kid. She seems genuinely curious about his life. Somehow, they get talking about the girl from Kang-tae’s past who reminds him of her. Kang-tae reveals that he thinks himself a coward for running away from her and has been running since that day. But Moon-young points out that just now, he ran to her, and it’s so lovely to see them have intimate conversations and open up to each other.

As is probably becoming usual with this couple, all soft moments end in wild misunderstandings and shouting matches. The next day, Moon-young and Joo-ri get into a fight and everyone in the house finds out that Moon-young spent the night with Kang-tae. All those efforts Kang-tae made to keep Jae-su and Sang-tae from finding out gone to waste. Kang-tae blames Moon-young and kicks her out, then runs to apologize to Sang-tae for lying. In a hilarious twist, it turns out that Sang-tae is not mad that Kang-tae lied but that he let Moon-young borrow his own clothes instead of Sang-tae’s. Aww, does Sang-tae have a crush?

The usually careful Kang-tae admits to Jae-su that he’s starting to forget the things that hold him back from being impulsive—Sang-tae, his scars, the butterflies. Despite being mad at being kicked out, Moon-young can’t stop thinking about Kang-tae. While these two deal with their emotions, Manager Lee (Kim Joo-hun) and Seung-jae (Park Jin-joo) try to deal with their publishing firm going bankrupt because of Moon-young’s scandals. Over at OK Hospital, a mysterious ghost who likes to hum makes an appearance. A patient named Kang Eun-ja (Bae Hae-sun) takes interest in Kang-tae. Dr. Oh Ji-wang tries to get to the bottom of Sang-tae’s fear of butterflies, and Moon-young’s father worsens after a strange dream.

Once again, no side characters are really grabbing my interest in this show. Joo-ri (Park Gyu-young) could have been a legitimate source of tension between Moon-young and Kang-tae, considering she has history with both of them. But Kang-tae is so uninterested that I don’t foresee her being a threat at all. However, her two-facedness and violent impulses add a layer of unpredictability to her, especially during the scenes of her getting slapped by a patient at the hospital and fighting Moon-young. She also seems far too interested in finding out about Moon-young and her father’s past, and might be instrumental during that reveal.

I also like Jae-su (Kang Ki-doong) for being a dedicated best friend and sagely advising Kang-tae to steer clear of Moon-young. As much as I love our leads, I’d do the same if my best friend was in a similar situation. He’s both a great friend and hilarious, so I’m hoping the show does more with his arc than just having him be Kang-tae’s sidekick. Dr. Oh (Kim Chang-wan) is also an interesting character, especially when it comes to his creative approaches while treating his patients. But again, both these characters pale in comparison to the main arc.

The final scene brings the past and present together when Moon-young and Kang-tae come face-to-face once again at her family home. The lead-up to this moment—Moon-young kidnapping Sang-tae, getting him drunk, making him sign a contract to work for her and live at her house, then using him to call Kang-tae over—is very weird and left a bad taste in my mouth. I know she’s not supposed to be responsible and good, but I still want to be rooting for her. And putting an autistic person in potential danger is not it.

As Moon-young waits for Kang-tae, she thinks about how as a child she had prayed for a prince to rescue her from her controlling home. Little Moon-young had been delighted that little Kang-tae had wanted to be friends, but her controlling mother had forced her to rebuff him. I’m enjoying these insights that build upon the main characters and explain why they are the way they are. And so, it turns out Kang-tae has known who Moon-young is all this while. I’m not exactly surprised, but I’d like to know why he hid this fact from her. The character development is so delicious and well-written!

Indoor Enthusiast

Indoor Enthusiast (Esha) is usually found going on rants about how Ji Hae-soo from It's Okay That's Love and Sung Bora from Reply 1988 are the best heroines to grace our screens. Thrillers like Secret Forest and rom-coms with sprinklings of feminism à la Because This Life Is My First hold a special place in her heart. She can be reached at [email protected]