It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Episode 7 Recap

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Episode 7 “The Cheerful Dog” 

In her dream Moon Young’s mother vows to kill Kang Tae. Ko Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji) cries out in her sleep.  Moon Kang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun) hears her and rushes to her bedroom. He holds Moon Young who sobs that he must run and leave the house. She gives his shirt the death grip as she orders him to go. Kang Tae holds her and declares he won’t leave her. He holds her head and her hand soothing Moon Young. He soothes her to sleep. He falls asleep too. The next morning Moon Young isn’t impressed that Kang Tae came to her. She’s prickly about her previous day’s interaction with the patient that believe herself to be Moon Young’s mother. Kang Tae doesn’t judge and leaves her bedroom.

Kang Tae tells Moon Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se) (Kang Tae’s brother) he’ll drive him to Jae Soo’s eatery. Kang Tae surprises his brother with the statement he’s skipping work today.

At the psychiatric hospital, the team reviews the video of Moon Young’s interaction with the patient. The patient lays in her room. Director Oh tells his team that the patient may come out of her delusion that her daughter is still alive. The team speculates that Moon Young said something hurtful to the patient. Some of the staff believe Moon Young should be banned. Director Oh refuses to do this until he knows what was said between Moon Young and the patient. He wants to speak with Kang Tae but is told Kang Tae is taking the day off.

During the bus ride to Jae Soo’s eatery, Kang Tae suggests that Sang Tae is doing too much. He worries Sang Tae will fall ill. Sang Tae counters that Kang Tae is the one that moans like a dog in his sleep. Kang Tae is surprised. Sang Tae sagely states Kang Tae’s heart is aching and it only manifests its pain at night when he’s asleep. Kang Tae remembers Moon Young’s pain the previous night.  Kang Tae asks if Sang Tae likes his latest book. Sang Tae says “The Cheerful Dog” by Writer Moon is good.

Sang Tae’s powers of observation and human understanding can be impressive.

Jo Jae Soo (Kang Tae’s friend) is ready to berate his friend for moving into Moon Young’s house unannounced but a phone call delays the discussion. Kang Tae tells his friend they’ll talk later and leaves.

Kang Tae tells Publisher Lee Sang In that Moon Young isn’t feeling well. Publisher Lee doesn’t get the details he wants before Kang Tae hangs up stating he’ll tell Moon Young Publisher Lee wants to talk to her. Publisher Lee’s subordinate Yoo Seung Jae bemoans trusting Publisher Lee. He decides he needs to see Moon Young right away. He puts funds down. Seung Jae is irked when the funds aren’t enough to cover the bill. Publisher Lee is irked when his car doesn’t start.

Moon Young lays in bed and thinks of her mother.

Flashback…While brushing her hair at the dressing table, Moon Young’s mother tells a young Moon Young never to cut her hair short. Moon Young doesn’t like the long hair. Her mother gets angry and yells at her daughter demanding obedience. Moon Young says what her mother wants to hear.

Sitting at the dressing table, Moon Young holds scissors. Just as she’s about to cut her hair, she hears her mother cry “please save me”.  Publisher Lee enters the house and hears glass breaking. He finds Moon Young sitting on her bed with the mirror at the dressing table broken. Moon Young murmurs she wants to cut it but can’t. Publisher Lee asks what Moon Young wants to cut. She replies her mother. He asks if she’s suffered another bout of sleep paralysis. Moon Young responds it has been happening since she moved back into the house.  Publisher Lee declares Moon Young must leave this place and return to Seoul. Moon Young refuses.

Publisher Lee declares the nightmares will kill her. He packs her suitcase confident he knows best. He blocks Moon Young when she tries to cosh him on the head with a lamp. Publisher Lee grabs her and tries to force her down the stairs. Moon Young holds onto the newel and refuses. Publisher Lee tries to pull her away. Kang Tae comes upon them and yells. Publisher Lee declares he must take Moon Young away. Moon Young pushes him causing him to lose his balance. In slow Mo Kang Tae decides to catch and right Publisher Lee. He blusters that Moon Young must leave this place. He grabs Moon Young’s wrist. Kang Tae slaps Publisher Lee’s hand away. Kang Tae shows Publisher Lee to the door and locks it so Publisher Lee can’t reenter. Publisher Lee bangs on the front door and declares he’s the only one that can help Moon Young in a time like this.

Moon Young refuses the medicine Kang Tae offers.  She’s interested when he suggests a change of scenery.

Kang Tae drives Moon Young along the coast. He asks where she wants to go. A motel is the response. He asks what she wants to eat. Him is the response. Kang Tae pulls over and asks how long she’ll keep this up. Moon Young agrees to follow his ideas for the day.

Jae Soo worries that he’s losing Kang Tae to Moon Young. He reminisces with Sang Tae that they met when his parents owned a fried chicken eatery, Kang Tae worked there part-time and lived with them. Initially Jae Soo wanted Kang Tae to consider him a brother, which Kang Tae didn’t want. Then Jae Soo switched to being a friend.

Nice interaction with Sang Tae’s comments.

Moon Young closes her eyes after eating the yummy food that Kang Tae grills for them. She notes that she never feels full when she eats. She wonders if it is because she’s an empty can like Kang Tae said. He apologizes. She says he was right. Kang Tae declares she isn’t an empty can. He suggests she’s a thug.

Jae Soo bemoans the chicken eateries are the only business he could close and open quickly with Kang Tae’s penchant for frequent moves. Jae Soo complains that Kang Tae has betrayed him by preferring Moon Young over him. Sang Tae counters that Kang Tae moved into Moon Young’s home because of the contract he signed as Moon Young’s illustrator. Jae Soo warns Sang Tae his fate could be Sang Tae’s fate. Seung Jae arrives. Sang Tae doesn’t recognize her.

Moon Young asks if Kang Tae has ever slept with a woman. She says he’s apathetic about sex. Kang Tae counters he able to suppress his desires. Moon Young suggests he let go and give into his desires.

Nurse Nam Joo Ri gets a text from Jae Soo stating a publishing company employee is talking to Sang Tae.

Seung Jae tells Sang Tae he’s her muse as the art director of the publishing company. She starts to show him sample illustrations but Sang Tae’s timer goes off signaling the end of his work day. He tells Seung Jae they can talk about it later. The drawing he leaves Jae Soo is the dog that chased the chicken.


Kang Tae and Moon Young walk together. She suggests he carry her. Kang Tae checks his phone. She grabs it and won’t give it back. They grapple for the phone and end up close. Kang Tae pulls away. Moon Young answers the phone with Joo Ri calls. She tells Joo Ri that Kang Tae took that day off to be with her. She hangs up. Joo Ri sighs.

Moon Young suggests they date. Kang Tae tells her to get lost. Recall those are the words Moon Young said to Kang Tae at the gate to the house when they were young and when she wanted him to leave the house the previous evening. Kang Tae notes years ago he left because that’s what she wanted. But today he stayed because that’s what she really wanted.

Drinking outside the convenience store, Publisher Lee bemoans his situation. He declares he’ll find the nicest woman on earth and get involved with her. A tipsy Joo Ri tells him to pipe down. He turns and watches her declare she’s ending her unrequited love. Joo Ri turns and asks if he’s ever seen a woman in the painful grip of unrequited love. Publisher Lee recognizes her from seeing her at Jae Soo’s eatery. Joo Ri asks why it can’t be her. She says she can be mean just like the other woman. Publisher Lee tells her not to be like that. Joo Ri asks who he is. Publisher Lee identifies himself and offers his card. Joo Ri slaps him. She declares this is all his fault. He allowed Moon Young to arrive and ruin things. Publisher Lee realizes Joo Ri is the nurse from the psychiatric hospital that called him. Joo Ri passes out.

Moon Young smiles thinking about the day. She tells Kang Tae her nightmare was about her mother. She notes she always feels bad the next day. She smiles and says because of him, today was a happy day. They both smile.

The next day, the patients all have opinions about Moon Young’s class getting cancelled.

Kang Tae calls Sang Tae to check in. Moon Young suggests she and Sang Tae have fun today. He agrees.

Kang Tae goes to Director Oh’s office. He asks if Moon Young has a boyfriend. Kang Tae says he doesn’t know. Director Oh says he has a son that could be a good fit for Moon Young. He asks Kang Tae if he should introduce them, after all Kang Tae lives with Moon Young. He asks why Kang Tae didn’t come to work. Kang Tae admits he stayed home to be with Moon Young. Director Oh asks why Moon Young got upset with the patient. Kang Tae shares that for a moment, Moon Young thought the patient was her mother.  Director Oh tells Kang Tae that Moon Young’s mother was a famous author that disappeared after she finished her last book and was declared dead 5 years later. We see Moon Young’s father reaching for the last book his wife wrote from the library shelf but another patient snatches it away stating he’s too slow. Kang Tae wonders if Moon Young’s mother could still be alive. Director Oh doesn’t believe she’d not write for 20 years when the public was keen to know what happened to the characters in the “Witch of the West”. Director Oh assumes Moon Young missed her mother. Kang Tae asks what it would mean if Moon Young feared her mother. That gets Director Oh’s attention.

Director Oh reads through Moon Young’s father’s file.

Flashback…Director Oh has a session with Moon Young’s father. He says his wife was intelligent and beautiful who loved their daughter too much. He notes she sang Oh My Darling Clementine to Moon Young every night. He wonders if his wife understood the true meaning behind the song.

Kang Tae looks at the sign announcing Moon Young’s classes are on hold. Head Nurse Park asks if that makes him sad. She notes the patients will miss the class. Kang Tae suggests she read Moon Young’s books. Head Nurse Park isn’t interested.

Kang Tae brings water to the patient that Moon Young interacted with the previous day. She isn’t interested. Kang Tae says he’ll meet her daughter when she visits. The patient says her daughter is dead. She notes no one can meet her.

When the doctor and nurses join Kang Tae in the room, the patient tells them that the expensive shawl she always wears was purchased by her daughter for her last birthday.

Flashback…The patient is furious when her smiling daughter gives her the shawl after scanning the price tag. She yells at her daughter she doesn’t deserve something this expensive. Her daughter declares she’s sick of her mothering being like that. She leaves upset.

The patient shares she called after her daughter that she didn’t need an immature child.

Flashback…the daughter is killed crossing the road. Her mother rushes to her and holds her daughter’s face.

The patient wishes those hadn’t been her last words to her daughter. She cries.

Flashback…Kang Tae recalls his mother telling him as a child his job was to take care of Sang Tae until the day he died. She tells Kang Tae that why she gave birth to him. Kang Tae is deflated.

The patient bemoans her last words.

Kang Tae knocks on Jae Soo’s door until Jae Soo answers. He offers beer. Jae Soo closes the door in his face. Kang Tae convinces him to drink on the roof. Jae Soo asks why he’s sad. Kang Tae wonders if his mother regretted how she treated him. Jae Soo asks if that’s what he wants. Kang Tae cries his agreement.  Jae Soo calls to Kang Tae’s dead mother scolding her for not treating Kang Tae like the individual he was. Jae Soo promises to give her a piece of his mind when he gets to have. Joo Ri’s mother arrives and suggests that Kang Tae’s mother deserves some leniency having to raise two boys by herself. She admits being a parent it hard and sometime running away is a natural desire. She tells Kang Tae he wants to run away sometimes and his mother did too. Kang Tae cries.

The emotional side of this show is strong.

Joo Ri’s mother brings her daughter a glass of water noting that Kang Tae just left. That get Joo Ri’s attention. Her mother observes that Joo Ri let another man carry her home last night. Joo Ri claims not to remember. Her mother agrees it would be best if she didn’t remember. She leaves. Then the memories return to Joo Ri – slapping Publisher Lee, the piggyback home, grabbing his hair, etc. Joo Ri cringes.

A drunk Kang Tae takes a cab back to the house. He tries to return Moon Young’s texts. He chuckles.

Kang Tae enters the house and finds Moon Young waiting on the steps. He sits next to her and taps her awake. She smells the alcohol. She demands to know if he drank with Joo Ri. Kang Tae clarifies he drank with his friend Jae Soo. Kang Tae relates the taxi driver told him the house was scary and brings bad luck and forced him to exit requiring him to walk part of the way back. Moon Young wants to drink with Kang Tae. He refuses noting Moon Young can’t do things part way if they got drunk together things would happen. He tells Moon Young to close her eyes. Thinking he’ll kill her she puckers her lips. Instead he offers a doll that is a nightmare catcher. He says if she sleeps with the doll, she’ll be able to sleep in peace. Moon Young calls him silly. Kang Tae shares Sang Tae used this doll. Kang Tae says he made the doll himself. That touches Moon Young. Kang Tae admits Sang Tae has nightmares too, since their mother died. Kang Tae says he couldn’t do anything to help so he made the doll. Moon Young accepts the doll. Kang Tae heads to bed. Moon Young holds the doll and smiles.

Kang Tae enters the bedroom and murmurs to Sang Tae who tells him he reeks of alcohol. Kang Tae suggests they go to an eatery for a particular dish they used to enjoy with their mother. Sang Tae counters their mother didn’t like the dish but she went to the eatery because Kang Tae did.

Flashback…At the eatery, Sang Tae and Kang Tae get the dish but his mother does not. Sang Tae finds the dish spicy. As they walk home in the rain, their mother shares the umbrella with Sang Tae. He stops. His mother calls to him to join her and Sang Tae under the umbrella. She suggests they return to the eatery the next day.

Wow, the additional context changed that impact of that scene.

Kang Tae cries and hugs his brother.

Flashback…At night Kang Tae holds his mother’s shirt. She turns and watches him sleep. She brushes his face and apologizes for everything. She kisses and hugs Kang Tae.

Kang Tae cries and tells Sang Tae he misses their mother. He holds onto Sang Tae’s shirt.

Awk! Tears!

Moon Young is all smiles as she stares at the doll. She snuggles to sleep.

Ha, tossing Director Oh’s item aside.

The next day at the psychiatric hospital, Moon Young learns her class was cancelled she’s not happy. The orderly reports Moon Young was blindsided about her cancelled class. Head Nurse Park chides the nurses for not calling Moon Young with the news. Kang Tae offers to find Moon Young.

Director Oh walks the grounds with the patient. He advises her to take her recovery one day at a time and feel what she feels. He spots a furious Moon Young. He runs away. The patient sees Moon Young. Kang Tae sees Moon Young and runs up to her. The patient approaches Moon Young. She apologizes. Moon Young states she got fired because of her. The patients drop her shawl. Moon Young picks it up. She admires the expensive it. Moon Young declares her compensation should be the shawl. Kang Tae reaches for the shawl. The patient stops him and tells Moon Young she can have it, it has served its purpose in her life. Moon Young wraps the shawl around her shoulders, thanks the patient, and leaves. The patient tells Kang Tae her burden is finally lifted. Kang Tae stares after Moon Young.

This isn’t the first time Moon Young has liberated a patient’s psyche. Is she the psyche whisperer?

Moon Young studies Sang Tae’s mural. Kang Tae stand next to her. He asks if the shawl is hot. Moon Young counter that fashion isn’t always comfortable. Kang Tae says Sang Tae is reading one of her books. Moon Young knows it is “The Cheerful Dog”.

Flashback…Sang Tae reads Kang Tae the book. The dog was cheerful during the day when he could interact with people but lonely at night. He wished he could remove his collar and leash. But he knew he’s been tied up so long he’d forgotten how to cut himself free.

Kang Tae touches Moon Young’s hair and tells her she did well. Moon Young asks what she did. Kang Tae says she helped the patient cut herself free. He smiles. She smiles.

I smiled too. Lovely moment.

Moon Young spots her father sitting on a bench alone outside. She starts to walk past him. Her father declares she’ll end up just like her mother. Unable to escape. Moon Young tells her father she’s different. She walks away.

At home, Moon Young holds the scissors to her hair. She cuts it.

Kang Tae returns home. Moon Young walks down the stairs. He sees the shorter hair. He’s surprised. Moon Young declares she cut off her leash. They both laugh.

So glad that went well.

At the psychiatric hospital, Moon Young’s father hears someone hum “Oh my Darling Clementine.”

Kang Tae evens up Moon Young’s haircut.

Moon Young’s father holds his hands to his head and falls to the ground. The ghost of Moon Young’s mother walks the hall humming the song.

Kang Tae tells Moon Young he’s done with the haircut. She looks in the mirror. She touches her hair.  She cries. She turns to Kang Tae and asks how she looks.

He tells her she looks pretty. Moon Young smiles. Kang Tae smiles. A tear rolls down Moon Young’s face.

My Thoughts

Escaping the chains that bind and weigh us down is possible. Writer Jo Yong skillfully explored this with multiple characters – Moon Young’s mother’s negative hold, Kang Tae’s mother not valuing Kang Tae, the patient’s perception of her alive or dead daughter – each finding a meaningful big step forward towards resolution. Writer Jo’s deft ability to marry emotion and humor was displayed again this episode.  The production team delivered another well-crafted episode. This show is top notch. Consider me captivated.

Moon Kang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun) realized his mother did love and value him. Kang Tae believed his mother valued him as his brother’s caretaker. She told him she had him for that reason, pretty damming. But more content was added to the flashbacks where Kang Tae walked outside the umbrella and snuggled against his mother, whose back was turned away from Kang Tae and towards his brother. Kang Tae was invited under the umbrella and his mother lovingly stroked him while he slept. Kang Tae’s heart broke free and tears flowed. It was moving.

Writer Ko Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji) broke the invisible hold of her mother’s hand on the scissors. Moon Young wanted to cut her hair, but her mother’s strict staying hand stopped her. Moon Young’s mother messed with her young daughter in a way designed to gain her obedience through fear. Moon Young’s nightmares revealed the hold her mother still had on her psyche. Moon Young’s straightforward manner helped the patient realize her daughter was dead. Moon Young’s demand for compensation allowed the patient rid herself of the cape, her daughter’s extravagant final gift, and start to deal with the pain and penance she’d been paying. Moon Young’s stories and actions help free others including Min Seok (son of the local assemblyman), the patient, Kang Tae and Sang Tae. She deserves to receive love and understanding. Kang Tae is indeed her safety pin, though a suppressed one right now.

Moon Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se) (Kang Tae’s brother) reminded Kang Tae his mother took them to the eatery for Kang Tae. Sang Tae continues to offer surprisingly insightful feedback to Kang Tae, Jae Soo, and Moon Young, really everyone he meets. He is as straightforward as Moon Young is but in a different way. This character adds much to this series. While Kang Tae is the caregiver, Sang Tae cares for and gives emotional support to Kang Tae. The brothers aren’t in a one-way relationship, both give and take.

The fourth song of the OST is “In Your Time” sung by Lee Suhyun.

I rank this episode as terrific, 9 on a 10-point scale.

Asian drama fan. I watch and blog dramas on

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Posted in It's Okay to Not Be Okay, Recaps
4 comments on “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Episode 7 Recap
  1. Snow Flower says:

    Yay for another terrific episode!
    The scene with JR’s mom raising a toast to all mothers brought tears to my eyes. So did KT’s realization that his mother loved him.
    On the lighter side, JR and Publisher Lee are destined to be together!
    MY’s story about the dog and MY cutting her own hair to be free of her mother were great scenes too.
    And KT keeps smiling for real!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jane Tilly says:

    Lee Sang In’s name is pronounced somewhat similarly to strange (isanghan). Publisher Lee Sang In does seem to know Moon Young well enough to predict her actions. While I think Moon Young might be emotionally healthier away from childhood traumas, I also didn’t like Sang In forcefully removing her from the Cursed Castle.

    Seems that until this episode all of Kang Tae’s memories about his mom were negative. It gave me warm fuzzies that Kang Tae recognized that his mom did do some things JUST FOR HIM.

    This was the “Cut the Leash” episode. Crazy lady to her fur stole and Moon Young to her mother mandated long hair. You could even say Kang Tae to bad memories only of his mom and Sang Tae to his restaurant job. You could say they have a new “leash” on life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. DramaDazed says:

    I had a harsh mother, it took me many years to realize and understand her method of loving me, so those mother scenes really resonate with me. 😌Motherhood is hard in the best of circumstances. I don’t know where MYs mother falls in that spectrum…🤔

    The inclusion of the character of Publisher Lee was redeemed for me in this episode. He now has shown genuine care for MY and the delight on his face at moment of fateful meeting of Joo Ri in the cafe followed by the fateful convenience store drunk connection is sweet. Hope that all works out for both.

    In the car scene, when MY says she wants to go to a motel I did a double take – am I really watching a prime time Korean TV show?? Personally I’m delighted with her frankness and I agree with kjt that MY and ST have similar natures.

    Great episode, loving the show.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Tilly says:

      Our exposure to Moon Young’s mom has been limited, so its hard to say. All we’ve seen so far has not been pleasant … but I’m sure there is more to her.

      Liked by 1 person

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July 2020

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