It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Episode 11 “The Ugly Duckling”
Back home, Ko Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji) holds the flowers Kang Tae gave her on the day he kissed her. She puts them in a vase. She opens the camper sketch. She cries to see the 3 of them. She remembers Kang Tae’s declaration that Sang Tae is enough for him to deal with and his declaration she must “get lost”.
Patient Park approaches the house.
At the psychiatric hospital, Moon Kang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun) learns that Patient Park has escaped.
Patient Park bangs on the door. Moon Young open and Patient Park pops a celebratory item. Patient Park sings happy birthday.
Kang Tae gets into his car and proceeds to Moon Young’s house. He calls Moon Young but she isn’t near her phone.
Moon Young watches Patient Park walk around her kitchen while she prepares tea. Patient Park further investigates the house without asking. She murmurs she loves the smell of old books. Moon Young snatches Kang Tae’s flowers out of her hands. She asks why Patient Park is there. Patient Park says she was worried Moon Young would be lonely. While touching Moon Young’s items, Patient Park says Moon Young’s father tried to kill her early that day. She notes Moon Young’s father said his daughter needed to die too. Patient Park notes saying such a thing on Moon Young’s birthday was cruel. That’s why she came, so Moon Young wouldn’t be alone. Patient Park claims she’s a fan of Moon Young’s mother. Reminding her that not to touch her stuff, Moon Young grabs the item Patient Park is holding but Patient Park won’t let go. Patient Park says they are alike. She doesn’t like people touching her stuff. She pulls on the pen and cuts Moon Young’s hand. Blood drips on the floor.
Moon Young arrives at the house. He dashes from the car and runs inside. He yells for Moon Young. He sees the blood splatters. He sees Moon Young at the top of the stairs. He rushes to her and hugs her. He says he’s relieved she’s okay. He sees the cut on her hand. Moon Young says Patient Park was here. Kang Tae demands to know when Patient Park left. When he learns it was moments ago, he spins to leave. Moon Young catches his arm and asks if he came for her or to catch Patient Park. Moon Young drops his arm and says that his brother is more important than her. Now she sees the patient is more important than her. She spins to leave. Kang Tae grabs her arm and says her name. Moon Young pulls away and walks away.
Moon Young gets in bed upset that Kang Tae came and hugged her. She looks at her hand.
Flashback…Moon Young has the impulse to take scissors to Patient Park. In that moment she thought of Kang Tae’s advice to count to 3 before acting impulsively. She counts out loud. Patient Park puts the pen on the desk and smiles. Moon Young tells her to get out.
Moon Young wonders if she should have stabbed Patient Park. Kang Tae enters the bedroom. He wants to talk. Moon Young says nothing. Kang Tae sits on the bed. He tends Moon Young’s hand. She pulls away and repeats his last words to her “We have an ill-fated relationship. Get out of my life. Get Lost”. Moon Young rips into him for how he treats her. Kang Tae grabs her shoulders and tells her when she can’t control herself, count to 3. Moon Young slowly counts.
Kang Tae kisses her with passion.
Wow! I didn’t expect that.
Their kisses heat up. Then they take a moment and stare into each other’s eyes. Moon Young’s vulnerability is obvious. Kang Tae kisses her and lays her on the bed. He lifts up. Moon Young shyly smiles. Kang Tae wishes her happy birthday and says he missed her. Moon Young smiles. Kang Tae notes Moon Young is blushing. She claims she’s hot. She notes Kang Tae is blushing. He claims he’s not feeling well and puts Moon Young’s hand on his forehead. Moon Young says he is hot.
That was completely satisfying.
Director Oh Ji Wang informs the night staff that Kang Tae called to report Patient Park went to Moon Young’s house. He wants the police informed and the staff on alert. He asks the orderly that Patient Park bashed how he is doing. The orderly grouses he will file for compensation. Director Oh agrees to help him file the report and notes he’ll be terminated. The staff chuckles as Director Oh strides away.
Moon Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se) (Kang Tae’s brother) prepare to eat the steaming hot ramen. Jo Jae Soo (Kang Tae’s friend) enters. Sang Tae informs him Kang Tae had to help at an emergency at work. Jae Soo suggests they share the ramen. Sang Tae refuses noting Jae Soo eats more than his share. Jae Soo reveals he found the nightmare catcher doll outside. Sang Tae explains the doll is Kang Tae’s little brother Mang Tae. Jae Soo counters he’s more a brother than this doll. Sang Tae says Jae Soo is not related nor family. Jae Soo doesn’t like that and they bicker.
Kang Tae lays in Moon Young’s bed. She reports she filled a bathtub with cold water. Kang Tae isn’t interested. He wants a cold towel. As Moon Young wipes Kang Tae’s face, she asks if Patient Park escaped the psychiatric hospital. Kang Tae asks what Patient Park said. Moon Young tells him. Kang Tae tells her not to worry about the rift between Patient Park and her father. He draws Moon Young next to him. He murmurs it is next to have someone care for him while he’s sick. He sleeps. Moon Young lays her head on his shoulder, holds his hand, and enjoys their closeness. Kang Tae puts his arm around her.
That was completely satisfying.
The next day Publisher Lee Sang In tries to get the smell out of his car. Nurse Nam Joo Ri apologizes and offers money so he can get his car washed. Publisher Lee realizes this is what it felt like when he paid off people that Moon Young upset. He suggests they share a meal with the money.
This couple is growing on me (and each other).
Moon Young wakes up alone in her bed. Kang Tae enters. She checks his fever. He says he’s better. He calls his fever love sickness. They smile.
They talk in the dining room. Kang Tae shares that Sang Tae has a traumatic memory. He explains that Sang Tae has a memory every spring that prompts them to move. Kang Tae reveals his mother was murdered and Sang Tae was the only witness.
Flashback…a young Sang Tae sees his mother on the ground and the murder walks toward him. The murderer wears a butterfly pen on their coat. As the murder runs their hand on Sang Tae’s head, they tell Sang Tae he’s next if he doesn’t keep quiet.
Flashback…Sang Tae cries to a young Kang Tae that the murderer will hunt him down and kill him too. Kang Tae and Sang Tae ran.
Kang Tae shares every spring when the butterflies come, Sang Tae has nightmares about their mother’s murder. Kang Tae says Sang Tae has born that pain for 20 years. Kang Tae says that’s why Sang Tae needs him. Kang Tae says he wants to spend time with her. Kang Tae says he needs Moon Young. She tears up. Kang Tae says he must stay by Sang Tae’s side. He asks Moon Young to stay by his side. Moon Young smiles and agrees. Kang Tae smiles.
Love that he told about Sang Tae’s nightmares. Love that she agreed to be by his side.
Kang Tae calls Sang Tae as he drives. Sang Tae asks if Kang Tae if the culprit was caught. Kang Tae notes he didn’t catch the patient. He tells his brother he’ll be home early for supper.
Head Nurse Park Haeng Ja tells Moon Young’s father the test will be quick. They wheel him away. Joo Ri hopes the brain tumor hasn’t returned. Joo Ri reports Patient Park was spotted heading to a hiking trail. Head Nurse Park tells Joo Ri to clean out Patient Park’s belongs and room. Kang Tae arrives at the Head Nurse Park and bids Joo Ri good morning. She tells him that Head Nurse Park wants Patient Park’s room cleaned out.
Patient Park’s roommate watches Kang Tae clean out the room. He tells them the police are searching for Patient Park. She notices that Kang Tae is smiling today.
Director Oh and Patient Kan play board games while Patient Kan informs Director Oh of the hospital happenings. He notes Patient Park was acting strangely for several months including practicing acting.
Kang Tae looks through Patient Park’s items. He finds the Witch of the West Moon Young’s mother’s last novel. Inside the pages he finds index cards.
Moon Young is glad she didn’t act on impulse last night. She smiles thinking about the kiss from Kang Tae. She looks at Sang Tae’s camping van picture and smiles.
Kang Tae tries to decipher the writing on the index cards. Director Oh enters and notes Kang Tae is looking chipper. He wonders why Patient Park visited Moon Young’s house. It had to be more than wishing her happy birthday. Kang Tae admits he hopes that’s all there is to it. He’s doesn’t need more drama.
Moon Young arrives at Jae Soo’s pizza eatery. She orders a plethora of pizzas to go. She asks to speak with Sang Tae.
Moon Young asks Sang Tae to move back in. She brings out the camper drawing. She refers to it as the drawing he gave her. Sang Tae corrects her that is the drawing he threw away. Moon Young says the drawing has given her an idea for her next book. Sang Tae is distracted by a cool toy another boy has.
Director Oh looks at Sang Tae’s mural. He tells Kang Tae know he understands why Sang Tae refused to draw butterflies. He asks why Kang Tae revealed the backstory. Kang Tae hopes dealing with the trauma will help them move on. He asks Director Oh to help Sang Tae face his trauma. Director Oh notes most think he’s a quack. Kang Tae quips Sang Tae can find a quack quicker than anyone. They both chuckle.
Moon Young informs Sang Tae that not adhering to the contract triples the penalty. Sang Tae points out the penalty isn’t defined. Moon Young counters in contracts a penalty is implied. She gives him the choice to pay her 3 times the value or draw for her book. She includes Kang Tae’s room and board and declares now it is 6 times the penalty.
Jae Soo calls Kang Tae and informs him he now likes Moon Young’s decisive ways. He asks Kang Tae where he ranks. Kang Tae informs him he’s number 3. Kang Tae wonders what Moon Young is up to.
Sang Tae refuses to give Kang Tae to Moon Young. She points out Kang Tae isn’t an object they pass between them. Sang Tae says he is his brother and his. He declares she’s a stranger.
Moon Young brings all the pizza to the psychiatric hospital and tells Kang Tae she did her best but Sang Tae refuses to share. Kang Tae assumes she threatened him. Moon Young quips she understands how men must beg fathers for permission to marry their daughters. Kang Tae assumes a dramatic pose and declares he can’t continue without Sang Tae’s permission. Ha! Kang Tae says it took Jae Soo 10 years to become close to Sang Tae. Moon Young is appalled. Kang Tae smiles as he delivers the pizza to the front desk.
As they exit the psychiatric hospital, Kang Tae tells Moon Young is will likely take more than 10 years because she’s threatened Sang Tae. That wipes the smile from her face. She declares she can’t wait the long.
Kang Tae explains that Sang Tae is afraid that she’ll take him away and Sang Tae will be left alone. Kang Tae declares she’s not taking him away from Sang Tae and they must help Sang Tae to see that. Kang Tae says Sang Tae will have more than one person by his side now. He tells her to earn Sang Tae’s trust. Moon Young promises to try. Kang Tae tells her not to let strangers in the house. Moon Young agrees. Kang Tae strokes her hair and smiles.
The staff learns the test shows that Moon Young’s father’s brain tumor has returned and spread. It will kill him.
Joo Ri’s mother asks her daughter what’s she’s doing after work. When she admits she’s spending time with Publisher Lee, her mother applies lipstick to Joo Ri. She tells her daughter she’s pretty and to stay out as late as possible.
Publisher Lee and Joo Ri enjoy frothy drinks. He notices the lipstick. She claims she wears it daily. He chuckles. She shares that Moon Young’s father isn’t doing well. Publisher Lee says he’ll help break the news to Moon Young. Publisher Lee isn’t interested in talking about Kang Tae and Moon Young, he suggests they enjoy themselves. He chuckles how outspoken she is when she’s drunk. Joo Ri chuckles.
Sang Tae checks his stash of cash worried that he’ll have to pay the penalty. Sang Tae reports Moon Young bought a lot of pizza.
Publishing coworker Yoo Seung Jae ends up at Moon Young’s house informing her that Kang Tae requested that she stay with Moon Young for the time being. That changes Moon Young’s opinion of her unexpected guest. She promises to help Moon Young an any way with the new book. Moon Young tells Seung Jae that a fan visited her on her birthday. Seung Jae assures her that isn’t unusual sharing her previous fan antics.
I like Seung Jae too.
Kang Tae does a terrific job of showing Sang Tae that as an adult he can accept others into the family using a favorite show. Kang Tae shares he’s working on becoming an adult too.
Director Oh believes Sang Tae will be done with the mural soon. Sang Tae confirms. He asks how much Director Oh will pay him. Director Oh says the painting doesn’t have butterflies. Sang Tae counters he told Director Oh he wouldn’t draw butterflies. Director Oh wants butterflies. Sang Tae says he doesn’t like butterflies. Director Oh declares without the butterflies the mural will be incomplete and he won’t pay Sang Tae. He leaves Sang Tae to consider.
Sang Tae believes he can’t trust anyone. Kang Tae notices his paints. Sang Tae declares he won’t draw butterflies and won’t complete the mural. Sang Tae doesn’t want to talk about it. Kang Tae tries to force the discussion. Kang Tae says Sang Tae is acting like a kid. Sang Tae declares Director Oh lied that he’d pay when the mural was done. Sang Tae tries to retreat into his closet. Kang Tae holds him. Sang Tae bites Kang Tae’s arms. Kang Tae smacks Sang Tae’s shoulder. Sang Tae is appalled and declares that hurt. Kang Tae counters that the bite mark hurt him. Kang Tae notes other times Sang Tae physically hurt him. Kang Tae declares he’s not going to overlook getting hurt again. He tells Sang Tae to count to three before he acts out. Sang Tae tells Kang Tae to do the same. They yell at each other. Sang Tae is taken aback. Kang Tae tries to explain. Sang Tae tackles Kang Tae. They tussle. Sang Tae throws things. Kang Tae blocks them.
Gosh that was a good scene.
Kang Tae chuckles when he tells Jae Soo about what happened. He’s relieved that he finally fought back. Jae Soo declares Kang Tae is changing. Kang Tae says this is who he really is. He smiles. Kang Tae declares he belongs to himself. Jae Soo lays next to his smiling friend.
I love Kang Tae becoming himself!
Sang Tae tells Joo Ri and her mother that Kang Tae isn’t his brother anymore. Joo Ri suggests her mother adopt Sang Tae. Her mother thinks that is a terrific idea. Sang Tae says they are strangers not family.
Kang Tae watches Sang Tae sleep. Moon Young texts him and he ignores it. Kang Tae puts a bandage on Sang Tae’s cut while recalling telling Jae Soo that both brothers need to learn how to let others into their lives. Jae Soo asks why Moon Young is the person. Kang Tae says Moon Young is the loneliest person. He declares he’s starting a relationship with her.
Moon Young wishes Kang Tae would text her back. She wonders if returning the nightmare catcher doll was wise. Someone knocks at the front door. Moon Young opens the door with a fireplace instrument to protect herself. Someone ranks the instrument away from her. It’s Kang Tae. He scolds her for opening the door. He holds the fireplace instrument and asks why she had this. Moon Young is pleased to see him and not interested. Kang Tae says he read her texts and knows she’s hungry.
At the eatery, Moon Young ask what happened to his face. She wants to know with who. She’s surprised that the fight was with Sang Tae. She scolds him lightly and asks what he’ll do next in the campaign to introduce her as a new friend of the family. Kang Tae admits he’s not sure. Moon Young recommends Kang Tae is straightforward and state he likes her, can’t live without her, and needs Sang Tae’s understanding and support. Kang Tae looks into Moon Young’s eyes and says he likes Moon Young. She smiles. Kang Tae wonders what Sang Tae’s reaction would be. Moon Young asks when he’ll start caring about his own needs. Kang Tae says two of his dreams came true. The first was their trip. The second was the fight with his brother. Kang Tae admits the fight was fun. He feels like he’s starting to live a normal life. She asks what the third dream was. Kang Tae says it was going to school in a uniform.
Dream…A high school Kang Tae sees Moon Young across the eatery. He follows. He tries to talk to Moon Young but Sang Tae arrives and puts him in a headlock. Moon Young walks away. Sang Tae calls to Moon Young and says his brother has something to say. Moon Young walks back. Sang Tae tells him to impress her. Moon Young says she knows who he is. Sang Tae smiles and leaves them alone.
Kang Tae smiles while dreaming. He murmurs out loud that he likes her. Sang Tae hears him. Sang Tae looks at Kang Tae’s face. He gets up and looks at the face chart of expressions. Sang Tae realizes Kang Tae is happy. He walks back to Kang Tae, looks at his face and sees his brother is happy. He gets back in bed and watches his brother’s smiling face while he sleeps. Sang Tae murmurs he’s never seen his brother happy before.
Publisher Lee comes to Moon Young’s house the next day. Seung Jae says she’s not a good fit for the house. He doesn’t want to hear it. He finds Moon Young working at her laptop. He’s stoked. He asks about the story. She shows him the camping van picture. Moon Young says she doesn’t have a story, title, or underlying message. Publisher Lee says she has nothing. She agrees. She states Sang Tae will be her illustrator.
Sang Tae takes out his cash box and makes a call.
At the psychiatric hospital, Kang Tae is working with a patient and doesn’t take the first call. He takes the second call. Sang Tae asks if Kang Tae ate. Kang Tae says there was an emergency patient and he didn’t eat. Sang Tae orders him to come to the eatery by 6pm.
Publisher Lee brings up Moon Young’s father. He informs her that her father’s brain tumor is back and can’t be fixed. Moon Young says her father died when she was 12 and all that is left is his body. Publisher Lee says her father’s brain makes his actions sometimes unkind. He points out that her father is her only living family. Moon Young counters she’s an orphan. She tells Publisher Lee to leave.
Moon Young lays in her bed and unfolds the family photo to reveal her father. She calls Kang Tae and asks to join him for dinner. He refuses. She’s miffed.
At the eatery, Sang Tae cuts Kang Tae’s meat and tells him to wait until his meat is cut. They eat their meal. Sang Tae shares his food and offers condiments. Kang Tae smiles at his generosity. Sang Tae asks Kang Tae if the food was good. Kang Tae admits he’s stuffed. Sang Tae opens his cash box and pays the bill. He gives Kang Tae an allowance. He says older brothers give young brother allowances. Kang Tae smiles and thanks him. He promises not to overspend. As Sang Tae goes to pay the bill, Moon Young offers her check for payment. Sang Tae ignores her. Moon Young follows and asks Sang Tae to pay. Sang Tae puts the money down and exits. Moon Young follows. Kang Tae ends up paying her bill.
Outside, Moon Young grabs Sang Tae’s wrist to stop him. She asks for an allowance. She declares she’s an orphan and needs family. Sang Tae looks at her, then tells Kang Tae to follow him. He strides away. He ignores Kang Tae’s call. Moon Young yells that she wants a big brother like Sang Tae.
He stops, considers, turns and tells Kang Tae to follow him. Moon Young looks down disappointed.
Then Sang Tae stops, considers, turns and tells Moon Young to follow him. Wow! Moon Young smiles. Kang Tae smiles. Sang Tae urges them to move it. They rush to Sang Tae and the three of them walk together.
That was a lovely surprise.
As they look at the ducks and chickens in the pen, Kang Tae asks Sang Tae if he knows the story of the ugly duckling. Sang Tae declares he does. Kang Tae points out the duck without family is lonely.
Kang Tae and Sang Tae arrive at Moon Young’s house suitcases in hand. Sang Tae chides for running. Kang Tae chides her for running. Sang Tae hands her Mang Tae the nightmare catcher doll.
Voiceover…Kang Tae asks Sang Tae what would have happened if the mother duck had lavished love on the lonely duck. Sang Tae says the lonely duck wouldn’t have left. Kang Tae say if adults embrace children, ducks and swans can get along.
Moon Young sleeps holding Mang Tae. Kang Tae asks if Sang Tae knows how adults embrace others. Sang Tae murmurs he’s an adult. Kang Tae tucks his brother in. Kang Tae goes to sleep.
Someone steps into the house and sits down at the mirror. It is a woman. She holds up a butterfly pen. The shadow of the butterfly falls across the sleeping forms of Moon Young and Kang Tae.
Kang Tae is becoming himself and I’m thrilled. Writer Jo Yong gave Kang Tae the right strategy to unlock Sang Tae’s resistance. Accepting Sang Tae’s adulthood then pointing out things that adults do like including lonely people per this episode’s fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling”. Sang Tae didn’t want to but couldn’t deny he had to be a responsible adult to his little brother and stepped up and invited Moon Young to join them. I felt Moon Young’s joy when Kang Tae and Sang Tae returned to the house. I cried when Sang Tae returned Mang Tae to Moon Young. Writer Jo is penning a superb drama, the production team makes it a joy to behold, but the heart of this series lies with the stellar acting from our trio. They touch my heart every episode. Bravo!
Moon Kang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun) is asserting his rights to have a life. Kang Tae navigated a difficult path this episode. He reconnected with Moon Young, fought and made up with Sang Tae, and nudged his brother to accept Moon Young. Living suppressed for so many years, watching Kang Tae blossom and reach for what he wants being cognizant of the needs and emotions of both Sang Tae and Moon Young was a joy. I LOVE this character. He has a gentle soul and is finally realizing his happiness is a right not a privilege. Kim Soo Hyun has won me over with his subtle superb portrayal of a leading man that works on every level – friend, lover, and fine individual.
Writer Ko Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji) believed she’s an orphan. Moon Young handled didn’t react with sadness when she learned that her father’s state was now terminal due to the reoccurring brain tumor. She pointed out that the father she knew stopped existing when she was 12 years ago and all that remains is the physical shell of her father. That resonated. Moon Young is growing too. She held back with Patient Park and earns a slash across her hand that was similar to Kang Tae’s (that she caused). She wants Kang Tae but was a bit shy when things heated up. Kang Tae was also gentle in that moment. I like this pairing. Yes, I know that she’s a handful, but she’s evolving just as Kang Tae is. They are both reaching beyond the patterns of behavior they hid behind for years. Moon Young’s campaign with Sang Tae was amusing. She desperately wanted to become the threesome Sang Tae drew in the camper picture. She got her wish when Sang Tae call to her to join him. The icing on the cake was when they moved back in. Now I expect Writer Jo will turn her attention to the murder of Kang Tae’s mother and the mystery of Moon Young’s mother. I look forward to it.
Moon Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se) (Kang Tae’s brother) asserted his rights as an adult and old brother. Sang Tae was taken aback my Moon Young’s triple penalty for breaking the contract. Sang Tae was taken aback with Director Oh required he paint butterflies. Sang Tae was taken aback when Kang Tae literally fought with him. That fight was a long time coming and cathartic for both of them. They both have grievances. Sang Tae’s stance that he is an adult was put to the test when Kang Tae pushed him to accept Moon Young. Sang Tae saw that Kang Tae was happy (something he’d never seen). Sang Tae is a touchstone of emotions in a way that the other characters can’t be. What a gift this character is to this series. Oh Jung Se’s portrayal always hits the mark.
The sixth song of the OST is “Little By Little” sung by CHEEZE:
I rank this episode as terrific, 9 on a 10-point scale.