“It’s Okay, That’s Love” Week Three Recap: The Beginning Of A New Love?

This week had me asking myself what I expected when I started watching this drama. Truthfully, I couldn’t come up with an answer. Was I hoping for a mature take on relationships? A Korean drama version of Girl, Interrupted? Hot scenes? I’m not sure. It’s certainly very glossy and shot well but this week had me thinking that I should just sit back and watch the characters fall in love.

***

Episode 5 begins with Jae Yul having the time of his life running with Kang Woo. Meanwhile, Jae Bum desperately begs Sunbae to help him get the truth serum. He claims that his brother has everyone fooled into thinking he’s the good guy when it’s the exact opposite.

Kang Woo gets tired, doubles over and coughs which is when Jae Yul notices that his hand is hurt. Don’t tell me this imaginary dude will get sick and die. When the cigarette teen, So Nyeo, shows up and calls Jae Yul’s name, Kang Woo disappears.

She follows him home because she has nowhere to sleep. She claims she lost her keys and her father only comes home sporadically while her mom left her at three. Jae Yul first tries to brush her off with money but when she threatens to use it to buy cigarettes, he lets her stay.

Hae Soo  – who’d been waiting for his return – gets upset when she learns of the teenager’s presence. I bet it has lots to do with how she looks. She confronts Jae Yul about her, asking if he’d spent the day with her but he says he was with someone else. Oh really? If he’s got so many people around him, why did he tell her that he was excited by her? Because that was then and this is now. LMAO.

She’s now convinced that he hits on everyone and is disappointed in herself for even falling for him for a second. She acts like she won’t let So Nyeo stay but just tells her to sleep in her room.

The next morning, she kicks the girl out and we get confirmation that Soo Kwang is creepily interested in the minor.

Later on, Jae Yul offers to give Hae Soo a ride when he sees her walking to work especially as they are going in the same direction because he’ll be taking Kang Woo there. I wonder what excuse his brain would have come up with if she’d agreed. Anyway, she is still not okay with him saying that he was only excited about her “then” and he apologizes but doesn’t understand why she is upset. He’s quite dense for a former romance novelist. She tells him that she will not let him play with her feelings and that he shouldn’t talk to her for the remainder of his stay at the house. Given her profession, one would have thought that she’d be less rash and understand how to be civil to everyone. It’s like she’s always gunning for a fight. I get that she’s fighting her sexual attraction to him but it’s still over the top.

As soon as he drives off, Hae Soo hears a woman screaming for help. Why? Because her husband just cut his arm off. Ouch! He’s rushed to the hospital and we learn that he performed such a gruesome act because he hates his arm. Sunbae’s ex-wife thinks he’s either schizophrenic or has severe body dysmorphic disorder and Hae Soo agrees, saying that it’s the most extreme case she’s seen. It’s quite interesting because in popular culture, BDD is generally associated with excessive plastic surgery or dieting but when you think of it, cutting off that body part doesn’t seem that far-fetched.

We learn more about the woman who stills sees her baby. Just after her child turned 1, she set water to boil then went to the market. When she returned, the kid had knocked off the pot and burned himself. There’s no word on where the father was and the doctors think she needs a drug-induced interview as they are unable to get anything out of the couple.

Jae Yul takes Kang Woo to the hospital and leaves him to check himself in. As expected, they are never called in to see the doctor and after waiting a while, Jae Yul goes to check what’s wrong and is shocked to learn that there’s no record of him. When he turns back to speak to him, he disappears. Isn’t it time for him to wonder why the boy keeps running off?

Sunbae previously arranged with Jae Yul to drive him to a concert. He promised that it would only be the two of them but is hoodwinked into driving them all.

Since Hae Soo has to be difficult about everything, she refuses to get into the car and Sunbae gets mad at her because she’s the reason they are all going there. Apparently, the singer’s wife is pregnant and they need to support her.

The singer is Hae Soo’s crush, Yoon Chul, who married a schizophrenic woman, Hae Jin, who’s stopped taking her medication because she’s pregnant.

At a rest stop, Soo Kwang approaches Jae Yul, promising to call him “hyung” if he hires So Nyeo at his cafe. Jae Yul tells him he doesn’t need that but he begs him and insists that he will call him hyung as if it’s something special. LOL. Then he asks him to teach him how to get girls.

The gang arrives at their destination and have a good time. When it’s time to leave, Hae Soo tells them to go without her because she wants to stay back with Hae Jin a little longer as she’s still suffering from anxiety. There’s a cute scene where both Soo Kwang and Sunbae express regret about being unable to stay with her but when Jae Yul tries to come up with something, she tells him not to bother. LOL

Shortly after the three guys start driving back, they witness Hae Jin having an episode in the water. Yoon Chul goes after her but he can’t swim. Sunbae goes after him to keep him from drowning while Jae Yul goes after his wife. Soo Kwang, who can’t swim, wants to help but has an episode instead.

Jae Yul gets her but when Hae Soo arrives – after receiving a phone call from Sunbae  – she tells him to carry her differently to keep her from swallowing water as she’s pregnant. This almost gets him drowned because he frees her arms enabling her to keep hitting him.

She eventually faints and he manages to take her out. He drops her on the ground then collapses next to her. A frantic Hae Soo resuscitates her friend before checking up on Jae Yul who’s fine. He’s got a cut near his eyebrow which she touches with her bare fingers then uses those same fingers to caress Hae Jin. Surely, a doctor should know better than to touch someone’s blood then rub it on someone else.

Regardless, it’s a nice moment and Jae Yul feels great after saving someone.

What triggered the episode? Her husband suggesting that she have an abortion. The men talk and Jae Yul gives Soo Kwang the go ahead to hire the minor. He thanks him by promising to call him “hyung” who promises to teach him to swim. Sunbae tells him to stay behind till Hae Jin is taken to the rehab center the following day while he and Soo Kwang will ride with the ambulance.

Now alone, Hae Soo and Jae Yul talk. They watch the couple’s intimate moment and learn that despite her profession – or perhaps because of it – she’d been against their marriage. She’s still not sure that they will make it but supports them and lights a candle for them at home. Perhaps seeing how they love will make her believe she can find that kind of love. She believes it will take more but hopes it will be enough. Jae Yul thinks it can be because in addition to bringing both happiness and pain to one’s life, love can also give one strength and help them overcome obstacles. He learned all that from the love he shares with his mother. Ah… how sweet. But mama’s boys should be avoided.

The next morning, Hae Soo says goodbye to her friends and they tease her about Jae Yul. Where is he, by the way? Asleep in the restroom. I know he has some psychological problems but YUCK! I feel bad for him that he even has to sleep in the restroom when he’s not at home.

Meanwhile, Sunbae – who’d requested Jae Bum’s records – finally learns of his connection to Jae Yul.

Jae Yul also has dreams of the night his stepfather died but instead of the knife being in his hand, it’s in Jae Bum’s. But can I say that it’s still possible that he could have stabbed the bastard because we see Jae Bum pull the knife out but it doesn’t mean that Jae Yul didn’t put it in before fainting.

Hae Soo searches for him and eventually finds him sleeping next to the toilet. It’s obviously weird but she manages to maintain a poker face when he sees her. Jae Yul asks her on the drive back why she hasn’t asked about it and when they stop for a walk, he explains that he’s been sleeping there since he once had to hide in a pit latrine to avoid his abusive stepfather who wanted to use his tuition money to gamble. How I wish his mom was able to get away from this useless man. The bathroom became his safe haven from then on.

They arrive at a beautiful lake and talk more. Jae Yul wonders if his problem is very serious and Hae Soo jokes that being unable to have sex is much worse. She offers to prescribe some medication but he says he’d rather live with it especially as a previous doctor claimed that medication would affect his writing. What kind of doctor is that? Shouldn’t he/she have let him try it first?

She’s ready to leave but Jae Yul thinks it would be a travesty for them not to test the water so despite her objections, he lifts her and drops her in it.

She loves how refreshing it feels and how he influences her to be spontaneous. They play in the water for a bit then he shows her what true spontaneity is when he grabs her face and kisses her.

She’s shocked but doesn’t reject him and after stopping the kiss and studying her reaction, he kisses her again and she responds passionately.

All is well and good till Hae Soo remembers that she’s kissing the playboy and breaks it. Then slaps him – we’ve got a new queen of push-and-pull. She walks away, embarrassed by her reaction to him. He suggests that they go into the city to buy some dry clothes and wonders if her rejection is related to her phobia.

Jae Bum makes plans for his prison furlough and speaks to a fellow inmate about something he’s supposed to arrange for him. Sunbae goes through his records and learns that he’s been accused or convicted of theft, assault and attempted rape. Plus he beat his own brother so badly that it took him four months to recover.

Sunbae says he doesn’t show remorse as he keeps pinning his crime on his brother and Tae Yong speaks up, saying that even if he’s a lost cause, his family hasn’t given up on him.

We get some product placement where Jo In Sung shops at Parkland and his character buys Hae Soo a dress kicking and screaming.  Then he attempts to get to the bottom of Hae Soo’s antagonistic behavior towards him after their kiss. Is it because of her phobia? She tells him it isn’t. Isn’t her reaction normal for someone who was suddenly kissed twice? He doesn’t think so after all, he could tell she also enjoyed the second kiss.

Enjoy? Hellz to the no. If she says she didn’t like it, it means that she didn’t or are his thoughts the only valid ones? He’s more interested in her feelings so she reiterates that she didn’t like it and isn’t interested in someone who hits on everyone. He retorts that he only hits on those he’s attracted to. Uhm, how is that a defense? Can’t that just mean that he’s attracted to everyone?

He tells her that he was sincere and that he kissed her because he liked her. Considering his previous explanation of “that was then, this is now,” is that supposed to be comforting?

She tells him that his kiss was spontaneous, influenced by their beautiful surroundings and he asks her if she prefers a man who plans his kisses. Good point, Writer.

Then he asks her to date him. Does she need time to think? Nope – the answer is obvious. In that case, he tells her to forget it. She warns him never to try to kiss her again and he promises that it’s the last time.

Next, we see Soo Kwang and his crush. “Hyung” had advised him to act uninterested to attract women so he uses the tactic, saying that he’s done spending money on her when she asks him to buy her dinner. Plus he will be going against Jae Yul’s wishes and won’t hire her at the cafe because he’s come back to his senses.

All that goes out of the window when she invites him to eat ramen with her at home and he follows like a dog.

Jae Yul and Hae Soo get home and with the other guys present, she offers to make him ramen. When he doesn’t respond, she goads him by asking if he dislikes her.

Sunbae wonders what changed the atmosphere between them and childish Hae Soo blabs that he’s upset because she slapped him after he kissed her. Her wall is sky high and she appears to think that the best defense is an offense plus she clearly hates how vulnerable he makes her feel. I understand all these but still find her annoying.

Anyway, she laughs when he acknowledges it, saying that he did it because of his good feelings that are now gone. She scoffs that both liking and disliking her are spontaneous and it’s funny how she wants him to fight for her despite pushing him away so strongly which is exactly how I was at 14 when I played very hard to get but got upset (and felt betrayed) when the guy gave up.

He asks her if she really didn’t feel anything and she tells him to stop talking. Girl, you started it and Sunbae agrees, saying that Jae Yul shouldn’t stop.  He asks her again and she tells him that he can ask a hundred times and the answer will not change. Then she scoffs at him when he walks away angrily. Then does the same.

Something is obviously up so Sunbae goes over to talk to her. After some coaxing, he gets her to confess that she’s pushing him away because he’s a playboy but she liked it and it was also the first time she kissed someone without thinking of her mother. I’m all for love’s healing powers but I really hope meeting Mr. Right isn’t all there is to overcoming her sex anxiety.

Soo Kwang – who was listening outside – is jealous because his noona appears to be overcoming her disorder. He longs for the day he can be intimate with a woman without having an episode.

Later that night, Jae Yul thinks of their happy moments and when Hae Soo steps out to light her candle, she sees him doing it.

The next day, Sunbae tells Jae Yul why Hae Soo has an attitude with him and warns him not to play with her feelings.  She soon confesses to him that she’d lied about her feelings but that it was momentary and she has no plans of pursuing them. He responds by telling her to knock at his door or let his phone ring three times to signal a change in her mind.

A few hours later, Jae Yul drives Kang Woo home and almost gets into an accident driving on the wrong lane – or at least I think it was because I doubt all those other drivers were in the wrong… that’s if those cars even existed. I honestly can’t trust anything he sees when he’s with Kang Woo.

He drops him off close to his run-down home and just as he’s about to leave, witnesses him inferring with his father beating his mom so Jae Yul gets out of his car and runs over to help.

The man hits him and something falls out of his pocket. I wonder when it will be found. Then he recalls picking up a knife when his stepfather was mercilessly beating his brother just as Kang Woo grabs a rock. He quickly jumps across and stops the kid from using it and instead, convinces him to grab his mother and run away with the CCTV recording it all.

As he gets pounded, he recalls how his mother used her body to shield him as his stepfather beat him. But unlike his 16-year old self, he gets up and fights back.

I wonder what the tape will reveal. Was he beating himself? Maybe in his delusions, he attacked a group of people minding their business and they beat him. Who knows?

Hae Soo is worried when Jae Yul isn’t home by dinnertime and the guys tease that they should call him and let it ring three times. There’s also this bit about Soo Kwang dressing and styling his hair like his “hyung.”

Jae Yul reports the incident to the cops and they tell him that Kang Woo’s home is unoccupied. He returns home and ignores Hae Soo’s invitation to eat the meal she prepared and she notices the bruises on his face then tends to them.

When he explains what happened, she implies that it’s best to stay out of others’ family business. But it’s not something he can do, given his past especially as something tragic occurred because no one intervened. He notes that she’s the first woman he’s let into his bathroom then he takes her hand and they share a sexually-charged moment.

He pulls back the curtain and we see that his bathroom is well decorated and his tub has some cushion. Given his height, couldn’t he have sprung for a bigger one? There’s no way he sleeps comfortably.

He opens more to Hae Soo, likening unforgettable painful memories to camels who don’t forget the trees they were tied to at night.

It’s divorce party time! Yep, Sunbae and his ex have an anniversary party because he’s worried that she doesn’t have friends and has to be there for her.

The whole gang – including Hae Soo’s family – attends the party and has a good time. Well, everyone but the divorced couple because they lose a game. Young Jin (the ex-wife) leaves in a huff and Sunbae chases after her. She’s mad that he invited the whole world to a party that should be for two. Seriously though, why would a former couple meet to celebrate their divorce? Because at least one of them has regrets which Young Jin admits under her breath as she walks away after their fight.

Then Jae Yul plays son-in-law, spending time with Hae Soo’s father and niece. Her mother sees this and encourages her to date him and starts nagging when she ignores her. Hae Soo yells at her to stop and as she walks away, her slightly drunk mom screams that she’s gotten too big for her britches because she makes money and bought them the store. In fact, she’s always had an attitude with her and acts like she’s the only one who has any difficulty but does she think taking care of her father is a picnic? Life isn’t a bed of roses for her either! She keeps yelling till her elder daughter eventually informs her that they both know about her affair.

Later that night, an embarrassed Hae Soo asks how Jae Yul enjoyed spending time with her dysfunctional family and he replies that they are normal, besides, he once dated a girl with a wonderful family and she was boring because she hadn’t had any hard times to help develop her personality.

Hae Soo tells him that if not for his being an arrogant playboy, she would date him because he scores high marks in every other area. She’s just too old to embark on a pointless love.

Hae Soo induces the delusional mother the next day and learns that she’s mad at her husband for being drunk and asleep in the next room while their child was burning to death. She remembers everything when the drugs wear off and she and her husband are able to go home and start grieving properly.

The doctors discuss the couple, wondering if they will be able to make it and Young Jin thinks they will because they have love and medical help. Hae Soo agrees and quotes Jae Yul, saying that love will give them the strength to overcome their obstacle. Then she smiles  – she’s finally ready to take the plunge.

Jae Bum gets his furlough and I think it’s crazy that a repeat violent offender gets to leave prison unescorted – I don’t care if he was the most model prisoner they’d ever seen.

He goes to Sunbae’s office for his own drug-induced interview but escapes after telling him to get him some coffee.

Jae Yul is wrapping up his radio show when Hae Soo calls and lets the phone ring three times. Then she sends a text saying that she will be taking the bus home so he rushes over to the bus stop to meet her. His escaped brother who has some truth serum he had a friend procure for him follows him.

Jae Yul gets to Hae Soo and stands across the street waving at her but since this is a drama, she doesn’t see him. What happens instead is that his evil brother hits him with a baseball bat then sticks a needle in his neck.

***

Truthfully, while I understand that Kang Woo is a very vivid figment of his imagination, the way everything around him is depicted makes him look more like an alien wearing an invisibility cloak that only Jae Yul can penetrate – he’s just too active. I think it would have been better for the twist to have been revealed later because I find it a little distracting. Kang Woo’s home doesn’t appear to be Jae Yul’s old home so why did his brain decide to pick an empty home and claim it as his? I hope there’s some explanation for this.

Who killed the awful stepfather? At this rate, it might turn out to be the mom (and maybe she didn’t confess because going to jail would have left her kids without a caretaker) but I think that even if Jae Bum is innocent of that crime, he definitely should have been locked up for abusing his brother. He’s in his own hell but he’s far too violent and it seems that he’s always looked for a reason to abuse his brother. At first, it was because he let his stepfather hit him and now, it’s because he thinks he’s been wronged. Does he hate or resent him for some other reason?

On another note, it’s funny that our couple is being set up as being chemistry-charged debaters yet I feel there’s something missing… heart, perhaps? Their dialogue is fine and the situations make sense but maybe it’s because I still see them as actors playing characters (particularly Hae Soo) so it feels a tad artificial to me. Well, as I said, I will stop thinking so much and just enjoy this as a love story.

Till next week.

1 Comment

  • ANYA says:

    Yea, I’m in the same boat. My brain sees many jarring discrepancies and artificial dramatic devices with the characterization of Kang Woo, layout of Hae Soo’s character arc, and some of the drama’s pacing. Also Soo Kwang’s infatuation with a minor is just gross. Can’t the writing team make another choice? Because I don’t get the point they are trying to make here. Are they basically trying to show that his character is so off that he can only find ongoing, steady affection and “friendship” with a minor, who suffers from a disorder as well. (Minus the recent add of JY, his support network of housemates don’t count because they are shrinks; and one treats him.) SK’s relationship with her has existed for some time based on his dialogue in episode 4. Perhaps the extremity of the relationship is supposed to demonstrate the severity of his disorder. My issue is that there are so many other editorial choices one can make to showcase that same point. I think the ick factor creates an unwelcomed distraction in the show, which already has a lot going on.

    My issue with SK’s plot line is just an example of what I find unsettling about the stylistic and dramatic choices of IOTL. I feel like they are in the mode of “more is more” and certainly lack much in the subtlety department. I get HS has a lot of issues with her anxiety, but does it come in the form of her yelling and arguing non-stop at the beginning to halfway of episode 3. What is the point? Especially for someone who practices psychiatry, she seems just as emotionally rash as someone not in her profession but suffers the same issues. So I think it boils down to both the writing and editorial choices on the drama’s pacing. And I’m a GHJ fan. Her acting abilities are superb but the writing has minimized her usual quirky charm. HS is supposed to be smart, headstrong, and biting yet charming. But right now I see a person who is quick to judge, stubborn, and annoying, one who likes to argue, a lot.

    The pacing and dramatic choices really make it hard for me to turn off my brain and just enjoy the show. And I so want to enjoy it! The acting cast is some of the choicest and IOTL’s gloss factor is captivating. So sad….

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