The Couch Potato : It’s Okay To Not Be Okay – Mid Run Review and Expectations

We are at episode 8 for the series – It’s Okay To Not Be Okay – which means it’s time for – yup the mid run review and expectations!

I’m just going to take some time to discuss what has happened so far and what may happen in the future episodes and what I look forward to now that we have reached the halfway mark of this series.

To read about the synopsis and initial remarks on the series as well as episode recaps and other associated posts just click the link here!

When the synopsis of the series released all we knew is that it was about a caretaker at a mental health facility and a children’s book author who is suffering from ASPD – you can read more on the link above. Now eight episodes in we have gotten a real clarity on the characters.

From left to right, Ko Mun Yeong played by Seo Ye Ji and Moon Kang Tae played by Kim Soo Hyun.

Our leads are Ko Mun Yeong the famed children’s book author and the caretaker Moon Kang Tae. Let’s start with Mun Yeong shall we? As described in the synopsis she does suffer from ASPD and boy she has such a unique personality. She is feisty, bold and quite reactive in her actions. Nothing really fazes her and what she wants, she gets. She is also shown to be having an adept interest to shiny and sharp objects in the series as well.

Another interesting that I liked about this series are her books and the other fairy tales that are mentioned in the story and the cute animations they used to tell the story by. Each episodes titles and story is based on the fairy tale on which the episode is named. We do see glimpses of her books once in a while and although they are labelled as children’s books – Mun Yeong’s realistic touch is there – it doesn’t really soften details that much – and it makes you think a lot too. During the course of the episodes Mun Yeong takes a set of literature classes in OK Psychiatric Hospital (which is the main setting) – her take on the stories may seem cruel at first glance but I feel she sees beyond the fairy tale element and tries to take the story in the raw form that is – I felt that’s really unique and really drew me towards her character a lot.

Her rather lavish sense of dressing which might sometimes seems over the top and out of place in a more simple scene is now depicted as a method she protects herself. As much as she is bold and head strong there are moments she feels weak and helpless – her mother being one of the most important reasons for the same – something happened to her or a series of incidents happened between her and her mother that affected her. We also suspect her father tried to murder her and her mother as well as a result of the incidents – which needless to say has her scarred for life. Coupled with her memories of that creeps mansion she lives in – her story seems dark but interesting.

Kang Tae however is an entirely different altogether. I have always felt that Kim Soo Hyun, who is the actor who plays Kang Tae, has a strong talent for maintaing an expressionless poker face but still deliver a lot through his eyes. That’s essentially what he embodies in Kang Tae. Kang Tae is silent, patient and rarely says much. He doesn’t have time for himself as he must take care of his brother who is on the autistic spectrum – Sang Tae.

Their mother died, or was killed – we dunno yet – years ago with the only witness who is Sang Tae who keeps saying – The Butterflies did it. The butterflies are then a recurring and tormenting dream for Sang Tae going forward and everytime he gets that nightmare Kang Tae is forced to move homes to another place with his brother so that Sang Tae is not chased by the butterflies.

Through a series of flashbacks we also see that Kang Tae has been neglected, although not purposefully,by his mother who paid more attention to his brother, naturally. There were a few flashbacks that showed us the same and in the present he silently cries looking at the sky when his friend Jae Su asks his mother in the skies why he was treated that way. His muted tears screamed out into the screen – and you can’t help but cry with him.

This is where Kang Tae and Mun Yeong blend – as impossible as it sounds – a boy who takes care if everyone and a girl who cares for no one. Their on screen chemistry as subtle or as loud as it’s shown has kept us glued on to the screen.

The story wouldn’t be complete if we don’t mention Sang Tae either. In fact I won’t classify him as supporting cast – he is every much as important as the main cast and in fact ties the fate of all our characters together. Sang Tae is on the autistic spectrum something that has been depicted quite well so far on screen and is an amazing artist. He is also a huge fan of Mun Yeong’s books and loves dinosaurs as well. His interesting responses that are relayed within a heartbeat rush in a fresh aura into the story. His acting has to be commended at this point – it’s faultless.

The story has several settings the main one where all the characters culminate being OK Psychiatric Hospital. It manages to be serene and beautiful as well as scary at the same time. We have an entourage of supporting characters in the hospital (reminds me of Chocolate) who have their story shown at regular intervals in the story. The staff also form important characters in the story as well including Ju Ri – the nurse who is nursing a broken heart due to her unidirectional love for Kang Tae, the Head Nurse – whose the actual boss around the hospital and the sensible yet humor filled and smart Director Oh who is also helping Sang Tae with his PTSD – to find out what the butterflies are – I’m sure we will find it – it will answer a lot of questions. Other interesting characters are the CEO of Mun Yeong’s publishing company who has ke developed a crush on Ju Ri, as well as Jae Su , Kang Tae’s longtime friend who moves homes and businesses along with the brothers every single time – I’m interested to know how their friendship came to be!

Coming to predictions we are definitely going to see how Kang Tae and Mun Yeong worked out because let’s face it – it’s not easy. Even if the couple comes to terms with how both of them are and their pasta – how will Sang Tae come into the picture? Sang Tae is definitely a huge role in Kang Tae’s world and needs a lot of his brother’s attention but how will that work with the attention seeking Mun Yeong – I’m waiting to see how that works out.

That also means we come to the bottom of the butterflies that haunt Sang Tae – who is responsible for that? Well we have an inkling! And the answer is probably going to come from –

Mun Yeong’s father who is admitted in the hospital after dementia and other issues.
Park Ok Ran, a rather troublesome patient at the hospital

The key to the story might be in Mun Yeong’s father itself! From the footage we saw from his sessions with Director Oh his wife seems to have been one terrifying person – who he at one point claims to have killed as well. And why does patient Park Ok Ran come into picture? Well he wandered the hallways at night and gets a seizure because of a certain song that was sung – My Darling Clementine- something his wife used to sing – and who was in the CCTV at thay exact same time? Park Ok Ran.

Mun Yeong’s mother has been missing for many years and declared dead after 5 years although some beleive she is still alive – she apparently used to be a mystery books author herself – a legend in her field and that mansion was built by her husband when their daughter was born to help her in her writing. At one point Mun Yeong’s father even mentions how his wife has even killed a woman – my K-drama senses tell me that’s Kang Tae’s and Sang Tae’s mother!

But let’s wait for that one!

The series has done exceptionally well until now and fans are raving about it after every episode! We just can’t get enough! Also the series is doing a pretty good job at representing mental disorders without causing too much dramatics or misconceptions so far, something that is very rare in K-Dramas!

What do you expect in the upcoming episodes? Let me know in the comments!

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