This episode was pure love for me. I’ve taken a break from watching IOTNBO because I want to store up those episodes for a marathon. But I’ll get back to watching this weekend most likely. Relationships are the main thrust of this episode and we get to see more insights into various relationships in the drama. My recap of It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020) Chapter 4 – Zombie Kid begins now.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020): The story of a community health worker at a psychiatric ward who lives on 1.8 million won (approximately $1,520) a month and a storybook writer suffering from an antisocial personality disorder. A man who denies love and a woman who doesn’t know love defy fate and fall in love, finding their souls and identities in the process. Moon Kang Tae is a community health worker at a psychiatric ward who was blessed with everything including a great body, smarts, ability to sympathize with others, patience, ability to react quickly, stamina, and more. Meanwhile, Go Moon Young is a popular writer of children’s literature, but she is extremely selfish, arrogant, and rude. (Source: Soompi & Koreandrama.org)
Episode 4 Recap
The episode starts right back where we left off in episode 3, with Gi Do making a scene at his father’s campaign rally and Moon Young and Kang Tae watching him. Then Kang Tae asked ‘Should I just have fun with you?’ But almost immediately Kang Tae backtracks when Moon Young presses him on it. There are ramifications to their actions and those are soon made apparent as the scandal hits the news and the hospital is affected as well.
Also Gi Do’s mom is upset at him and hits him. Gi Do is actually pleased by it as he says it made him realize how much his mom loves him. Kang Tae watched Gi Do with his mom and has a flashback to his own relationship with his mom. His mom hit him for going off alone and leaving his brother get beaten up. His mother asked him to always look after his brother and he agrees, but when she says that’s why I gave birth to you, we can tell he didn’t like that at all.
Back in the present, Kang Tae decides to go with Moon Young even though he didn’t have to, since Joo Ri is there too. Kang Tae and Moon Young talk as they ride back to the hospital and she tells him to tell him when he wants to run away and she’ll kidnap him. There’s a beautiful scene with cherry blossoms floating down, but Moon Young hates them and says she likes flowers like a magnolia that falls down all at once instead of petal by petal. Hmm, wonder what significance this scene has?
Kang Tae and Moon Young stop to have ramen and then Kang Tae gets a call from Moon Young’s CEO Sang In who warns him about her, saying Moon Young will eat him alive. Then Kang Tae learns that her book Zombie Kid has been banned from being sold and he relates the news to Moon Young. Moon Young tells him it’s not because of the event with his brother, but the story and pictures are considered too gross for kids and scoffs at that. Moon Young tells Kang Tae that he’s like a kid cuz she can tell that he wants to be loved.
On the road again, Kang Tae asked her why she doesn’t take her father up for walks. She just says it’s a waste of time, that it’s better if he died and Kang Tae starts to get really pissed off at her attitude. The more they talk, the more upset he gets at her until he finally says he forgot for a moment what she’s really like. He asks her to stop the car and he gets out and she runs after him and asks why he’s upset? But he just keeps walking, so she pulls out the big guns. With a slight smile on her face, she calls after him ‘I love you.’ He stops for a moment, but then continues to walk away, and she continues to yell after him more desperately. Kang Tae then meets up with his brother and asks him about school, but all he says is it was really boring. So is Sang Tae really going to school or not? Because I thought he was working at the pizza place instead or is he just lying to Kang Tae?
Meanwhile, Moon Young has arrived home to find her CEO Sang In is there waiting for her. There is a scene of her as a young girl with her mother brushing her hair, telling Moon Young she’s very special. She tells her that she’s her greatest creation. More nightmare images of a dead body and blood seeping from beneath a door. And then we see Moon Young sitting before her mirror as an adult, brushing her long hair.
Sang In goes to get pizza at what is apparently the only pizza place in town, the one owned? by Kang Tae’s friend Jae Soo. Joo Ri comes in and Sang In is dazzled by her and tries to get her to join him, but she refuses and they both sit and drink, grousing about the person they’re both upset at: Moon Young, at their separate tables. The assembly man, Gi Do’s father, arrives at the hospital to complain about what happened with his son Gi Do and like always, Kang Tae takes the fall for it and he gets blamed and slapped by the assembly man.
Moon Young has come to the hospital as well and there’s cuteness abound as she finally meets Sang Tae face to face, and then she meets up with Kang Tae and tells Kang Tae tells him she’s here to take her father for a walk because he wanted her to basically. Kang Tae has been suspended and he is upset, even yelling at his brother for the first time (first time that we see at least). Moon Young gets riled up to see that someone slapped them and she’s all ready to make some noise, but he asked her why is she upset? He is really biting to her, asking her do you even know what kind of emotion you have? And he tells her she’s empty inside, and just loud. He tells her stop acting like she understands him and to stop being delusional.
Moon Young goes to take her father on a walk and wonders if his memories are really lost or if he’s just pretending? She whispers in his ear, ‘Did you really forget what type of person I am?’ Her dad puts out a hand and says ‘die,’ starts calling her ‘monster’ and chokes her. The hospital staff manages to get him off her and Moon Young just lays there laughing, but with a tear rolling down her cheek. In a zombie state, she starts walking. And we hear someone say who was watching her, ‘Serves you right, you don’t belong here, you shouldn’t have come here.’ Interesting. We don’t see the person, just a voice over, but it sounds like a woman.
On the bus ride home, Kang Tae sees Moon Young walking by, but doesn’t do anything and goes home. He does chores at home and empties his brother’s backpack which has the book Zombie Kid in it since his brother is still hiding out in the kitchen (because Kang Tae yelled at him) so someone else will take him home later. Kang Tae reads the story of Zombie Kid about a baby boy who was born into a small village and was a very unusual baby, all he did was eat. His mother found out he had no feelings at all and the only thing he wanted to do is eat and so he ate and ate. His mother locked him up in the basement so the villagers wouldn’t see him and she raised him in secret. Years went by, and then an epidemic happened and it killed off the animals and some people and her son was hungry and so the mother started chopping off her limbs and feeding them to him. When she was left with only her torso, she hugs him close to her for the last time and the zombie kid speaks for the first time and says ‘mom, you’re so warm.’ and we start to see a flashback of young Kang Tae with his mother and how he clung to her as she slept.
Kang Tae bursts out crying, while Moon Young pauses and thinks of her own parents and and asks the question, what did the boy really want, to satisfy his hunger or his mother’s warm embrace?
His friend Jae Soo comes home cuz he heard about Kang Tae being suspended from work and tells him about how Moon Young had been choked by her father and Kang Tae thinks back to how he saw her walking down the road and he goes after her on Jae Soo’s motorbike. It’s raining, pouring outside now and Kang Tae finally finds her still walking in the rain, comes to her, takes off his jacket and puts it around her.
Like with any episode, there is a lot going on here, a lot of unsolved mysteries and intriguing moments and it would take time I don’t have to go into all of it (plus there are other recaps out there which I don’t read so forgive me if I’m going over the same territory), so I’ll just focus on one thing: relationships.
I’m an adult now, but as a teenager growing up, I remember so many incidents where I felt my parents were being unfair to me, where I thought my mom loved my siblings more then me and so on. It took years as a grown up for me to look back on it all and realize that I’m very lucky in my parents, they may have been unfair at times, may have yelled or shouted, but they love me and did their best. We see Kang Tae going through the same realization now, and he’s beginning to realize that all the angst he’s carried that made him what he is today, made him feel that his only role was to take care of his brother, was probably based on an incomplete understanding of his mother and their life together. People aren’t perfect, they mess up, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t love you or care about you, they just have their own hang ups too.
But if we contrast Kang Tae’s relationship to his mother to Moon Young and her parents, his relationship looks so much more normal and less dysfunctional as opposed to hers that it’s like night and day. Moon Young’s mother seems to have had almost an obsession with her, wanting to keep her to herself and away from anyone else. And the father? Oh, don’t get me started. Moon Young’s father mumbles stuff about Moon Young being a monster, yet he’s the one who’s choking her, trying to kill her.
The last thing I wanted to point out is the moment where Moon Young is sitting for a moment after her big blowup with first Kang Tae and then her choking incident with her father and as she sits, an ant comes crawling up to her. Moon Young blocks the ant from crawling on her with her shoe, not once, but twice, not killing it even though had it been me or most people, I would have done so in a flash. (Hey, I step over ants too at times, and try to avoid unnecessary killing of them, I’m not pscyho, I’m okay.)
How does this square with the girl who rips butterflies in half though? It would be easier in that instant for Moon Young to just crush the ant with her shoe, yet she doesn’t. It’s true that we all (or most of us) have our moments of compassion and mercy, but this and what Moon Young’s father says about her, doesn’t seem to add up to the picture of Moon Young as a heartless monster. And it seems that Kang Tae, and us as the audience, are realizing that more and more as the drama goes on.