So I have been casually watching It’s Okay, It’s Love and it’s a “fun” show with a wonderful cast, great music selection and of course, gorgeous to look at. However, the main reason I tune in every week is because the show makes an effort to normalize mental illness in a society that stigmatizes it. That alone is very praiseworthy, but it wasn’t until episode 4 that I really became emotionally involved in the show.
Updated with the song from when Jae Yeol watches Hae Soo sleep, thanks to reader dimakat!
I think this attachment grew out of intense interest in Jo In Sung’s character, Jang Jae Yeol. His character is so complex and layered and in this episode, we get a lot of “answers” (maybe…) to his painful past.
As many people suspected, D.O.’s character, Kang Woo, is only a facet of Jae Yeol’s imagination. Whether or not he is Jae Yeol’s past self is still up for deliberation but the two definitely have many things in common that help us look into Jae Yeol’s tormented childhood. Based on the things that we learn through Kang Woo and Jae Yeol’s older brother, Jae Beom, we can deduce that Jae Yeol and his mom were abused by his dad growing up. So I’m assuming that after years of such agony, he took it into his own hands and killed his dad. By doing so he managed to finally protect himself and his mom. The psychological trauma was so much that he now suffers amnesia about the specific event but the guilt seems to remain so intense that he created Kang Woo as an outlet.
We see that Kang Woo suffers the exact same home situation as Jae Yeol did growing up but in this episode, we have a very telling scene in which Kang Woo runs to Jae Yeol after he hit his dad in order to stop dad from hitting his mom. As he hugs Kang Woo, with tears in his eyes Jae Yeol says, “You didn’t hit your dad. You blocked his attack. You just blocked his attack”. Sure seems like he’s unconsciously consoling himself and rationalizing his own actions against his dad those many years ago.
How heartbreaking is that? There are not many things that I despise but one of those things is people who use their authority and position to abuse children. Children should be protected by the adults in their lives and should not be taken advantage of. It’s despicable. (Edit: It’s telling when Jae Yeol takes offense at Hae Soo accusing that he was hitting on a minor and he says, “I treat a minor like a minor“. It’s a sore subject, especially when the adult figures in his life failed to do the same for him…) I’m not saying that murder is the best solution but I definitely sympathize with Jae Yeol immensely. When the law is set up in a way that it makes it difficult for victims of abuse to find justice and solace, it pushes them into a pit of despair and they can only see one way to escape the darkness. In these situations, it is an act in self-defense and the law should see it as such and only give a punishment that is worthy of the crime.
In Jae Yeol’s case, the interesting (and sad) part is that his older brother, Jae Beom, was punished for a crime he might not have committed but at this point, I don’t know if either brothers are reliable sources and narrators. Maybe they killed the dad together or maybe only one of the two did but it seems like both are in need of some serious counseling. It does look like Sung Dong Il’s character, Dong Min, is slowly figuring out about Jae Yeol’s past now that he’s heard Jae Beom’s side of the story. (But from the flashback, it kind of looks like the dad jumped on the knife rather than Jae Yeol stabbing him so maybe someone pushed dad onto the knife…??) The scene where Jae Beom pleads Dong Min to administer the amytal sodium injection to his mom and brother was rather heart-wrenching though.
Now that I am hooked on IOIL, I’m very curious to see how this all plays out since Jae Yeol is a lot more ill than he thinks. Jae Yeol knows he suffers from OCD but he doesn’t know that he has been interacting with a figment of his own imagination. It also seems like he actually sleeps in the bathroom, thus explaining the lock. How will he handle it if he finds out he is the real killer? Of course, that’s only if he really is since I feel like the writer has a lot more under her sleeve than we think. It is only episode 4.
I’m also wondering how writer Noh is going to work this with the whole romantic comedy element. How will Gong Hyo Jin’s character, Hae Soo, deal with this discovery? Sooner or later , she’s going to find out that Jae Yeol is definitely not as okay has he seems. But for now, I’m going to bask in their romance especially since both of them are so good at getting under each other’s skin. At the same time, hopefully they will slowly heal each other’s deep rooted scars through the great power of love.
I’ll probably only comment on the show every now and then so for now, enjoy some of the songs from the show:
Song from when Jae Yeol watches Hae Soo sleep titled Crush (feat. Punch)-Sleepless Night: (thanks dimakat)
IOTL OST by EXO’s Chen:
From the scene where Jae Yeol DJ’s and make hearts at Hae Soo:
Another song from his DJ session:
The opening theme:
Preview for Episode 5: