Jae Yeol: “Like that, due to many people’s help, at that convent in a cave, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, there is a candle that is continually lit without burning out day or night. There’ is only one reason why the candle is lit. It’s for all the lonely people in the world outside of the cave. For those of you who are lonely because you’re alone, there is someone who is praying for you 24 hours a day. Remember that. You are not alone, not even for a second.”
Coming into the finale, I was definitely expecting a satisfying and well-written ending, since I don’t expect anything less from writer Noh, but boy was I surprised by just how wonderfully heartwarming and feel-good this last episode was. The smile is still plastered on my face. Writer Noh was definitely spoiling us (not that I was complaining!) and I got everything I was hoping for in this episode and more. It really was a great way to end this series. Remind me again why this show has to end?!?! *tears*
With that being said, we start the episode with the heart-wrenching farewell between Jae Yeol and Kang Woo. Separations are always difficult, even if one of the two people involved is only a figment of Jae Yeol’s broken mind, since for the past three years, Kang Woo was every bit as real as any other person in Jae Yeol’s life and his role was an important one. Except now he can leave peacefully, since Jae Yeol has Hae Soo to lean on and together, they can handle anything that life throws at them (and no, I don’t mean lemons).
Kang Woo: Author Jang, should I…not come anymore?
Jae Yeol: My girlfriend…said to tell you “thank you”. If I didn’t meet you, she said I probably wouldn’t have been able to live until now because of a sense of guilt. While I was comforting you, actually, she said I was comforting myself. Thank you, Kang Woo-ah. Only after I met you, I realized it. That even if I pretend to be strong, I was really scared by my stepfather’s violence and my brother’s violence. Even though I saw my mom getting beaten up, I really hated myself, who couldn’t do anything, and who had no strength. When I was running away in the field barefooted, even though I didn’t cry, I was…was really scared.
Kang Woo: It’s all…incidents in the past.
Jae Yeol: Okay. I was young back then, and that incident is in the past. Now, I…I became a really decent adult. That’s how I think.
Kang Woo: Now, even if I come, pretend not to know me, Author Jang. Even so, if suddenly you want to see me, look in the mirror. Because you are me.
Jae Yeol: Yeah.
Kang Woo: Now, I am leaving. Goodbye…Han Kang Woo.
Jae Yeol: Goodbye…Jang Jae Yeol.
By talking to Kang Woo about the emotions and feelings that he has been burying beneath a façade of strength and cheerfulness, he was engaging himself in some much needed self-therapy. Through accepting that his past has had a profound influence on his life, he can begin to deal with them and eventually get better. As Jo sunbae said, Jae Yeol must try to understand that his actions from the past were borne from the unfair situation in which he was placed and in no way defines the person that he has become. In doing so he can forgive himself and let go of the guilt that has weighed him down for so long.
With one major obstacle down, Hae Soo and Jae Yeol have one final hurdle to jump over; Hae Soo’s family’s disapproval. Before we get into that little Debbie Downer bit, let’s first relish in how adorable Hae Soo and Jae Yeol were in the hospital. Since they have to pretend that they don’t know each other while in the hospital, they instead opt for some of the most adorable bits of secret exchanges.
Back to the issue of family disapproval. Since discovering that he suffers from one of the most severe mental disorders known to man and realizing that Hae Soo’s family wants him to let her go, Jae Yeol has been feeling conflicted about whether or not he should hold on to Hae Soo, and possibly burden her, or to let her go, against both of their desires. Jae Yeol just so happen to stubble upon Hae Soo’s mom “escorting” her away from the hospital. To gain a better insight on what it is like to be together when one partner suffers from schizophrenia, he decides to consult with Hye Jin and Yoon Cheol.
Hye Jin: Feeling sorry towards Yoon Cheol, it is still the same. What do I do, if I ruin this person’s life? How hard will it be for this person if I relapse again?
Jae Yeol: Every time that happens, don’t you want to leave Yoon Cheol and run away?
Hye Jin: Running away is too easy.
Yoon Cheol: I told her this. If she feels sorry towards me, hold it in even if she gets angry, and to adore me a lot. Don’t think only of Hae Soo. You also have the right to be happy.
However, it’s necessary that Jae Yeol overcome his inferiority complex when it comes to his mental disorder so that he can truly be happy with Hae Soo and eventually face her family. He loves her too much to prevent her from achieving her dreams. Instead of thinking of their separation as a break up, it’s more just Jae Yeol pushing Hae Soo to travel the world like she planned. He knows she loves him, and would be willing to postpone that part of her life plans indefinitely for him, but he doesn’t want her to. He makes it clear that long as they still love each other after a year, than this separation is in no way final. If he doesn’t force her to go, he would forever live with the thought that he held her back from achieving her potential.
It’s actually rather quite smart too. Hae Soo gets to travel the world alone for a year, just like she has always dreamt of, and Jae Yeol can focus solely on getting better. This also gives them the legitimation in the face of Hae Soo’s mom and sister, that he did try his best to push Hae Soo away. This makes it so that Hae Soo wouldn’t be forced to choose between him and her family, since she was willing to cut off ties with mom if mom forced her to leave Jae Yeol.
Hae Soo: Now, how are you feeling?
Jae Yeol: I got a call from Tae Yong, the radio program I used to do invited me as a guest. What are your thoughts?
Hae Soo: Go on it. Go and break the ignorance and stupidity of people who can’t differentiate between a criminal without remorse and a schizophrenia patient who’s hurting.
Jae Yeol: I’ll think about it. And you…as planned, have a sabbatical year.
Hae Soo: Did you call to tell me that? To tell me to leave?
Jae Yeol: Yes.
Hae Soo: What’s this? Are we going to break up again?
Jae Yeol: Keep your loyalty to your mom.
Hae Soo: I made her a lot of money during all this time.
Jae Yeol: If you do that to your mom, whom you haven’t once been nice to, you’ll be punished.
Hae Soo: My life is mine. (Damn right!)
Jae Yeol: Even after being discharged, I’ll regularly receive treatment well. Love is…isn’t sacrificing something for the other person, it’s accomplishing something. Don’t give up an important part of your life because of me. With your free two feet, leave as you had planned.
Hae Soo: Are you serious?
Jae Yeol: For one year, do your best to forget me. If you can’t forget me even after that, then let’s meet once you come back. Don’t call me. As you know my personality, even if you call me, I won’t answer. After today, I will reject your visits. If you make rounds as a doctor, then I’m going to transfer hospitals.
Hae Soo: Is it easy for you to let me go?
Jae Yeol: It’s hard. But I have to endure through the hard times, so that later to your family, I can confidently say that I tried as best as I can.
Hae Soo: On my trip, what if I meet another guy, then what will you do?
Jae Yeol: I’m totally your style. But if that happened, then I’ll think that I must have been mistaken and say, “Live a good life, Ji Hae Soo”. I won’t give in. As I have found Kang Woo’s existence because of you, because of me, have your sabbatical. Come back after becoming an even better doctor. Now, go.
Hae Soo: You’re not going to give in for me, right?
Jae Yeol: No. [wipes her tears and kisses her] Go.
Hae Soo: Do you know that you’re really mean?
Jae Yeol: I know.
Hae Soo: I’m going.
I’m also glad that this separation allowed Hae Soo’s mom to soften towards the idea that maybe Jae Yeol and Hae Soo are meant to be together and it’s going to be damn hard to keep them apart. She saw how considerate Jae Yeol was in helping her persuade Hae Soo to go abroad. It was a sweet moment to watch mom and Hae Soo have an honest conversation with one another about Hae Soo’s life decisions. Hae Soo wants mom to trust her and you can see the moment when mom realizes, that as Jae Yeol says, love shouldn’t mean sacrifice. Hae Soo shouldn’t have to give up her happiness to make mom happy.
Mom: So, after handing in your vacation leave letter tomorrow, are you really leaving immediately afterwards?
Hae Soo: Yes.
Mom: Together, deceiving me and contacting each other behind my back, and getting together and doing something else, it isn’t like that, right? If Jang Jae Yeol and I were that cunning, we would have already left our families and this country. You know me, my personality. If I leave, I will never call Jang Jae Yeol. Because I really, really love my mother. I can at least make you happy this much.
Mom: It’s enough. Then go.
Hae Soo: But mom. Mom, up until now, just the way you have believed in me, please believe in me one more time.
Hae Soo: Believe in the fact that I can treat my patients very well, and that I am a good doctor. And even when I have to face an unfortunate obstacle, that I can turn the situation around into a happy one, that I am that kid.
Mom: Are you saying that when you come back, you are going to again with Jae Yeol…
Hae Soo: Mom, I love you. I’ll contact you often. I’m going to go.
Mom: That stubborn girl, really.
As Hae Soo heads off to travel the world, Jae Yeol continues to deal with his mental disorder, as well as the ignorance that people have surrounding schizophrenia. As he heads to be a guest on his old radio show, one fan even wondered if he is pretending to suffer from schizophrenia to sell his books since he’s looks so “normal”. Uggh.
Jae Yeol: Hello everyone, it’s Jang Jae Yeol. Many people probably already know, but I am currently battling schizophrenia. Doctors say that 1 in 100 people have this common illness and rather than it being an incurable disease, it is possible to return to normal life. I trust their words and I’m planning on trying my best. What I can do for those whom I love is never losing hope no matter what. For today’s good night words, instead of directing them to you, I would like to dedicate them to myself instead. Up until now, I’ve always only asked how others feel and have said numerous goodbyes to them, but for myself, I haven’t once done the same for myself. Tonight, I also suggest you to, instead of others, ask yourself, “Are you really okay?” Check on yourself like this and do a warm “good night” to yourself. I wish you’d all do this. So, tonight as well, good night, Jang Jae Yeol.
Jae Yeol is in essence saying that caring for others is important, but caring for your own well-being is what truly matters. Don’t disregard your own feelings. You should come first so do what makes happiness. It was sweet that all all the people in his life that love and support him were listening intently to the radio program and then told themselves a “good night”, just as he recommended.
It was adorable how during their so-called break-up, everyone would just oh-so casually bring up Hae Soo to Jae Yeol. Like how Soo Kwang and Jo sunbae looked at the pictures of Hae Soo’s travels right in front of him and asked if he really, really won’t look at them. In a way, Jae Yeol and Hae Soo can withstand this separation so calmly because their hearts are connected. They trust and know each other better than anyone. They both know that they’ll wind up back in each other’s arms eventually. It’s like the idea behind the Red String of Fate.
[One Year Since Hae Soo Left]
We get an appropriate use of a time jump and it’s wonderful to know that the Jang family is on their way to becoming a highly functional family. Jae Beom has grown out black hair again and seems to have a huge crush on Young Jin. Which is as hilarious as you can imagine! When told to change his shirt to a blue one, “My Young Jin likes white”. HA! I love that the whole family is able to joke around with each other and are once again comfortable in each other’s presence. I’m also glad that the show didn’t gloss over the fact that both mom and Jae Beom also need psychological treatment; they went through a lot as well.
Before her return, this is a letter/email (?) that Hae Soo wrote to Jae Yeol as she relived the moments from their vacation in Okinawa together:
Hi, Jang Jae Yeol, yesterday, as my last relaxing vacation, I came back to Okinawa. And all day, I just stared at the ocean that we went to. And, today…I am here (the cliff) again. Tomorrow, I’m coming back to Seoul. I am certain you haven’t, but just in case, you haven’t forgotten about me, Ji Hae Soo, right? I’ll contact you when I get there.
Cute, but their reunion was even cuter. Albeit, a bit odd, but just in line with the feel of these characters. Hae Soo happily returns home to lukewarm reactions from Soo Kwang and Jo sunbae, who are too busy putting a puzzle together to pay any attention to her (they are hilariously childish about it too). Of course we know they are just messing with her, but she doesn’t and actually feels pretty vexed about their lack of warmth and excitement. To make it worst, the house is a mess and when she gets some water to calm herself down, Jae Yeol suddenly appears, to her delight, but then nonchalantly says, “You’re here. You became prettier while I didn’t see you”, and then leaves like, well, a hallucination.
Now seriously angry, Hae Soo follows Jae Yeol to his room and takes him to task for his strange, carefree attitude about her returning after ONE WHOLE YEAR away.
Hae Soo: ‘You’re here. You became prettier…’ What are you trying to say?
Jae Yeol: Just that.
Hae Soo [exasperated]: Did you forget me?
Jae Yeol: No.
Hae Soo: Then the thoughtlessness, the careless welcome, what’s with that? You haven’t forgotten about me, but you don’t care?
Jae Yeol: You see, because I’ve been thinking about you every day, it feels like I saw you yesterday then again a few moments before. I really missed you. Can I kiss you?
Hae Soo: Please do.
So the two of them start making out, like two people who love each other and have finally reunited. (So many other drama couples fail at expressing this…) Of course Soo Kwang and Jo sunbae have to pop into the room, bearing a puzzle that writes, “Hae Soo, whom we love, Jae Yeol was waiting so long for you”, to witness the two of them kissing (now I see why Jo sunbae said all the puzzle pieces look the same…). Instead of leaving, Soo Kwang and Jo sunbae stay to enjoy the show. They are such voyeurs and it’s hilarious but I’m just screaming at them to leave the room so our OTP can physically express their love! They have to be asked to leave by Jae Yeol before they actually start making their way, way too slowly, towards the door. In the meantime, Jae Yeol and Hae Soo just continue kissing, as if no ones watching, and it’s super sweet! They’re just so happy, that it makes me feel happy!
[One Year, Again Since Hae Soo and Jae Yeol Reunited]
We pan across a painting of a camel that is no longer tied down by its past trauma and is roaming freely across the vast desert, which has replaced the old painting. The symbolism behind this is beautiful.
In the bathroom, we find Hae Soo looking at a positive pregnancy test. YES!!! But seriously, with their libido, it’s really not a surprise. Rather unhappy, she returns to the bedroom, where Jae Yeol is still sleeping IN BED. Hae Soo gets back in bed and Jae Yeol hugs her while placing his head on her stomach so she peevishly tells him to take his head off her stomach. I find it simultaneously hilarious and adorable that Jae Yeol immediately assumes that he did something wrong to get scolded by her. He even offers to raise his arms up in the air as punishment but then quickly puts them down when she tells him not to do that. These two are so cute!
I love how he asks what is the problem today, like this is a common occurrence, but as soon as she shows him the pregnancy test, Hae Soo: “5 weeks ago, I told you that we shouldn’t do it if we didn’t have a condom, didn’t I? But you persistently persuaded me to do it anyway”, his reaction is priceless.
He just silently gets up and leaves the room, as Hae Soo calls after him; “Honey!” (they’re married!). He casually heads outside and places the pee stick on the table to brag to Soo Kwang and Jo sunbae that he’s going to be a dad! It’s adorable how ecstatic he is about this news and exactly the kind of reaction any girl would want from their husband. Of course unless that girl is Hae Soo, because then even with Jae Yeol’s sweet words, “But on that particular day, Hae Soo was so pretty. My mind was all over the place”, she sprays all three men down with the water hose.
Jae Yeol’s can barely contain his excitement at this good news, so fitting of his character, that he goes off and tells Hae Soo’s mom and dad about the pregnancy. Mom’s super proud of Jae Yeol too, as if it’s some sort of great“accomplishment”. LOL She totally dotes on him now.
Maybe almost as much as Jae Yeol dotes on Hae Soo…almost. Even though she’s the type of girl to tell him to sleep in Soo Kwang’s room because he got her pregnant, only to realize that she can’t stand a night without him by her side.
Then…we get one of the most peculiar scenes in the drama. If I wasn’t already use to the level of zany from this show, it would have felt out of place, but for this show, it oddly fits. Jo sunbae decides to host an intense stress relieving program where all the couples on our show go to a white room, wearing white t-shirts, denim pants, and throws tomatoes at each other. It’s actually really cute. It was especially hilarious how Hae Soo said that to participate, you must have something against the others, so Jae Yeol chimes in to say that he has nothing against her, but once she starts scolding him for making her postpone her doctorate degree, he’s all in. LOL
Our OTP changes the candle together every night. They are so in sync, she replaces the candle, and he lights it.
Our show ends with our very much in love couple out on an ice cream eating date; very similar to the time he picked her up at the bus stop. When they run into a group of fans (cameo alert) that push Hae Soo out the way, Jae Yeol becomes super protective of her.
Jae Yeol: Don’t be like that to my wife. She’s pregnant right now, so you can’t be like this. Also it’s our alone time, so I’ll sign later.
Hae Soo: I’m sorry, my husband cares for me too much. Sorry. Come to the signing. Sorry.
Haha I love their responses. They are so perfectly happy and it’s hilarious how they basically rub it in other people’s faces. Which, well, they should.
They continue on their date and Hae Soo’s worried Jae Yeol will lose his fans if he keeps acting like that.
Jae Yeol: I’m fine as long as you don’t fall away from me.
Hae Soo: Gosh, where did you learn to say such a cute reply?
Jae Yeol: You’d be very surprised if you knew. Gosh, so cute.
Hae Soo: You’re exactly my style.
Jae Yeol: You’re exactly my style. On that note, after giving birth to our child, what about one more?
Hae Soo: Do you want to fight again? Another? You seem happy.
Jae Yeol: Call!
Hae Soo: Okay!
One word: phenomenal. If there is such a thing as perfection, then this drama is damn near perfect. The show has managed to portray, what many people view as the dark side of human nature, with a certain level of deft writing, directing and acting that is tremendously difficult to come by. For a show that dealt with society’s stigma against mental disorders head on, it was surprisingly light, since the real heart of the show has always been it’s focus on love, friendship, family, support and hope; the parts of life that makes it worth living, and amazingly, the show never once strayed from those ideals. Just like how the body gets sick, so does the mind, and the writer obviously understood this well. Instead of trying to sensationalize these psychiatric disorders, the show tries to normalize them and treats the difficulties of those that suffer from such disorders with dignity and respect. Psychological problems can bring about a lot of suffering, and it is definitely more common than one would think, but it is also a source of inspiration; people are strong and in the face of adversity, they can overcome, especially with love and support; not derision and blame. That was the message that this drama was trying to get across to its audience and I’d argue, it did a laudable job.
I initially started watching the show not expecting much but ended up falling head over heels in love with it. The show managed to strike the perfect balance between humor, romance and poignancy. The music was fantastic, the fashion and style of the show was awesome and of course, the cast and crew were BRILLIANT. The writing by writer Noh was top-notch, even with her simplification of psychology, and the directing/cinematography by director Kim was gorgeous. Sung Dong Il and Lee Kwang Soo (along with the entire cast) were outstanding but the bulk of my praises have to go to Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin. Their acting was simply amazing. There were so many scenes where their performance simply left me breathless. There is a maturity and finesse to their acting that befits their title as veterans of the craft.
The show was, above all, a love story between two broken people who heal each other’s wounds and Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin managed to portray this love so realistically. Their chemistry was off the charts and they made me believe that their love was real and can actually exist in this world. They acted so naturally and there was never a single hint of awkwardness between them.
Another thing I appreciated about this show was that it promised us romance and it stayed true to that promise throughout the entirety of its run. This show is definitely one of those rare dramas where the OTP get together early on in the series, so instead of suffering through the push-and-pull stage of the relationship to end with the couple barely getting together, we instead got to see Jae Yeol and Hae Soo experience the ups-and-down of life together.
Also, mad props to Gong Hyo Jin for going through with the filming even after her car accident. Every time I saw her limping in the show it tugged at my heart, but it really goes to show her determined character and devotion to her art.
Prior to this drama, the only real impression I had of Jo In Sung was that he’s a really good looking actor. I saw him in The Classic, and I have to admit that he was pretty bad. Then I saw him in What Happened in Bali and all I can remember was how much I hate the show. However, the thing that makes me come to truly love Jo In Sung is that, unlike so many other actors who are only successful due to their looks, he continues to try to improve his acting. This tells me that he is actually passionate about his profession of choice and he takes his craft seriously. If you look at his resume, he has continually chosen projects to challenge himself as an actor so that now I can honestly say that he is probably one of the finest actors out there.
The show was well paced and so refreshing; in what is sometimes a very repetitive kdrama landscape. It’s just my style! I am loath to say farewell to this world and its inhabitants since I’ve grown so attached to the characters that it feels like I’m saying farewell to some close friends, but I’ll pretend that they continue to live on even once production as ceased. Let’s start lighting candles to pray for a second season or a reunion series.
Dang, the withdrawal for this show is hitting me like a brick. Anyone else feeling that tightness of chest, or is that just sentimental me? So with a heavy heart, farewell It’s Okay, It’s Love. It’s been a pleasure. #BestShowOf2014
Thank you everyone who’s followed the show along with me on this blog. I hope you’ll continue to drop by. And for anyone who’s curious, I’m a bit burnt out (the withdrawal symptoms are not helping) so I will be on semi-hiatus but do support my good friend, Buticut, with her hilarious
Iron Man Cactus Man recaps. Finally, don’t forget about the GIVEAWAY! Basically, post a comment and you’re golden!
“Hey”-IOIL OST Part. 9