Two incredibly strong first episodes! I don’t think I’ve watched a drama like this one in a long time.
Long hours were definitely put into creating this drama. The music, the way the storyline was introduced to us, the haunting Tim Burton-like animation, and visuals, it felt like I was watching a film!
The drama began telling us in animation form the story of a girl who lived in a castle, she was lonely and tried to make friends, but they were afraid of her and called her a “monster who brings along the shadow of death”. She ends up saving a boy from drowning, and he ends up following her around wherever she goes, for whatever reason, the shadow of death that followed her disappears after this. As if to test the boy and see if he will remain by her side, she ends up showing him her dark side: she rips the wings off of the butterflies. At seeing this, the boy becomes scared and leaves running. The girl is left alone again and the shadow of death returns telling her: “No one can ever stay by your side, because you’re a monster”. We are then shown the main character Ko Moon Young as the grown up version of the girl in this story and it is revealed to us that the shadow of death might be referring to her mother, since she replies “Yes, mother” to the words said to her by this shadow.
It’s a very interesting way of introducing us to the main character, she is a children’s book fairytale author, so it makes sense for her to tell us her story through a story. There’s still a lot of we don’t know about her, but one thing is for sure: She’s had a very rough and dark upbringing.
We are then introduced to our male lead, Moon Kang Tae and his older brother Sang Tae who has autism. Life hasn’t been easy for those two, it appears that Sang Tae can’t keep a job since “he’s too much to handle”. Sang Tae worries that Kang Tae might get upset at him for causing a scene and losing the job but we are quickly shown how much Kang Tae loves his brother, how forgiving and understanding he is too. He makes a living as a caregiver at a psychiatric hospital, he has many scars on his body from his long history of working with patients with psychiatric problems, but he seems to find his job fulfilling in some way, since he is good at it.
What brings these two characters together is one interesting encounter at Kang Tae’s workplace. Moon Young is sitting there in a clearly marked NO SMOKING area, smoking a very fancy cigar, waiting to read her book to the children at the psychiatric hospital. You can tell she’s not one to easily care about rules, and lacks consideration for others. She also has the habit of destroying beautiful things, as she plucks off the petals from a nearby flower shrub. I wondered if this reminded Kang Tae of the girl he once knew, or if he simply was very bothered by her smoking, but regardless of the reason, he approaches her and asks her to please stop smoking. They lock eyes, and for a moment they stare at each other as if they recognize one another. She then asks him if he believes in destiny and explains to him that “If someone shows up when you need them, you call that destiny”. The way these two look at each other is perfect, I feel the chemistry, the sadness and intrigue in their eyes.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am kind of in love with her character, she comes off at first as someone evil, mean, rude, and scary. Even her book at first, sounds like a book that isn’t meant for children since its so dark in nature, but by the time you reach the ending of the book, you come to realize, she’s not a bad person, children love her books because she encourages them, to face their fears, and grow from their trauma and past.
A scene I found interesting, was when the Nurse Nam Joo Ri shows up at her hotel asking for a signature to allow Moon Young’s father to receive a surgery he needs in order to live. The two seem to know each other from childhood, but seemed surprised to see each other (I wonder if Moon Young went by a different name before…) they talk about how they hadn’t seen each other in 20 years since she transferred schools. Moon Young says her father is dead, and then Nam Joo Ri begins to say “But your mother is alive…” and Moon Young interjects saying she registered her death a long time ago and claims to be an orphan. This leaves me wondering about what exactly happened to her family. Is her mother alive, or is she really dead? Did she have a bad relationship with both her parents? In the second episode, we find out that her mother was a writer herself, and is in fact dead and died suddenly…but then why did Joo Ri say she was alive? We also find out her father was a successful architect who went crazy. They keep blaming all the bad things that happened in her life on her.
These phrases about Moon Young were also mentioned throughout the first and second episode: “She was just born like that” and “That’s just how she was born”. I don’t think that’s the case though, if her father tried to murder her as a child, and if her mother died suddenly, and she had no friends growing up, I can understand why she is the way she is. People have shoved in her head that she isn’t worthy of good things in her life and happiness, that bad news follows her and they should stay away unless they want bad things to happen to them too. Makes me feel really sad for Moon Young, her children’s books help us understand that there is much more to her personality than just a mean, anti social, egotistic person. I cannot wait to see her transformation. It seems that Kang Tae really is someone good for her, I think they both can help each other heal from their past wounds.
One last thing to note from these two episodes: Butterflies (나비)
I still don’t know what that’s about, but if you guys have any theories, I am happy to hear them! All we know is that she used to rip the wings off of the butterflies, Kang Tae was horrified to see her do this when they were children, and Sang Tae has bad dreams about them because he claims a mysterious butterfly killed Sang Tae and Kang Tae’s mother. This honestly made me very sad since I love butterflies and we have been seeing a lot of monarch’s around SoCal this past month. I had a classmate who used to rip their wings too, back in the 1st grade. So this honestly brought back to mind some childhood trauma. I wonder what more significance these butterflies will have in the plot. I cannot wait for the next episodes, I really hope they are as detailed and wonderfully edited as these first two were. What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy the first two episodes as much as I did, or did you find the drama to be slow? Let me know, I would love to hear what you guys thought about the premiere of: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay!
Where To Watch: Netflix