Metro Editors Predict the Finale of ‘It’s Okay To Not Be Okay’
With the finale just around the corner, we can’t stop thinking about what will be the fate of lovers Ko Moon-young and Moon Gang-tae, as well as all the characters we’ve grown so attached to. (Warning: Major spoilers!)
Be still our hearts! August 9 marks the day we bid farewell to the amazing ensemble cast and stellar production team of It’s Okay Not To Be Okay. We’ve loved this Netflix show from the moment we caught the teasers and met the lead actors in a special event, only finding that we began to love them even more as the weeks and episodes went along. And here we are now, practically sleepless racking our brains with theories and processing many, many emotions!
Ever since last weekend, when we left Moon Gang-tae and Ko Moon-young in the cursed castle, they seemed to be living in a total nightmare with revelations and answers coming to light. In their hearts, our lovers know that being together may bring danger, and plenty of it, to their lives. However, Gang-tae has found resolve in sticking by his family, and that definitely includes Moon-young, and has no intentions to leave his love behind or let harm come her way. *Swoons*
Here, Metro editors weigh in on what they think will happen for tonight's finale.
On the panel for this discussion:
Grace Libero: Metro.Style People Editor
Kate Paras: Metro.Style Beauty Editor
Justin Convento: Metro.Style Culture Editor
And Geolette Esguerra: Metro.Style Editor-in-Chief
What do you think will happen in the finale?
Grace: I think the series will have a happy ending, because if not, it kind of defeats the purpose of putting forth a healing drama in the first place. With only two episodes left, we’ve seen the lead characters experience significant changes within themselves, which led to positive results. I’m happy that they’re finally finding the happiness they’ve long for, for so long.
However, although it has now been established that head nurse Park Haeng-ja is Ko Moon-young’s mother, for some reason, I’m still not that convinced that she is Do Hui-jae. When she found out about it, Ko Moon-young said that even if Nurse Park had surgeries, she would’ve somehow recognized her still since she’s her mother after all, but she didn’t. Although Park Ok-ran is now out of the picture and is considered the red herring in this plot, I still find myself asking where she has gone off to. Episode 13’s title is “The Father of the Two Sisters,” and it wasn’t clear who the two sisters being referred to were. This makes me think that Nurse Park and Park Ok-ran could be siblings, and that Ok-ran is really Do Hui-jae (remember, in one episode, it was stated that Ok-ran was a former actress and had multiple surgeries which could explain the different face). I’ve also read one theory that Nurse Park could have a dissociative identity disorder that makes her think and act like her sister. Also, one small detail, since the butterfly brooch is a crucial element in this story, it can be noticed that Do Hui-jae used to wear the brooch on right chest, but at the end of Episode 13, where Nurse Park transformed herself and the brooch was focused, the brooch is seen pinned on the left side.
So even though there are only two episodes left, I feel that there will still be a shocking twist here. I’m still looking forward to that unpublished novel by Do Hui-jae, and what it’s all about.
Perhaps Park Ok-ran will resurface, and she and Nurse Park will both be confined in OK Psychiatric Hospital.
Kate: We will finally find out if Nurse Park is Ko Moon-young’s real mom, who patient Park Ok-ran really is, and what will become of the relationships of Sang-tae, Gang-tae, Moon-young, as well as other secondary relationships in the story (i.e. Mr. Lee and Ju-ri, Mr. Lee’s assistant and Jae-su). I am very curious to find out how Moon-young’s mom is really still alive, and if she is, how she got out of that basement room, and that bag that was thrown into the lake. It will be a packed weekend—I can’t wait! My soju is ready!
Justin: I’m praying hard and crossing fingers for a happy ending in this drama! Definitely hoping all these questions that keep us awake at night get answered: Is Nurse Park really Hui-jae? If so, how did Hui-jae orchestrate her disappearance and somehow deceive everyone all these years? What is with her obsession with Gang-tae and his family, does it only have to do with Moon-young? (As we found out in episode 14, “The Hand, The Monkfish,” she worked at the hospital Gang-tae worked prior to moving back to his hometown and started at OK.) At this point, I only have questions—no strong hypotheses I can state with conviction! Haha!
Geolette: In this weekend's episodes (Ep 15 and 16), there will be reckoning with Do Hui-jae (Ko Moon-young’s mother)—we’ll finally have all our questions answered:
- How did she manage to escape death? Or are we seeing her sister instead? There’s still enough time for a plot twist to show that Nurse Park is not actually Do Hui-jae.
- What is her ultimate goal in controlling Ko Moon-young, what is she grooming her daughter to be?
- What is in that final novel? And will we get a chance to read it?
Apart from the big showdown and the reveals, I expect that we will get some catharsis by way of a roadtrip for the three, and the book of Ko Moon-young and Moon Sang-tae to finally be published and be appreciated not just by children, but most especially the adults and patients in OK Hospital. Perhaps a reading or a book launch will happen there!
As for our couple—to be honest, I don’t mind if they don’t end up with a wedding or an engagement. What’s very important for our trio and our couple, is that they’re able to heal fully. Now that they’re doing that for each other, romance takes a backseat.
Then again, there is really so much sexual tension between the two! Hana-dul-set!
What is one lesson that IOTNBO has taught you so far into the series?
Grace: We all have our own struggles. We all have painful memories. And when we go through hardships, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to cry. Life is not always rainbows and butterflies. But once our personal storms have calmed down, what matters is that we move on and keep going.
Kate: I have truly learned to be more sensitive about other people in terms of their mental state. I am by no means an expert in this field, but this series has taught me that each person has a unique background, and their mental health has so much to do with their personalities. Just because a person is deemed weird, bad, or off, doesn’t mean they want to be that way. Oftentimes, there is a valid reason as to why they became such. It pays to extend more understanding, patience, and no judgment to others, especially in the kind of world we live in today.
Justin: You love the people you love with all your heart, you guard them fiercely, no matter what. Part of the human experience is to be vulnerable, to love, to hurt… but all of these things make us stronger. Most importantly, I was reminded so strongly about self-love. Watching Gang-tae grow into his character, which Kim Soo-hyun has done so wonderfully the entire series, I see a lot of my own self in him in several ways. Instead of acting all tough, putting myself last, being a people pleaser… the only time I can truly and fully love others is when I love myself first!
Geolette: IOTNBO is a story about support systems, the people you have around you who help you. The luckiest of them all is actually Ko Moon-young—despite being the most lonesome person in the series (emotionally an orphan, raised by her publisher), she has so many people around her who look out for her: Sang-in, Gang-tae, Sang-tae, Ju-ri, and even Ju-ri’s mom.
Which actor has impressed you the most this far into the series?
Grace: Definitely Kim Soo-hyun. He’s always been good, and he never fails to impress me. My favorite scene which really showcased how great of an actor he is is in Episode 9. It’s the final scene where Moon Gang-tae just came from a trip with Ko Moon-young, and he lied about it with Moon Sang-tae. That was such a heartbreaking scene where Sang-tae had an emotional breakdown and kept saying that his brother tried to kill him. Gang-tae was so shocked and broke down in tears. Kim Soo-hyun’s tears looked so real. You can really feel his pain. His eyes are so expressive, and his acting, superb!
Kate: It is a given that Kim Soo-hyun, Seo Yea-ji, and Oh Jung-se are amazingly talented actors, but there were certain scenes in this series that really left my jaw on the floor, particularly that scene where Sang-tae accused Gang-tae of leaving him to die when they were still children, and that’s where Kim Soo-hyun probably gave one of the best acting performances of his life! The disbelief, the pain, and the crying that resulted in that mish mash of emotions was by far one of the best I’ve seen.
In the episode where Moon-young found out that it could possibly be her mom that killed Gang-tae and Sang-tae’s mom, she decided to stay in bed all day without eating a thing. Sang-tae, being the new ‘adult’ figure in their newfound family, decided to comfort her, and feed her in bed. I was stunned by the pain Moon-young was able to portray in those scenes, which gave off feelings of remorse mixed with helplessness and agony. Sang-tae, being the autistic brother, was also able to show a new side to him, no longer the victim and no longer the fearful, ‘inferior’ brother that he used to be.
Justin: Our three leads, Kim Soo-hyun, Seo Yea-ji, and Oh Jung-se, are so remarkable in this series. But, it is worth noting that the entire cast has portrayed their designated characters so remarkably and with so much conviction. The entire ensemble, for me, came together perfectly. Paired with an amazing production team—wardrobe, technicals, lighting, cinematography, storytelling—no detail was too small or overlooked. With so many OMG! moments, I honestly expect the series as a whole to be nominated for next year's Baeksang Daesang for TV. It's truly unlike many other dramas, and that's what makes it so incredibly special.
Kim Soo-hyun, Oh Jung-se, and Seo Yea-ji were some of our favorite actors in 'It's Okay To Not Be Okay' | Netflix
Geolette: It has got to be Sang-tae and that moment where he feed Ko Moon-young as an older brother. This shows so much development on his part—from how he has kept saying that he is the hyeung or the older brother, to finally acting like one and caring for his younger siblings.
And then Moon-young telling him: "Forgive me. Oppa, mianhae.” And Sang-tae forgiving her even if he didn’t really understand why. "If you eat this, I'll forgive you. Don't cry." Moon-young crying so much as she was being fed.
This showed so much character development for these two leads. I know we’ve been raving about Kim Soo-hyun the past two months in this series, but I would also say that Seo Ye-ji was quite a revelation as well—a woman who acted cool and aloof and distant, then slowly showing the cracks in her armor, until her full breakdown in this episode. It wasn’t her father’s death that had the most impact, it was the realization that her mother had caused the two people she loved so much grief and pain.
Favorite lines/quotes in the past weekend’s episodes?
Grace: “So don’t forget any of it. Remember it all and overcome it. If you don’t overcome it, you’ll always be a kid whose soul never grows.” I like this because it sends the message that no matter how painful one’s past may be, we should work hard in overcoming it. Instead of being crippled by the trauma, heartbreak, or pain, we should pick ourselves up and try to use those experiences as motivation and inspiration to have a better life. At the end of the day, it’s your life, and only you have the power to steer yourself into a better direction.
“The one who neglects and turns a blind eye to the abuse is worse than the abuser.” This quote is applicable to different aspects. It could even apply to current events, in that if you pretend to blind or deaf to the problems of the society, then you may be worse than the people who are actually causing these problems in the first place. If we don’t agree with something, we should speak up or forever hold our peace
“A happy ending is what matters most.” I cannot agree more. While the journey is important, no matter how difficult it was to get to our destination, what’s ultimately more important is whether the journey has been worth it in the end.
In episode 14, “No matter what happens, I won’t leave you. To me, you’re just Ko Moon-young, the girl I liked ever since I was a boy.” - I got so kilig, hearing Moon Gang-tae say this to Ko Moon-young. He’s always loved him ever since they were kids, and now that he’s old and strong enough to protect her, he will do so no matter what it takes, even forgetting the fact that her mother killed his mother. As what Ju-ri’s mom told Gang-tae in the previous episode, the “most horrible thing you can do to a parent is to give up on being happy just because you feel bad about it.”
Geolette: I especially love all the mentions about family in Episode 13.
- “Thanks to the Mang-tae you gave me, I no longer have nightmares. You, Sang-tae, and Mang-tae. I’m so happy that I now have this family," which was written in the note inside the suit pocket of Gang-tae.
- Also, this line of Gang-tae, when he talks about how he is no longer burdened by being the protector all the time:“Putting my life on the line to protect my family, come to think of it, it’s actually pretty cool.” After which, Moon-young asks if she was part of that family, and Gang-tae answers that they already took a family portrait.
- And then this part—when Gang-tae seemingly was feeling his way through a proposal (or elopement!): “If I asked you to live somewhere else with me, would you want to go?”
What’s your ultimate ending for IOTNBO?
Grace: This conversation between Gang-tae and Moon-young paints the perfect picture of the ending. In Episode 13, Ko Moo-young said, “I’ll sell this house and help Mr. Lee open up a publishing company. And with the money that’s left, I’ll buy a camping car… Then the three of us can go on a trip without a destination.” (It’s just like Sang-tae’s illustration)
Then Gang-tae told her, “Since you’re going to spend some money, can you buy me some nice suits, pay for my trip to Serengeti, and let me stay in a hotel suite. How about you take care of me for the rest of my life?” Gang-tae also told Moon-young that he wants to go back to school. So this dream could also come true in the finale.
Then he asked her while she became a fairy tale writer. To which, she replied, “Because it’s the world I know best. I really grew up like a princess in this castle that my dad built. The life of a princess is more difficult than you can ever imagine. The ending is the only happy part.”
The ultimate ending is for that princess to finally have a new definition of fairy tales and get the happy ending she truly deserves.
Remember, in Episode 1, Moon-young scared off a little girl by saying, “In all my fairy tales, the witch is always the one that’s pretty. Who told you all princesses are kind and pretty? Did your mom tell you that? If you really want to be that pretty, I want you to say this. ‘Mom, I’m going to be a pretty witch.’
This scene was after that gorgeous sunset scene by the castle’s balcony, where Moon-young’s mother told her, “No one can ever stay by your side because you’re a monster. Don’t forget that. Do you understand?”
Moon-young is not a monster, she’s always been a princess. And now, she has found her prince.
Her latest book will have a new, more positive treatment, mirroring the recent events in her life.
It would be nice if the ending would be in the balcony as well with a scenic background, where unlike in Episode 1, she won’t be sadly standing alone but appreciating the view with Gang-tae and Sang-tae by her side.
Kate: I am a sucker for happy endings, so I naturally want a peaceful, harmonious ending for the characters we’ve come to love. In a perfect world, justice is served for the death of Gang-tae and Sang-tae’s mom, and Sang-tae is able to accept the reality of who killed her. I would also like to see Moon-young once again thriving in her career, and I want to see a shift in the kinds of stories she writes for children, now that the mysteries in her life are solved. I live for kilig so I would love to see Mr. Lee get his happy ending with Ju-ri, and at the same time, get his publishing company back on its feet, after all the sacrifice and losses he has had.
Justin: I think an open-ended ending for tonight's finale would be best. As much as I want to see happy endings for all the relationships I've been shipping (Gang-tae and Moon-young, Ju-ri and Mr. Lee, Jae-su and Seung-jae, Director Oh and Soon-Duk—I'm looking at all of you!), it is just too perfect if they all end up together with their respective partners and in love. Haha! I do believe, ultimately, this will be a warm, fuzzy ending because we've seen the entire cast, our protagonists most especially, suffer so much. The drama is hinged on the value of family, more importantly, and I hope we see our three main leads finally go to on their trip! No longer having any weight of their past holding them back... As the editors pointed out during our weekly K-Drama Round Ups on Facebook and Kumu, It's Okay To Not Be Okay is a healing drama... and so, it could only mean that we see healing in relationships and within themselves in the finale. (I sure hope so, anyway.) I also hope that justice will be served and Nurse Park/Hui-jae either falls to her doom (once more and finally).
Geolette: For Ko Moon-young, Moon Gang-tae and Sang-tae to sail off in a trailer car on one big roadtrip—and for them to move to Seoul or any other city together. I would also want Sang-tae to have his own career as an illustrator, alongside Ko Moon-young who will continue making books, perhaps eve writing a happy novel! As for Gang-tae, I hope we will go back to school and perhaps become a psychiatrist, like Dr. Oh, so he can help more people.
Are you all caught up and ready for tonight's finale? We've been watching and rewatching and losing sleep! Can't wait!
Moon-young is how we're feeling until IOTNBO's finale finally airs! | Netflix
It's Okay To Not Be Okay premieres episodes on Netflix every Saturday and Sunday, with the final episode airing tonight, August 9.