'It's Okay to Not be Okay' Episode 13: Can Mun-yeong's mother really destroy the love Kang-tae has?
'It's Okay to Not be Okay' in its scariest and most hurtful episode ever portrays what it truly means to be in love with or care for someone who is mentally ill
Before we start, please be aware that the episode contains instances of domestic, physical and mental abuse. 'It's Okay to Not be Okay' Episode 13 can be deemed as a distressing episode to watch as it portrays the very core of the trauma that Mun-yeong (Seo Ye-ji), Sang-tae (Oh Jung-se), and Kang-tae (Kim Soo-hyun) have suffered. Mun-yeong fears her mother the most in the world. Everything that she had watched her mother do and everything that she heard her mother say had made an impression on her. This fear is also what stopped Mun-yeong in the past from befriending Kang-tae.
Turns out, she had also watched her father kill her mother and this confession is made by Mun-yeong's father just hours before he dies. He also confesses that he had never blamed his daughter but was worried that she would also grow up to become like her mother -- a monster who did not even feel guilty after she killed domestic help who had just joined that recently. This person is none other than Kang-tae and Sang-tae's mother and the butterfly lapel pin? That did belong to Mun-yeong's mother.
Kang-tae, who knew the truth, had decided not to let Mun-yeong know because he didn't want her to suffer the same pain that he had gone through. However, life doesn't really go according to our plan and from the beginning, the episode alludes to the shocking reveal at the end. It begins with a patient who suffers from dissociative identity disorder having an episode. This patient was abused mentally and physically by her mother and her father, who she had repeatedly asked for help and they had ignored her plea. They sold her to a shaman because they had thought that she was possessed, but now, the father approaches the little girl who grew up to become a shaman herself for a favor.
He asks her to donate her liver for him, save his life because without this transplant he could really die and this father has no qualms about asking such a favor. The reason being he is her biological father. He uses his relationship with the patient like an eraser that can delete all the things he did in the past. This also reflects Mun-yeong's position in her own life. While her mother did not abuse her physically, she did abuse her daughter mentally. Mun-yeong's father, however, left her mother to her own devices when she is around her daughter until one fine day when he suddenly realizes that his wife is a cold-blooded killer.
The episode title 'Father of Tale of Two sisters' also is a reference to the father from Korean folklore 'Janghwa Hongryeon jeon' and is also about a father who ignores the abuse that is taking place under his nose. Mun-yeong, while speaking about her father's passing, tells Kang-tae something heartbreaking but also true. She asks him why parents believe that they can only die after they apologize to their children about all the past sins. She also asks him why they think that the children should forgive them with just that apology -- because they are on their death bed? What about all the hurt that has festered within the kids?
This is a very important discussion, especially when contextualized with someone like the patient who was abused at home when she was a young girl. It is within this setting that we are introduced to all kinds of abuse that Mun-yeong had to experience, and it is also within this that Sang-tae faces his fear -- butterflies. Just as he begins to experiment with drawing butterflies, the mural that he had worked hard on was ruined with a graffiti of the butterfly pin that is the source of Sang-tae's trauma.
It is after seeing this that Sang-tae almost has another episode, and he begins blurting out about the lady who killed his mother. At this moment, Mun-yeong, who is with Sang-tae and Kang-tae is shocked because she remembers the lapel pin. Her mother had told Mun-yeong that this was one of a kind pin and that is a memory that Mun-yeong cannot forget. As the truth sinks in, Mun-yeong runs away in tears and between Sang-tae and Mun-yeong, Kang-tae is torn.
What is really shocking is that the theories that we had had all this while about the head nurse has turned out to be true. The episode ended with her driving away, wearing the butterfly pin that she had taken from Mun-yeong's home. She also hums the 'My dear Clementine' song. However, what really are the chances of her being Mun-yeong's mother? Can one really bury their instincts and go as far as helping patients day in and day out? What is her story and why did she decide to inflict more pain on Sang-tae, Kang-tae and Mun-yeong? These are the questions that the show must answer in the last three episodes.
'It's Okay to Not Be Okay' originally airs on tvN on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 pm KST in South Korea and can be streamed on Netflix.