It’s Okay To Not Be Okay


Kim Soo-hyun
Seo Ye-ji
Oh Jung-se
Park Kyu-young

Written By

Jo Yong

Directed By

Park Shin-woo


Jo Do-youn
Kim Youn-jin

Running Time

70 – 85 minutes

Original Network

Netflix (International)

Number of Seasons


Number of Episodes


Original Release

June 20 – August 9, 2020


The drama revolves around the two main characters Moon Gang-tae & Ko Moon-young, both of who had traumatic childhoods. They met each other as children when Ko Moon-young saves Moon Gang-tae’s life, and meet again as adults years later.

As a child Moon Gang-tae who lived with his mother and autistic older brother, Moon Sang-tae, grew up neglected by his mother who spent most of her time protecting her differently abled child. Soon after Ko Moon-young saves Gang-tae’s life, his mother is murdered. His brother who witnesses the murder, is threatened with dire consequences and develops a phobia for butterflies. As a result, as soon as spring comes, Sang-tae is tormented by nightmares and his phobia is exacerbated, and the brothers have to move from place to place as Sang-tae hides from the butterflies. Gang-tae takes up jobs as a care-taker in Psychiatric wards at the various places that they move to.

Ko Moon-young grows up to be a famous fairy tale author. As a child, she was a victim of child abuse and grows up as a withdrawn, reserved and introverted person, giving raise to speculations that she suffers from anti-social personality disorder.

As fate would have it, Moon Gang-tae and Ko Moon-young’s paths cross again and they’re omce again drawn to each other. As they form a bond, they both begin to heal but as the truth of Moon Gang-tae’s mother’s murder comes to light, their lives are thrown into turmoil again.


Kim Soo-hyun as Moon Gang-tae

A caregiver at OK Psychiatric hospital, Moon Gang-tae struggles to form close relationships because he grew up a neglected child, lacking confidence and as a grown up, because he has to move from place to place because of a trauma that his autistic older brother, Moon Sang-tae, had been subjected to when they were children and had lost their mother.

He had a childhood crush on Ko Moon-young and falls in love with her again when they meet by chance as adults.

He has a troubled relationship with his autistic brother, whom he loves, but also resented as a child.

Seo Yea-ji as Ko Moon-young

A popular children’s book author, she writes dark fairy-tales aimed at taking the rose tinted glasses off the eyes of kids and to serve as a spoon full of truth. Having grown up in an abusive home she has difficult inter-personal relationships as an adult and is often speculated to have been diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder.

She saves Moon Gang-tae’s life as when they were children but cuts all ties with him in order to protect him from her abusive mother. She becomes obsessed with him when they meet again as adults.

Oh Jung-se as Moon Sang-tae

Moon Sang-tae is Gang-tae’s older brother and is diagnosed with autism. Their mother is extremely protective of Sang-tae and advices Gang-tae as a child that his sole purpose in life is to take care of his brother, as a result of which there is some friction between the brothers.

Sang-tae witnesses his mother’s murder and as a result develops a phobia for butterflies. He is extremely possessive of his younger brother and becomes agitated when he sees Gang-tae & Moon-young becoming closer.

He loves Moon-young’s books and Moon-young recruits him as an illustrator for her books in order to make the illustrations less dark and more children appropriate.

Park Kyu-young as Nam Ju-ri

She works at Ok Psychiatric Hospital with Moon Gang-tae and has unrequited feelings for him.

She’s soft spoken, empathetic towards the people in her care and helps everyone in need.

She does not like Ko Moon-young with whom she has negative history from their childhood days.

My Opinion

This being Kim Soo-hyun’s come back drama after his mandatory military enlistment, I was super excited to watch it. But I felt kind of let down by the drama. This theme had a lot of potential to highlight the effects of Mental Health Disorders and the importance of seeking help, the role of childhood trauma in shaping who we grow up to be, and how important a role family and friends play in safe-guarding a person who is differently abled. But it does a very mediocre job at it. The drama started off well but kind of lost the plot mid-way. The mystery of who murdered Gang-tae’s mother became very predictable. So there was no suspense there.

While the story around Sang-tae’s Autism is well thought out, and while the drama focuses on how people with various mental health issues were being taken care of at a Psychiatric ward, I wish they had shown the lead characters eventually seeking professional help to manage their issues.

One of the themes of the drama is that Ko Moon-young has a personality disorder, ie, an anti-social personality disorder. I’m not entirely convinced with the portrayal of anti-social personality disorder in this drama. People with anti-social personality disorders are extremely manipulative and lack empathy. And this lack of empathy is not selective. But, in this drama, Ko Moon-young is shown to be empathetic towards Moon Sang-tae. It is impossible for people with anti-social personality disorders to form a bond based on love, the way Moon-young does with Gang-tae. Any relationship that a person with this kind of personality disorder forms is one from which the person benefits.

Also, although in this case we understand the back story and why Ko Moon-young is the way she is, it does not give her a free pass to be manipulative. While we understand why she is manipulative, and of course she deserves to be loved as much as everyone else, but toxic relationships are just that and should not be romanticized, not even in a fictional drama. That is just my opinion.

It also felt like the writers could not decide on whether this was meant to be a murder mystery or a drama about Autism or a drama about childhood traumas and personality disorders. Too many heavy issues were being dealt with at one time and in the end, somehow I feel, none of these plots were well developed. Hence, in the end, we were left with a predictable murder mystery, and under developed characters.

I also did not like the pace of the drama. And with two amazing actors fronting the drama, I just was very disappointed with it. I feel like neither of the actors were used to their potential.

What I did like though were the short “fairy-tales” within the drama that gives us an insight into how Moon-young views the world. I truly liked the messages in those small snippets.

And of course Kim Soo-hyun is forever a treat to watch.

If you happen to watch it, I hope you enjoy it better than I did.

Thank you for reading. Annyeong!!!

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