Cheese in the Trap: Episode 2 Recap

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I feel that with this episode Cheese in the Trap found more of its footing. It has laid out a better conflict for us to deal with in future episodes. We know that Jung is interested in Seol, but we also learn that he’s quite distrustful. In Ho factors more into this episode, but while his function is a bit fluid, it becomes clear that he’s the key to figuring out the mystery that is Jung.

Jung the Stalker is now Seol’s new classmate and seat mate, his transfer being so sudden that he doesn’t even show up on Professor Kang’s roster.

In any case, when class ends Professor Kang assigns everyone to do a 10-page report on strategic management and gives them the heads up that there’ll be a quiz every week until the midterm. She really is the witch of homework. While explaining that hard work is good for them considering their tuition, Seol packs away all of her things into her bag. That way, the moment Professor Kang dismisses them she’s out the door faster than Jung can say, “Hong Seol!”

He really doesn’t give up though. On another day Jung follows her outside, asking if she wants to eat lunch together. Heh – it’s really becoming his catchphrase. Seol rushes off, saying she has a prior engagement, but he continues following her. That is, until he reaches a staircase to another part of campus and walks off. Seol can’t handle his stalking habits and whips around, “Just what the hell are you–” but Jung’s not right behind her anymore. Still amuses him that she thinks he’s following her.

The stalking continues all term – he catches her at the elevator and asks if she’s eaten, he catches her in a stairwell… He’s like a ghost that pops up every single time to see if she’s hungry. Finally Seol can’t take it anymore and apologizes to him. She’s really sorry that she suspected him in the “class registration incident.” Heh – so she thinks he’s following on purpose just to torture her for her suspicions! But he can’t quite forgive her, possibly because there’s nothing to forgive or apologize for. Nevertheless, he twists the situation: if she really is sorry to him she needs to make him feel better. And the only way to do that is to have a meal together.

And what’s more is he knows she doesn’t have work today so it’s the perfect time to go get an early dinner! Heh! Now Seol has no choice but to go with him. Might as well get it over with, yeah?

Except, they end up going to the school convenience store and Jung pays for four onigiris and two tea bottles. To his credit, he did want to get her something better but she was happy with this simple meal. Unfortunately he doesn’t quite know how to pull apart the plastic sleeves, so she helps unwrap one for him and takes the “broken” one.

He thanks her, and then apologizes to her for continually harassing her to eat with him. Seol really doesn’t know what to think of him, considering that she finds him sneaky. But all he wanted was a chance to talk to her and properly address the incident that kind of drove them apart. Seol tells him to not worry about it (since she herself isn’t ready to lower her defenses around him), and feels bad that she didn’t pay for this meal. Jung: “That’s okay. You can buy dinner next time.” YET ANOTHER MEAL. And probably more expensive than this cheap snack food.

Seol makes sure that they’re going in opposite directions when they leave the store, but then bumps into her best friend and junior Kang Ah Young (Yoon Ye Joo). Ah Young is so cute, as it’s clear that she cherishes and almost idolizes Seol. Jung steps forward and is introduced to Ah Young, who frankly admits that he’s quite handsome. Hee. Seol drags Ah Young away, as her friend needs to get a grip. She imparts some important advice: Always beware men in college. They might have ulterior motives!

In Ho wanders through the campus of Yeonin University after having heard from his sister that Jung attends here. It’s quite a huge campus, and so he asks a homeless man where the business management building is. (Both Seol and Jung are business majors.) The homeless man decides to lead the way, making In Ho wonder if the guy is a professor or something.

All that stalking has had an effect on Seol, as she now dreams of Jung calling her name and asking, “Do you want to grab a bite to eat?” Hah! Well it works as an alarm clock too and she heads to school a little early to charge her laptop a bit more for the day.

She passes by the homeless guy (who uses the school bathrooms to clean up) and In Ho sleeping on a bench. He calls her over to ask where the business management building is, but understandably she tries to avoid him completely and says she doesn’t know. After all, he is a random stranger that’s just slept on the street. In Ho grabs her wrist, but then a security guard comes running out of the building to chase the homeless guy away.

Seol drops to the floor and cowers. The homeless guy quickly packs his belongings onto his stroller and then calls In Ho over. They’ve got to run! Now! They run through the campus and hide inside a trash storage area. As soon as the coast is clear, the homeless guy asks if In Ho’s got a dollar. So In Ho pulls one out but the guy spots a ten. He wants that too. Hahaha.

Seol rushes to Professor Kang’s class without a charged computer, only to discover that her computer has broken in the fall and completely dead. What’s worse is her paper was saved on the hard disk and so she’s going to have to retype the whole thing. She asks around to see if she can borrow their computers so that she could retype her paper, which is due that day, but no one is willing to lend it to her. Except Jung.

During the entire lecture, Seol furiously types up her paper. Professor Kang barrels a bunch of questions to everyone but no one volunteers an answer. (I mean, who would with such a formidable teacher?) Seol doesn’t even notice that Professor Kang is picking on her because she’s typing away and not paying attention, until it’s too late! Thankfully Jung comes to her rescue and distracts the teacher by asking a question related to the course. Crisis averted, and Kang is sufficiently distracted.

At the end of class Professor Kang asks someone to collect all the papers. Jung volunteers and everyone hands him their reports. The room empties out, and then Jung comes down and patiently waits for her to finish typing it up. Seol: “Uh, do you have to stand there and watch?” Jung: “Why, am I distracting you?” “Seol: “Yes.” Jung: “I’m glad. You’ve been distracting me a lot too lately.” EH? How is one to interpret that!?

Before Seol can dwell on it further he reminds her that time is ticking, and she types away. Then she heads to the printing station – but there’s a print error! What to do?! Seol desperately turns to Jung for help, and he reaches over her shoulders and starts typing away to fix the error. You can only imagine how awkward Seol feels and wants to get out of that situation.

The printer goes – YAY! – and Joo Yeon enters the room. Ugh. She sees Seol thanking Jung for his help, and him offering his notebook full of notes for her to copy, since she totally didn’t pay attention to today’s lecture. He heads out first to submit all the papers, and Joo Yeon immediately jumps down on Seol: “I didn’t know you had skills like that. Acting like you have no interest and then flirting with him.” She’s sooooo jealous that Jung is paying Seol so much attention.

In Ho wanders the school campus, unsure why he’s still even hanging around. Just then his friend at his part-time job, Sang Keun, calls him up wondering where the hell he is. Their boss is pissed off at In Ho for shirking work, and Sang Keun can’t even properly lie about In Ho’s whereabouts to the boss. In Ho doesn’t care, as he plans to quit that job anyways. He might be a high school dropout, but he’s going to live his life as he pleases.

Jung delivers the papers to T.A. Heo, who asks whether Jung will apply for early graduation or not. After all, Jung’s got the grades. Jung doesn’t want to though, because this is the most fun he’s had in years. T.A. Heo looks extremely uncomfortable, and you can tell he’s not happy to hear that Jung is sticking around.

Joo Yeon then heads to the empty T.A.’s office right after Jung and sees the stack of reports. Seol’s is on top, and just before T.A. Heo enters to grab the papers, Joo Yeon steals the report and puts it in her bag. Wow. What a b*tch.

At the library, Seol realizes that she’s left her USB behind at the computer lab and heads over to the building. Just then, she sees Joo Yeon walking out of the business management building with a paper, and from the guilty look on Joo Yeon’s face she knows that it’s her report in her enemy’s hands.

Seol: That’s mine, isn’t it?

Joo Yeon: Well, it’s not like it’s yours anyways. I heard your conversation with Jung. You said you wouldn’t have done it with Jung’s help. Do you want an A+ that badly?

Seol: Whether he helped me or not, what were you going to do with this? Aren’t you being so harsh to me? Do you like Jung that much?

At that moment, Jung comes out with Young Gon and they overhear Joo Yeon confessing she likes Jung a lot, and wants Seol to stay away from him. Psh – like she can control him! Joo Yeon threatens that she’ll do worse to Seol if she doesn’t stay away. Young Gon: “Uh, are you guys filming a drama?” Immediately Joo Yeon tries to cover it all up as a misunderstanding, but Jung addresses Seol first and tells her to submit the report before it’s too late, especially since it’s past the due time. Then turning to Joo Yeon, he tells her to apologize to Seol and points out that he never gave her any special treatment so she shouldn’t think she’s more special than Seol. Bam! Shut down!

Unfortunately, Professor Kang doesn’t accept any papers past the deadline. Seol tries to explain that there was a “situation” and hopes that Professor Kang can just accept it this once. Luckily Jung comes in at that moment and admits that it was his fault for Seol’s paper being late. He accidentally left it out in the pile, so perhaps Professor Kang can just dock points off his report and accept her report instead?

Professor Kang is surprised at this turn of events, especially since she thinks Seol is just making excuses and Yoo Jung is her prized student. But she accepts the paper anyways. Woo! Under the condition that Seol’s grade cannot be higher than a B+ though because it was still technically late. Better than nothing!

Seol does feel a bit down though since it means she’ll need a 100 on the midterm and in the group project to get an A and maintain her average. Jung seems to know exactly what she’s thinking and reassures her that he’ll help her on the test and project. And then he asks her if she wants lunch, but stops midway. He forgot. She doesn’t normally eat lunch, does she?

HAHAHA! I bet she would have this time around.

Eun Taek and a bunch of the guys in his class gather in the club meeting room to discuss a very important vote: Who are the hottest girls in their class? Of course Eun Taek is very defensive about Bora, standing up for her when others say she’s not that cute. Kekeke.

Much to Eun Taek’s delight, Bora and Joo Yeon tie for first place! Unluckily for him, Bora storms in just then and catches them in the act! She drags Eun Taek out by the ear and scolds him for doing something as petty as kindergarteners would do. Then again, Bora is curious what standing Seol ended up in though… and it’s last place with Min Soo. Bora: “What!?” So how can she improve her best friend’s standing? Why, by setting Seol up on a blind date with the guy she was originally going to go with! Of course Eun Taek is totally on board with that.

The two friends call Seol out of the library, which is full from everyone reserving a seat to study for exams, to convince her to go on this blind date. Eun Taek assures her that the guy is really cute and tries to drag her away, but they bump into Young Gon, Joo Yeon, and Jung who are heading to the library too. Of course Joo Yeon saved a seat just for herself and Jung so they can study together. Jung isn’t interested though, and goes to look for a seat himself. If he sees an extra one he’ll save it for Seol! Eep! What a way to get yourself even more on Joo Yeon’s bad side!

Seol realizes that she could study at Eun Taek’s club room and gets the pin number to access it. In return though, Bora and Eun Taek make her promise to check out her blind date, Ahn Chi Myung!

Joo Yeon heads home alone, her mission to be with Jung having failed. She spies Seol studying out on a second floor balcony of one of the buildings, and is suddenly approached by the drunk homeless guy. Not wanting to deal with him, Joo Yeon redirects him to where Seol is and claims that Seol will give him money and listen to all of his problems. Uh-oh…

The homeless guy crashes through the building, yelling in the empty hallways and shattering his soju bottle on the floor. It’s enough to freak Seol out, for who could be in the club building this late at night!?

Joo Yeon runs across campus to catch Jung right before he gets into his car. She claims that she saw a drunk guy get into a fight with Seol in front of the library, and he’s chased her to the club building. Can Jung go save her since she might be in trouble? After all, Seol can be quite mean, which is also why they fought the other day.

Instead of springing into action, Jung stares at Joo Yeon coolly. “I’m sure nothing will happen,” and Jung gets into the car. Joo Yeon secretly gloats; He must not really care about Seol at all! But then Jung adds, “It’s weird how the club building is in the other direction of here. If you were really worried about Seol’s safety shouldn’t you have reported it to the security guards nearby instead of coming all the way to me?” He knows that Joo Yeon fabricated this situation, so he tells her to fix it.

You know, in most situations this would be pretty cool because the main male lead just saw through the second female lead’s manipulations. But not now – because Seol really is in trouble!

As she tries to sneak out of the building, the stair lights automatically turn on and the homeless guy catches her. He waves his broken soju bottle at her and tries to stop her from leaving – she was supposed to listen to him! She needs to hear about how the rich people have screwed over his life! Seol tries to wrench free from his grasp but he ends up swinging the glass over her arm, giving her a big gash with the broken bottle.

Thankfully, a couple of security guards arrive just in time to lead Seol to safety and apprehend the homeless guy.

The following day, Seol struggles to grab a can from the vending machine with her injured arm. Jung quickly comes to help and opens it for her, since her other arm is also carrying a bunch of textbooks. He asks what happened, and she lies that she scratched it while opening a can of tuna. Raised eyebrows all around. In any case, Jung grabs the books from her hand and guides her to a park bench. He wants to take a look at her wound himself.

Like a gentleman, he sterilizes the wound and applies a fresh bandaid. He tells her to take care of herself, and if she’s going through a tough time she can always come to him to talk. It’s really weird for Seol, as she’s never seen him so concerned about her. But she does mention that Joo Yeon likes him a lot so if he continues to be nice to her, it’s going to be more difficult for Joo Yeon.

 

It’s Graduation Picture Day, and Jae Woo and Sang Cheol are all dressed up for their pictures. Sang Cheol bullies Jae Woo into lending him his laptop so that he can “refer” to Jae Woo’s A+ presentation that he gave to Professor Han. He then goes over to Seol and asks her to find Jae Woo’s project file for him. This guy is the most annoying classmate in the world…

Seol knows that he’s being quite pathetic but she just resignedly looks through Jae Woo’s computer to locate the presentation. Instead she’s in for quite the surprise: Jae Woo actually was the one who outed Sang Cheol about the stolen funds!

Just then Jae Woo snatches his laptop back, fear plastered all over his face. Seol promises she won’t tell anyone, and he backs off quietly. Now she feels even more sorry for having suspected Jung about that incident too, but she can’t admit to knowing it was all Jae Woo’s doing. So instead, when she goes to return his class notes, she awkwardly offers to buy him a meal. Jung: “Huh?”

Technically she does have to thank him for helping her so much, and she’s sorry for misunderstanding a few things last year and this, and she promised him before that she would buy him food. She hopes he could understand her jumping into the wrong conclusions all the time. She is trying to fix that bit of her personality.

Jung smiles. “Let’s take a picture together!” He grabs her for a selfie, despite her protests, and snaps when she’s not ready. Seol is all about deleting it – her eyes are half closed! – but he’s all like, “Isn’t this picture cute? I’ll send it to you too!” Jae Woo witnesses Jung teasing Seol from afar, and we get a flashback to the night of that class party…

That night…

Jae Woo leaves the restaurant completely disgruntled, hating the fact that he’s always bullied by Sang Cheol. He doesn’t notice Jung until he hears his name being called out. Jung sympathizes with Jae Woo, pointing out that Jae Woo doesn’t fight back enough so Sang Cheol keeps bullying him. He then hands over the receipt for that night’s meal, trusting Jae Woo to hand it over to Sang Cheol, or not. Jung walks away, and just as he expected, Jae Woo notices that there is something off with the bill and how Sang Cheol claims there wasn’t enough money. Jae Woo had a sneaking suspicion that Sang Cheol was stealing funds, but now he’s got undeniable proof that it’s happening.

So, Jung might not have outed Sang Cheol, but he wasn’t completely innocent either.

Back in the present…

Jae Woo interestingly doesn’t overreact at the fact that the two people who know what he did are talking. He must feel that his secret is safe with them.

That evening, Seol gets a call from Ah Young. They arrange to meet after Seol’s classes are over and then Ah Young mentions that she bumped into Yoo Jung. And that he remembered her name. And that he bought drinks for her and her friends. So could Seol help matchmake them together? Seol hesitates. He does seem like a good guy after all, so she agrees.

The next day, Eun Taek and Bora greet her in front of the school gates. And then promptly kidnap her. Eun Taek throws the girls into an empty room and keeps watch while Bora forces Seol to dress up for her blind date at 6 PM. Seol is a bit overly made-up, but does look good in her dress and heels. Even Eun Taek approves and thinks she could get more votes than Min Soo now!

But now Seol has to awkwardly go to class with Jung. He is shocked to see her all made up but she swears that she has an important engagement after class. She’s not dressing up for class for no reason! Just then Ah Young checks in if meeting today is still a good time. Well, it’s now or never…

Seol asks if Jung has some time after class. He readily agrees to hang out, and Seol tells Ah Young to meet them at 4:30 at the cafeteria. They grab a really really early dinner together, and Ah Young comes bounding in. Seol pretends that Ah Young wants to join them for dinner too, and Jung is totally okay with it. Success!

Ah Young spends most of the conversation talking about herself, and Seol asks the leading question, “Do you have a boyfriend yet?” Jung is surprised and compliments Ah Young on how cute she is. Seol then goes overboard: “Isn’t she pretty? She gets so many messages from admirers! You know, I think you two would look really good together.”

Eeeeeeek! Too awkward now.

Seol quickly hurries off to get coffee for them, and then excuses herself because she has somewhere to be. Ah Young then notes that Seol is extremely pretty today for her blind date, and that makes Jung uncomfortable. But now everything also makes sense to Jung.

Back to In Ho. He interviews at a nice restaurant, but the manager isn’t too keen to hire him because of his aggressive personality and sloppy image. In Ho happens to catch Seol there too with her blind date Chi Myung. He recognizes her immediately as the student who thought he was a bum and overhears the very painful conversation that is a first date.

Chi Myung is clearly an elitist, looking down on Seol because he finds her too boring for his taste. She doesn’t even know the classical piece that’s playing in the restaurant speakers! Seol does her best to keep her temper down since the guy is somehow connected to Bora, but In Ho thankfully interrupts: “I can’t listen to you talk anymore. Who the hell boasts this much!?”

Seol recognizes him too and In Ho takes the opportunity to set it out straight that he is not a bum, despite how disheveled he may look. He’ll also take out Chi Myung if she wants, and rolls up his sleeves. Seol stops him before he can land a punch; If he’s going to incur damages, why not start first by paying for her laptop repair fees? She storms out, but not before telling off Chi Myung that he’s a slimy bastard and that his English pronunciation sucks. Woo!

In Ho adds that Chi Myung is an idiot and doesn’t know the difference between Schubert’s Fourth Movement and Fifth Movement (it’s the Fifth Movement playing in the restaurant, by the way). The slimy bastard makes a quick exit and In Ho is left behind with Seol’s cellphone on the table.

Seol finds Jung waiting right outside her home, and she asks if everything went well with Ah Young. Jung lets out a small laugh. “I thought we had gotten close lately, but I guess you had a different reason for approaching me.” The life flashes from his eyes and his expression grows cold.

Jung: You’re just like everyone else. It’s so hard to just have a meal with you.

Looks like Jung’s got some issues with abandonment and fake friendships.

In Ho strolls through the streets wondering who owns such an old phone like Seol’s. He checks through the phone history so that he can try to return it (and perhaps get a free meal in return!), and then spots “Yoo Jung Sunbae” in the call list. Could it be…? Yes it could – because he then sees the selfie photo that Jung took of him and Seol!

In Ho can’t believe it. The world is so small. He’s holding the cellphone of Jung’s girlfriend! And with that, he calls up Jung.

Though he isn’t in the best of terms with Seol, Jung picks up her call while he’s driving. But surprise surprise! It’s In Ho!

They meet and suffice to say the reunion is quite frosty. Jung cuts through the crap and asks for the phone back, but In Ho wants to know who Seol is exactly. Does she even know who Jung really is? Jung warns In Ho to stay away from people in his life, and In Ho alludes to a past wrong that Jung committed to him – a wrong that ruined In Ho’s life forever.

Flashback! And we’re back in high school. In Ho is getting beaten up by some bullies and one of them uses a bat to completely shatter his hand. Jung passes by, and does nothing to stop it. A glimpse of In Ho tearing up while recovering in the hospital, and we’re back in the present.

Whatever it is that Jung did – or didn’t do – he feels no guilt for it. He reminds In Ho that the moment he graduates and enters his father’s company, he will cut off In Ho and In Ha’s allowances. He pitied them before, but he no longer will let them leech off his family. So In Ho better start finding a way to get his life together. Oh, and return the phone without incident.

Another flashback, and this time it’s decidedly happier. In Ho, In Ha, and Jung are all by the beach lighting sparklers and laughing together. What happened that soured their relationship so much?

Comments

A much better episode to follow up episode 1. Park Hae Jin is just brilliant here in that he can perfectly turn warm and cold in just a second. He’s really a master of subtle expressions, and it helps so much because it keeps you on edge. Just when you’re about to trust him he turns on you and you’re not quite sure what to make of him. He makes Seol’s paranoia seem valid, that he’s really a cunning and manipulative person.

But at the same time, if you look at Jung objectively, he seems like a really brave guy who prefers to work behind the scenes. He helps Jae Woo out Sang Cheol so that the underdog can stand up for himself and Sang Cheol can stop being corrupt. He tries to help Seol with the “class registration incident” and he forces Joo Yeon to fix her wrongs. He’s not the hero type who will always save the damsel in distress. He’s more like a normal guy, one who is not going to always get involved in matters that really don’t relate to him. I mean, it can get really suffocating at times when people are always in your business too.

Jung is like the anti-hero, but I really can get behind a lot of his actions even when my K-drama instincts say, “No! Go save her!” In reality, that just wouldn’t really happen all the time.

And that’s the other thing – I love how relatable this drama is. There are many parts of it just rooted in real life situations, especially about college. That whole printer error scenario? Yeah – I feel the pain, quite acutely. That whole “Professor-please-take-my-paper-I-had-a-problem-sending-you-the-file” scenario? Hell yeah. Seol not knowing how to react around a guy giving her so much attention? Yeah, I’d avoid him too, especially if I’m not interested in him romantically. Seol jumps into a lot of conclusions that make a lot of sense for me too, even if she does it too often. But at least she’s not the only one who misinterprets all situations. Joo Yeon does too, even if for more selfish purposes, and she proves as a character that everyone sees a skewed version of the world. No one – not even the all-seeing Jung – is objective anyways.

With every character that appears onscreen, I really appreciate the casting even more. So far everyone really fits into their roles. Even Seo Kang Joon to an extent, though I think he’s got quite a bit to improve on if he’s going to hold his own against Park Hae Jin.

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