Oh this drama. I went from having First Lead Syndrome to Second Lead Syndrome and back. What a cool coming of age drama for me, especially for the college years. I mean, who hasn’t worked in a group project and had to do all the work?!
Seol feels very guilty for what she did to Jung, though she’s not completely sure how her actions could be so wrong. Nevertheless, he’s now so angry that he ignores her when she greets him in class. It’s the cold shoulder treatment like a year ago. In Professor Kang’s class, Seol goes up to him to apologize, as she didn’t meant to embarrass him with Ah Young. Before she can say anymore he gestures at his group of friends with the attitude of, “Can’t you see I’m talking here?” For once, I’m actually on Jung’s side when he cuts her off. I mean, can’t you apologize when you’re alone together, Seol? It’s a bit embarrassing to talk about love lives and match ups in front of the whole class.
Professor Kang strolls into class and starts off describing the team project for the semester. Details are on the class homepage online, and she warns lazy freeloaders to not get caught or the whole group will fail the project.
Unfortunately Seol gets matched with Sang Cheol, Min Soo, and Da Young as team members, and they all expect Hong Seol to be the team leader and do all the work. They think that she’ll save them all. UGH. After class is over, Sang Cheol and Da Young join Jung and his group mates for lunch, quickly leaving Seol behind in the dust. Seol really doesn’t understand why Jung is mad at her, and if he was expecting something different from her. Or more…
In any case, Min Soo asks Seol if they could grab lunch together. Seol can’t, as she is meeting with Ah Young. The sweet freshman updates Seol on what happened after she left that lunch: how Jung didn’t say a single word to Ah Young after Seol left, and she felt as ignored as a random object in a room. The only thing Jung asked was for Seol’s address. Based on how Jung acted, Ah Young thinks he likes her and that he was jealous and angry when he found out she went on a blind date. Seol thinks it’s preposterous. But we all know it’s true.
Eun Taek spies on Seol from afar, trying to gauge her emotions. Apparently he and Bora know that they’re in deep trouble after the disastrous blind date with Ahn Chi Myung. Eun Taek thinks that Bora should turn herself in to Seol and beg forgiveness before Seol gets angrier. Especially since she hasn’t been picking up any of her calls. Bora braces herself, and then quickly sweet talks herself to Seol’s good graces, claiming her love for Seol. Should she beat Ahn Chi Myung for her best friend? Hit him in the head? The chest? Body? (Bora beats Eun Taek as a proxy example.) Seol clarifies that she lost her phone, so she wasn’t intentionally avoiding Bora. In that case, Bora offers her phone so Seol could see if someone found it.
And someone does pick up.
Seol goes to meet In Ho at a barbecue restaurant and is startled to see that her eyes really are small and look half-asleep like in the picture. He beckons her over and then orders a few more servings of meat. Seol just wants to get her phone and get out, but he tells her to sit down and eat. Then he’ll hand over the phone. Seol resignedly takes a swig of water, and In Ho blurts out, “Are you and Jung dating?” And all that water just spews out of Seol’s mouth. Well, based on that reaction I guess it’s a no. In Ho thought as much, as Seol is definitely not Jung’s type; her hair resembles dog fur and her bangs look like stringy pigtails! But it isn’t like Jung to just follow Seol around either.
But then he can’t figure out why Jung would follow Seol around since that’s not his type. Not sure what to make of the situation, he takes his extra orders of meat to go and has Seol pay for his meal. It’s more than she can afford (124,000 won!) and on top of that, In Ho wants to be treated two more times for returning her phone! She can’t help but stare at him flabbergasted. In Ho adds that she should stay away from Jung, though he can’t explain why or how he knows Jung.
Seol heads home, unsure what to think of a stranger saying such negative things about Jung. Next thing she knows, she’s walking up the same hill home as In Ho! He thinks she’s following him, but it slowly dawns upon her that they live in the same neighborhood! She tries to pretend they don’t, but In Ho can see through her ruse. Seol hurries home and locks all her doors, but she can’t avoid In Ho forever. Not when he now has her number and won’t ever stop harassing her for his other two meals!
It’s time for a group meeting on the project and Sang Cheol is falling asleep because he went drinking the night before. He refuses to do research on South African markets with the excuse that he’s never been there before and doesn’t know how to do research. Da Young also asks if Seol can lessen her part, and Min Soo proves to be less capable than you’d think. Just then, Jung’s group enters the room and a senior, Min Do Hyun, takes an interest in Seol. Jung notices Seol’s phone and figures that she’s met In Ho, then leads them away to find another classroom, and Sang Cheol quickly excuses himself (pushing the work on Seol) so that he can go drinking and eating again.
That evening, when Seol is busy working on their project, Sang Cheol asks if she can push tomorrow’s meeting to the next day because of an “important meeting.” Seol stands her ground and won’t change the meeting time, especially since it’ll be hard to reschedule. Meanwhile Min Soo doesn’t know how to make presentation reports and adjusting images in the text. Seol is pissed that she has to do everything, and study for her exam, but nothing can prepare her for when no one shows up for the meeting the next day. They clearly expect her to do everything. Ooooh the rage…
Seol catches Sang Cheol drinking at a bar based on his Facebook post and she hunts him down. (Idiots, seriously.) Sang Cheol praises her for being an awesome team leader, pretending to believe that her arrival at the bar is because she’ll report to him what happened at the meeting. Do Hyun convinces her to sit down and lightly reprimands Sang Cheol for skipping on the meeting. So Sang Cheol then hands Seol a drink – if she can down the soju he promises to work harder. And down it she does.
Meanwhile Jung is working on the project at school with another teammate. He has taken it upon himself to do most of the work, but that’s because he knows it’ll keep the peace and it’s hopeless to convince lazy people like Do Hyun to work. He is similar to Seol in that they both bear the brunt of the work and study, but Seol ends up being more like a pushover because she tries to change her fate with terrible seniors like Sang Cheol, Da Young and Min Soo.
In any case, Jung finds that his print outs are mixed up with Do Hyun’s and calls him up on the speakerphone, only to hear the others egging Seol to drink more in the background. He shortly informs Do Hyun that he’ll be heading over to pick up the papers. The teammate is disgusted by Do Hyun after the call because he knows what Do Hyun will do. Ever since freshman year, Do Hyun has been making girls get blackout drunk and then taking them to a motel. Even though Jung doesn’t look it, he clearly is worried about Seol and hurries out of the school.
At the bar, Seol knows that she’s drunk and gets up to leave. She begs Sang Cheol to please do his work and be a good senior to her. He flippantly promises to do so, and Do Hyun tries to get her to drink one more beer. Seol won’t, so Do Hyun offers to drive her home.
Thankfully Jung arrives just in time and butts in to escort Seol home. He forcefully keeps her upright, but finally explodes on her. Why isn’t she taking care of herself?! Why couldn’t she just say no to them when they forced her to drink? He barely gives her a chance to explain that she went in for Sang Cheol before he unceremoniously dumps her into a cab. And just before you think he’ll actually escort her home, he just hands the driver some money and sends her on her way. (Hilariously, the music cuts out to signify that this is anything but a romantic gesture.)
Do Hyun’s pissed that Jung just sent off the girl he was “working on” all night. Jung frankly doesn’t care if Do Hyun’s going to be sleazy does it, as long as it’s far from campus. “Does your employer for your internship know you’re doing this?” Jung asks coldly. Wow – not above making threats to his senior. Do Hyun thinks Jung is just being overprotective because it’s Seol, but Jung says he was disgusted by Do Hyun’s actions: “And I get sick very easily. If you understand what I’m telling you then you’ll be careful. Unless you want to be an unemployed loser for life.” And with that, Jung leaves. Without even getting the printouts from Do Hyun.
The next day Seol tries to catch an elevator but sees Jung in it. The two lock eyes and Seol backs away. She’s too uncomfortable around him now, especially since she doesn’t quite know what she’s done wrong to invoke this ire.
Meanwhile In Ho is still unsuccessful at finding a job, and blames his super good looks for not landing him a position as a measly waiter. HAAAAAHHH. He then gets a call from Mr. Yoo (Son Byung Ho), Jung’s father, who misses In Ho and hasn’t seen him in a while. He bids In Ho and In Ha to come home the next day, and also calls up Jung. You can guess that he’s calling all the kids home for dinner.
In Ha berates In Ho for coming over dressed like a slob while she’s quite the sight in a hot pink skirt suit. She tries to act cheery and clings to Jung’s arm when he arrives, but he coldly pulls away and continues his Glaring War with In Ho. Well, this won’t be an awkward dinner.
Mr. Yoo really cares for the Baek kids, even though Jung looks down on them and In Ho is keenly aware of that. He feels that the Baek kids are taking advantage of his father, although it’s really only In Ha who does. Mr. Yoo wants In Ho to play the piano again, but the young man isn’t interested anymore. He reassures Mr. Yoo that he will find something that he’ll want to do soon.
He leaves the house to see In Ha trying to get a ride from Jung. But Jung is not having it: “Will you stop taking advantage of my family? Use your brain for once.” I agree with Jung here, even if he does sound arrogant, because In Ha isn’t that dumb. But she chooses to act this way because it’s all she knows how to do. She doesn’t want to try harder than this. Even In Ho knows this and he doesn’t care that Jung is mean to his sister; after all someone needs to give her a wake up call. But he is annoyed that she takes a cab by herself without waiting for him.
We find out a little more about the two boys’ animus towards each other. Jung thinks that In Ho places too much blame on his family, that it was Jung’s fault for ruining In Ho’s hand (crippling him enough from playing the piano again), and that it was Mr. Yoo’s fault for saving the siblings. But they did offer to pay for rehab. It’s just that In Ho refused it, so he has no one to blame but himself. Jung wants the siblings to just disappear, but that infuriates In Ho so much that he kicks off Jung’s sideview mirror. He hates Jung for looking down on him and his sister just because they benefit from the father. He dares Jung to hit him in the face, but Jung just kicks him in the shins as payback and drives away. Jung fights smartly, not recklessly.
And how does Jung de-stress? By doing intricate paper cutting with an X-acto knife.
Meanwhile Seol is super stressed because no one is sending their parts for the project. She’s ready to give up but decides it’s not worth getting angry. It’s better to get good grades so she can continue getting her scholarship. She works all the way until 6 AM to finish the project, and finally allows herself to sleep for 1 hour. Except… her team wouldn’t know how to present since they didn’t do any of it at all. So she wakes up again to write the presentation script.
Her teammates all give her a variety of excuses – sickness, too drunk, a sister ruining the computer – even though Seol knows they’re all untrue because they were all on Facebook. Seol ignores them all while handing them the scripts. At least when the other groups go, they vary from bad to terrible presenters. Except Jung of course. Because he’s like, perfect.
It’s Seol’s group’s turn and Min Soo is up first to speak. She nervously reads from the script directly, since she doesn’t know a lick of what’s going on, and fails to answer Professor Kang’s impromptu questions correctly. Professor Kang knows all these symptoms – an excellent and well organized presentation, a good looking report, but a group of people who don’t know how to answer any of the questions except for Seol. This was the work of one person. And so she gives the whole group a D in front of the class. She did warn the freeloaders to not. get. caught. And no, Professor Kang won’t give Seol a grade adjustment because Seol is a business management major who needs to learn effective communication. And she can’t live her life working by herself in the real world.
The group mates are sorry, but Sang Cheol is quick to blame others first for giving him a failing grade. Seol just quietly packs up her stuff, and then notices that Da Young did do her part in the project and printed something out. But she just didn’t send it to Seol and didn’t tell her anything. I wish Seol would have turned around and punched Sang Cheol in the face because he deserves to fail in life, but she just walks off.
Bora and Eun Taek enthusiastically greet Seol and try to get her hyped for their break. But Seol doesn’t care what they do, and suddenly turns on Bora, telling her to just figure it out herself and to stop talking about the trip. Bora doesn’t understand why Seol is lashing out at her until she learns that Seol failed her class project, which means she won’t have money for a trip because she won’t get scholarship. Bora becomes frustrated: why couldn’t Seol just tell her this instead of just lashing out about the trip? Even if it was a personal issue, it’s not like Bora knew what was going on in her mind. She expects that as a friend, Seol also shares what she’s going through so that Bora could be more understanding.
With that, Bora storms off and Seol sends Eun Taek after her to comfort her. She puts on headphones and heads home, not hearing Jung calling after her. He knows she’s feeling terrible after that class, so he follows her home.
On the hill to her home, In Ho suddenly pops out of the convenience store and takes Seol’s bag to carry it for her. Aww… he just wants to bother her, but his presence is enough to make Jung stop cold and watch from the foot of the hill. In Ho notices Seol’s long face and asks what’s wrong, but she can’t bring herself to tell him. So In Ho tells her to keep cool (with ice cream!) and have sweets. He marches up the hill ahead of her, but then steps in place until she slowly catches up to him. And here I fell for the second lead…
At home, Jung calls his father with some ideas about what to do with In Ha and In Ho. He wants his father to help them get on their own two feet instead of outright supporting them. Mr. Yoo is down with that plan, although In Ho already turned down any help, so there’s that. As for In Ha, Jung suggests she get a certificate and then get a job at the dad’s company as an accountant or IT person. But how to convince In Ha? Jung thinks that the power of his voice will be enough to convince her, but In Ha is too busy with her manicurist to really pay attention to his request.
School is same old: Seol gets bad-mouthed by Sang Cheol in the hallways, awkwardly bumps into Bora, and then finally sees Jung when he helps pay an extra 500 won at the vending machine. She has no idea how to get her life together and repair her relationships, but she’ll start with Jung. She first apologizes about the Ah Young-fiasco and swears that she didn’t mean to get close to him for Ah Young. She just thought he was nice guy after learning more about him. Jung also apologizes for being childish and frustrated, though he doesn’t explain why he was frustrated. They call it even and Seol offers to buy him dinner, much to his surprise, to make it up to him.
What’s more surprising is that all he wants is more onigiri! And this time, he knows how to peel off the wrapper because he’s been practicing! And this is where I fall back in love with the first male lead…
They walk home together, and Seol is so grateful that they’re friends again. But then she asks about In Ho and suddenly Jung’s face darkens. He advises her to ignore In Ho the next time they see each other, and Seol senses that she shouldn’t bring up the name again in front of Jung. Now both guys are telling Seol to stay away from the other! Jung takes a look around her dark neighborhood and proclaims that he’ll walk her home every night from now on since it could be dangerous.
They reach her doorstep, where the lamp above flickers on and off. Jung doesn’t turn to leave so Seol awkwardly says goodbye and turns to her door. He grabs her wrist. The lamp turns on fully.
“Seol. Do you want to date me?”
I’m going to admit this was a lot sooner than I expected! I mean, I know Jung makes his intentions clear, but I wasn’t expecting it now. Clearly Jung is trying to stake his claim before In Ho can. While it was obvious that he liked Seol because of his stalkerish actions, we don’t know why. And that’s the mystery with Jung. We don’t know exactly why he hates or likes people, but we just know he does.
His actions can be puzzling but at the same time I’m grateful there’s a guy like him who knows how to play the social game. He knows when to pick a fight with someone and when not to. The way he handled the group project was masterful, but so was giving Do Hyun a stern talking-to. (If only he could do it with Sang Cheol again!) I can understand why he refuses to talk about personal matters while in class, and would rather talk over a meal because that would be more private. In a way, he’d be protecting his reputation, but he’d also be preventing anyone from learning anything about his life to take advantage of him. He’s a very guarded fellow, but with good reason.
As for In Ho, I liked that we get to see a little more of his personality in this episode. He wasn’t as clearly defined as In Ha the moment you meet her, but he’s proving to be a complex character. Lazy and carefree on the outside, deeply thoughtful and burdened on the inside. In Ho is supposed to be a prodigy at the piano, in case it wasn’t obvious with the many references to the piano, so it’s no wonder he has a chip off his shoulder when it comes to his hand and rehab. While I can understand Jung’s frustration at seeing his father being used, I wish he would come to realize that In Ho isn’t trying to use him or Mr. Yoo.
And that’s the thing – Jung is quite narrow-minded too, even if he observes a lot of things about his classmates and knows how to navigate between circles. He and Seol, if left to their own devices, could misunderstand everyone around them too without asking for clarification. It’s just that Seol lets her misunderstandings become spoken assumptions that make her seem like a fool, while Jung quietly mulls over the misunderstanding so much that it becomes a deep hatred and permanent bias against a person.
But Eun Taek and Bora? They’re just happy normal people. I’d love to see more of them. And far less of Sang Cheol please.
- Cheese in the Trap: Episode 2 Recap
- Cheese in the Trap: Episode 1 Recap
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