Oh drama – you play with my heart so! It’s only the fourth episode and yet you play with my heart! Even if I know what’s going to happen, I can’t stop myself from feeling second male lead syndrome, and that’s terrible. Kudos to Seo Kang Joon though. He’s actually doing really well in this role, as if it was made for him, and he’s far less awkward than he was in Hwajung. And he’s made himself an actual contender for Seol’s heart, which is surprising because he looks like a little kid next to Park Hae Jin.
Seol sputters. Date? Yoo Jung!? She can barely form an answer, especially since she’s never thought about having a boyfriend during college. Jung slowly lets go of her wrist, sensing a rejection but she quickly clasps it, then lets go. It’s not that she doesn’t like him! In which case, Jung suggests they date, and after some prodding Seol blurts out a yes. She rushes into her building, clumsily getting through the front door, and then stumbles into her apartment.
Taking her pillow to her face, she screams, “This is unbelievable! This can’t be happening!” Her walls aren’t soundproof though, and her yelling annoys the heck out of her neighbor Kong Joo Yong (Kim Ki Bang), a former ne’er do well who’s now studying for his civil examinations. Except he can’t study. At least, not without a little help of some beer because of Seol’s crying. Whatever vow Joo Yong made to stop drinking and get his life together has now completely shattered.
Seol wakes the next day agonizing over how she’s going to face her classmates and Jung in the hallways. But then she remembers it’s the first day of break! Woo! On top of that, when she does bump into Jung in the hallways, he gives her a curt “Hello” and walks away. What the heck!? Seol may not know a lick about dating, but she does find his attitude weird after he had asked if they could date. She heads to the career counselor, who then gives her dismal news that her resume doesn’t stand out and she’ll need more English tutoring to get a higher score on the TOEFL and speaking tests.
Bummed out that she does not have scholarship anymore and may not have enough for private tutoring, Seol heads to her home in the suburbs. Her father, Hong Jin Tak (Ahn Kil Kang) tsks over her grades and won’t lend her any for tuition; he doesn’t believe in investing any money in his daughter’s education. He chose to finance her younger brother Hong Joon‘s study abroad, but he’s left both his kids high and dry because his money-making schemes and “business ideas” all fail. Seol’s mother Kim Young Hee (Yoon Bok In) is sympathetic to Seol’s plight but really has nothing to give her daughter. She’s thinking of starting a small restaurant to pay some bills, and suggests that Seol give up her tiny apartment so that they can use the deposit for rent and Joon’s tuition. Then Seol could just commute to school. For four hours. Every day.
Seol does her best to convince herself that this is all for the best but you can tell it depresses her that she is losing her freedom. She also is quite confused about Jung’s behavior as he hasn’t contacted her all day. Seol tries to not worry about the lack of contact, but as soon as her phone beeps with a text message she leaps on it. But it’s from Eun Taek, and he’s calling her out for a nice expensive meal.
With Bora. So that the two friends can make up. Awww… Eun Taek you’re awesome.
Eun Taek goes to check out the buffet table to give Seol and Bora a chance to talk. Seol apologizes for making things awkward between them. Because she’s so embarrassed to talk about her personal life, she doesn’t share as much as she should. Bora likewise promises to tone down the nagging; even though they’re best friends she doesn’t expect Seol to spill everything, but she hopes they can be more honest with each other. And Eun Taek, well, even when his hands her full he wisely continues getting more plates of food until Seol and Bora have finally held hands and made up.
He then mentions casually that he saw Jung outside the business management building, and Seol suddenly perks up and asks what Jung was doing there. Even though she isn’t saying anything Bora and Eun Taek can tell.
Bora: She held my hand and said to me, “I will be more honest.” But look at her…
Eun Taek: Of course, but I think she’s trying, so let’s wait just a little bit.
Seol: [changing the subject] Do you know anything about tutoring jobs? I need one…
Bora/Eun Taek: No we don’t. We’re waiting…
Seol: Yoo Jung asked me to date him.
Bora: Be serious and just tell us!
HAHAHA! Definitely not what they were expecting! But Seol’s description of what happened and her confusion over dating etiquette is enough to convince them that Jung, the most popular guy of their school, just asked their best friend out. Eun Taek is all, “I told you so! I knew they had something going on!”
The two friends can’t figure out what makes Seol attractive exactly. When they look at her all they see is she’s… responsible. Heh. Just then T.A. Heo calls her offering her a job as an office aide. He sounds pretty grumpy and forces her to decide right now, so she accepts without getting a chance to find out why he is picking her of all people. Bora suggests that Seol call Jung and tell him about her new job, and then segue to finding out what he’s up to.
Seol waffles over what to say exactly to Jung for a while, but finally bites the bullet and sends him a text. He responds less than six seconds later with: “That’s great! Hope you have a nice break.” Why? Because he’s busy playing video games! Seol doesn’t know that though, and she’s left wondering whether he plans to see her at all during the break.
Working as an office aide for T.A. Heo is not the easiest thing in the world. For one thing, he expects her to be in early, but when she’s in too early he thinks she has no life and gives her more work to do. It’s been barely a week and Seol has a hard time meeting T.A. Heo’s expectations. At least the other T.A.’s aren’t too mean to her. But finally, almost a week after Seol and Jung agreed to start dating, Jung comes by the office to visit! He brings some drinks and checks in on Seol. T.A. Kim asks if they’re dating, and when Jung confirms it, Seol is surprised that he’s even going public with it when he ignored her for days!
T.A. Heo’s demeanor also completely changes. He stiffens at the sight of Jung and backs away, as if not wanting to be caught giving Seol too much work. Jung thanks Heo for everything he’s done (hmmmm) and then promises to be back often to visit since he signed up for some classes over break. So great, Heo will be seeing this guy he dislikes more often.
Jung takes Seol out for a chat, and he wonders if she didn’t miss him at all. Well, she thought he wasn’t planning on seeing her at all! Jung explains that he just meant for her to have a nice break, and suddenly Seol feels extremely guilty for misunderstanding Jung’s words. Don’t feel guilty, Seol! Jung is totally manipulating the situation to make him look good! Sadly this is her first time dating so she really doesn’t know anything about guys, and unfortunately Jung is just using the situation to his advantage.
He asks her out for a movie over the weekend, much to Seol’s excitement. She spends a lot of time figuring out what to wear during the date, but In Ho’s words ring in the back of her mind: “Wear brighter clothes since your face is so vague-looking. Your hair is like dog fur.” She finally decides on a flowery print shirt and billowy pants, but when she runs into In Ho (who still hasn’t found a job), he calls her a “grandma.” Poor Seol, she’s so insulted she goes home to change! But not before noting that he looks too much like a bum, and that tattered jeans and a t-shirt will never get him a job.
Finally she makes it to the theater and fixes her hair in front of the dark glass doors to the theater one last time. Jung can see her, as it’s like a one-way mirror, and is quite amused that she actually dressed up for the date. He’s already bought the tickets, but they kill some time at the arcade. Jung claims that he’s never played in an arcade before, but on his first try he defeats the highest score in a shooting game. Seol excitedly cheers and raises her hands for a high-ten, but he takes it to mean that she wants to try. Well… they’re definitely not on the same wavelength.
Meanwhile In Ha is on another shopping spree while staving off suitors. Unfortunately all of her credit cards decline. In Ha realizes that Mr. Yoo must have canceled her cards because she had canceled those certification classes that Jung signed her up on, then took the refund and kept it for herself. She uses her most spoiled, sad-puppy voice to beg Mr. Yoo to reinstate her cards, but he won’t budge. He wants In Ha to take the classes; he’s even giving her a job afterwards no matter what! It’s nice to see that Mr. Yoo is actually acting according to Jung’s plan, who had discovered In Ha’s class cancelation in the first place; Jung wants his dad to force In Ha to stand on her own two feet.
But when In Ha finds out that Jung “hopes she could study” as well, and that Mr. Yoo will pay for her private tutoring sessions but will be checking her attendance, she becomes furious. What has she done wrong against his family that Jung wants her to get away from his dad?! All she did was go shopping! Using Mr. Yoo’s cards…
So In Ha calls Jung numerous times, but he hangs up on her immediately. He’s on a date! Except, it’s not a very enjoyable date for Seol as the movie is too artsy for her tastes (she prefers action), and the restaurant they go to is so fancy that she can’t afford anything there. She opts for a shrimp dumpling soup, which is still 15,000 won, while Jung chooses a steak and casually orders wine for them. More than ever, Seol feels like they’re from two very different worlds.
Meanwhile In Ho finally follows Seol’s advice and wears a button down shirt and slacks to an interview at an English tutoring academy. Aaaand he gets the job. Granted, the position is a janitor, but the director of the school sees potential in In Ho and offers him a little more. If they could just take a few pictures of him…
In Ho delightedly leaves the academy with an envelope full of money after taking a bunch of pictures. Just in time, as if she has telepathic powers, In Ha calls him asking for money. He learns that In Ha’s cards have been cut off, but feels very little sympathy for her. He wants her to pull herself together, but In Ha is quick to blame him. The only reason why her card was canceled and Jung wants to kick her out is because of In Ho and his stupid pride. Seriously, In Ha and Sang Chul need to start the “It’s Not My Fault Club.”
In Ho takes out a bit of cash from the envelope, but In Ha takes the envelope instead. And then tries to swipe a few more extra bucks from him as she leaves. She’s so vicious!
Jung drives Seol home and asks if T.A. Heo is giving her a hard time. Seol says it’s not more than the usual (he is quite grumpy after all) but is quite disappointed that the amount of work is preventing her from studying English. Jung has a friend who owns an academy, so he offers to refer her for a discount. Seol doesn’t think it’s necessary, but he cuts her off as they arrive at her home. And then gallantly opens the door for her. As nice as their date was, Seol feels exhausted and hungry when she gets home.
On the way home, Jung finally picks up a call from In Ho, who’s disappointed that Jung didn’t wait for In Ha to get a job before cutting the cards. I think we and In Ho know that In Ha will never get a job, but In Ho feels it’s a little unjust to just cut his sister off so suddenly. Jung coldly reminds him to stay away from people around him, and then hangs up.
Just then In Ho sees Seol entering the convenience store where he’s at, and wonders aloud if Jung meant to stay away from Seol. Because if so… well, In Ho doesn’t want to stay away from her. He watches Seol pick up two onigiris and a huge ramen bowl, and then park next to him on the counter to eat her second dinner.
In Ho bugs her to lend 500 won so he can get kimchi. After all, what is instant ramen without kimchi!? She slaps down a coin and he quickly purchases a cheap instant pack. They split it right down the middle, and Seol comments that he looks better in the button down. And he comments that she looks better in sweats. She notices that he can use both hands to eat, so In Ho casually replies, “I was originally left-handed but then I got into an accident. That Jung caused.”
Yet another warning that Jung isn’t as good of a person as she thinks he is.
In Ho walks Seol home and reminds her that she still owes him two meals; the kimchi doesn’t count. Seol doesn’t have that much money though, and her job isn’t easy since she’s always picked on. In Ho is all, “And you just let it happen to you?!” He may not know much about how the world is, but he knows that if she keeps her head down and lets others take advantage of her, she will suffer in the long run. Good advice from a moocher, which confuses Seol even more because she doesn’t know what to make of him.
That evening Jung gets a call from his father about pushing In Ha too hard. Mr. Yoo feels that Jung is being too mean, because they both know In Ha will be more stubborn the more they push her. Jung promises to take care of it, but first he contacts Seol and gets her situated at the English academy. (Jung even uses the same coloring book that IU uses in Producers. That coloring book is everywhere these days…)
When Seol goes to the academy, she’s surprised to hear that her tuition is free! Seol feels so burdened that she doesn’t sign up right away. But the moment she leaves the place she’s greeted by a bunch of posters with In Ho’s face on them! Except he’s wearing a suit jacket and glasses, so she doesn’t recognize him completely at first.
But then she bumps into him sweeping the hallways! In Ho is pleased to see that they’ve been bumping into each other so often lately, and explains that his new job is to be an ad model, an assistant teacher to the children’s classes, and a part-time janitor. All thanks to Seol’s advice about interview clothing!
Seol hurries out of there; she really can’t get away from In Ho! She bumps into Joo Yong outside the apartment as he escorts the landlady’s grandson out. The grandson is handy with the toolbox and fixed Joo Yong’s window for him. Since he’s around, maybe he could check out Seol’s shaky window too? After all there are rumors of a pervert and a robber around the area. The grandson looks a bit shifty, and even reacts awkwardly at the sight of Seol’s drying underwear outside her window, but he quietly fixes the window. I think we’ll see more of him later on, unless he’s just a really strange passing character…
Jung calls to check if she’s been to the academy, and encourages her to go even if it’s free. He claims he didn’t know it was going to be free tuition, but I bet he secretly did since the director is a friend of his father’s and now knows that Seol is Jung’s girlfriend. But Jung’s expression sours when he sees all the ads with In Ho as the model.
At work, T.A. Heo hands Seol a bunch of files to start typing up and finish by the end of the day. Remembering In Ho’s advice, Seol declares that it’s too much work to finish in one day. There’s no way one person can do it all. T.A. Heo keeps insisting that she finish it, but then T.A. Kim jumps in: “Are you talking about the papers that are due next week?”
Caught! And just in time, Jung arrives to pick Seol up for lunch. So T.A. Heo has to shut up and accept that Seol will not finish his work by the end of the day.
Jung probes to see if Seol found anything interesting at the academy, but she settles on saying no. She figures that bringing up In Ho would make him angrier. But her lack in mentioning In Ho also darkens Jung’s mood because he thinks she’s hiding something from him. No one wins in this relationship, man…
When Seol returns to the office she sees Joo Yeon arranging her papers for study abroad. She’s taking time off from school, and T.A. Kim nearly blurts out to her that Seol and Jung are now dating. Joo Yeon then asks if she can talk to Seol for a bit outside.
Joo Yeon just wanted to clarify what happened that night with the homeless drunken man. She was jealous that she lost her top spot in school and Jung’s attention to Seol, so she sent the drunken man to her that night. However she ended up worrying about Seol and ran to Jung for help – and Jung didn’t help. Seol is stunned by this revelation, and asks what exactly Joo Yeon is trying to say. Joo Yeon tries to blame it all on Jung’s inaction, but Seol replies:
“Why is it important if Jung helped me or not? What’s important here is that you did this to me. Do you see this scar? What would you have done it was on my face? If it was so hard for you to deal with, why did you wait until now to say sorry? When you coincidentally bump into me again, to apologize? First you wanted to beat me in grades and get the guy. Then you wanted me to get what I deserved. And now you just want to apologize so you feel better, and you’re putting the blame on someone else!”
Let’s add Joo Yeon to the “It’s Not My Fault Club,” shall we? Seol is so angry that she coldly tells Joo Yeon to disappear from her sights forever. Yeah Seol! Go you!
Joo Yeon walks off, and notes how similar Seol and Jung are. Flashback to that fateful night, where she witnessed Seol escorted to an ambulance after the attack. Suddenly Jung is next to her. He had called security and sent them over to Seol. “You should have stopped when you had the chance,” he intones. Joo Yeon begs for him to overlook it just once, and Jung laughs. “You really are hopeless.” He then pushes her hair aside, cradles her cheek in his hand, and heartlessly says, “I don’t want to see you ever again.”
And neither will we, because Joo Yeon is off!
Thoughts of Jung’s dual personality fills Seol’s head during English class. If he didn’t care about her wellbeing that night, then why does he suddenly want to date her? She looks so down when she leaves class that In Ho jumps in front of her and cheerily greets her, “Dog Fur!!” Before she can leave, he drags her to the children’s classroom for some help: they’re going to fold up the kids’ exams into paper planes!
Seol isn’t sure this is wise but In Ho confidently says that kids prefer it this way. They can play and study! Hilariously though, In Ho is the worst at making paper airplanes, as his all flop to the ground the moment they leave his fingertips. But Seol’s – Seol’s all gracefully soar across the room. At least she’s smiling now, and In Ho feels his job is really done.
They leave the academy to find that it’s pouring outside. Neither of them have an umbrella, so In Ho makes a bet: last person to reach the convenience store down the block has to buy an umbrella. “One… three!” And In Ho makes a run for it! That cheater! Seol is hot on his heels and the two of them play dirty, grabbing and pushing each other to stop the other from advancing. Seol manages to pull In Ho down right at the entrance and climbs into the store before he does. Win!
Now that he has to buy the umbrella, In Ho also escorts Seol home. He asks what’s been bugging her, but Seol can’t tell him. Not outright at least. “What you told me about your hand,” she starts off hesitantly. “Is it true? Did Jung do that?” In Ho is amused and reckons that something bad must have happened between her and Jung for her to suddenly distrust him.
Seol stalks off, annoyed that he just won’t answer the question. But surprise surprise – Jung is waiting outside her apartment. He had heard about the shaky window and the robber in the area, and just wanted to check in. In Ho scoffs: Since when did Jung care so much about another person’s well-being?
Jung: “Because she’s my girlfriend.”
DUN DUN DUN!
Man, In Ho is so cute! Especially with the way he cheered her up with the paper airplanes! In Ho is a nice surprise here because while his personality might be a bit rough around the edges, he knows when to push buttons and when to stop. When to continue taking advantage and when to stop. He at least knows how to be embarrassed while his sister is shameless. And I like that Seo Kang Joon makes it really clear in his acting. So good on him!
More than ever, I really love how this drama fills out the personalities of all the characters. Though In Ha, Sang Cheol, and Joo Yeon are incredibly frustrating because they like to blame other people for everything bad in their lives, they’re also pitiable. I also appreciate that the actors don’t half-ass their way through the parts; each of them act undeniably annoying and awful, and they are unapologetic about it.
Jung himself has a very skewed moral compass, and it shows even more in this episode. While it can be argued that what he does for the Baeks is better in the long run, he’s also unnecessarily ruthless. So this flaw of his makes him seem like a bad guy, but you also kind of side with his decisions. (I wonder if this drama can give better closure regarding his “sins” against In Ho, because I don’t think I got a satisfying closure from that story arc.)
I really appreciate that this drama is taking the tone of the webtoon and keeping it quirky. It’s a little uncomfortable, and it’s a little probing about the human psyche, but it’s also funny and entertaining and realistic. I’m glad that this drama did not get boiled down into a very silly romantic comedy. Seeing Seol think she’s always in the wrong when she isn’t makes me feel distressed, but at the same time I can’t blame her for feeling the things she feels. Misunderstandings are the name of the game here, and even if they’re small, they’re being played out really well here.
Interestingly, it seems this drama cut down on Young Gon’s story line, because he’s one of Seol’s stalkers who continually harasses her. But it could be a future storyline for later in the drama too.
As for Joo Yong… FINALLY WE MEET HIM! Can’t wait for his storyline to be built out more…
- Cheese in the Trap: Episode 3 Recap
- Cheese in the Trap: Episode 2 Recap
- Cheese in the Trap: Episode 1 Recap
- Cheese in the Trap: Thoughts on the Webtoon