Cheese in the Trap: Episode 16 Recap (Final)


We have reached the end of the road. But it is also the beginning of another road. Many mixed feelings, but the main one I have is I hope the webtoon does not end this way.

Seol is rushed to the hospital with Jung by her side. While unconscious, we hear Seol’s internal monologue of how she feels towards Jung. She admits that she had been observing him for a while, and was charmed by his sweet side – a side that was childlike and seemed only visible to her. It was a side that made her fall in love with him.

Jung is stopped right outside of the operating room, and by the time her family arrives, the doctor has an update. Her broken rib, caused by the car accident, punctured her lung and liver, and she suffered from a brain hemorrhage as well. (Seol’s mom has nearly fainted several times already.) However the doctors were able to fix her up so she’ll be moved to an intensive care unit soon.

In Ho is practicing for his concours when he gets a call from In Ha’s phone. It’s Jae Woo on the other line – and he thinks In Ho needs to come over immediately. ‘Come over’ to the police station that is. In Ha had been brought there soon after the accident, but hasn’t said a word to the police about what happened. She’s in shock, and was only was able to reach Jae Woo to come get her. When In Ho arrives, no one knows what happened exactly, but when Jung storms in… Oh things get crazy. He grabs In Ha by the collar and starts yelling at her for what she did while In Ha screams that she didn’t do anything wrong. If Jung had not hurt her, none of this would have happened!

Wow. I mean, it’s really delusional of her. Wow.

In Ho has to stand between In Ha and Jung to keep them from fighting in the station, and tries to find out what on earth happened. All he knows is someone got hurt because of In Ha. Jung clearly states his threat: “If something happens to Seol because of you, I won’t leave you alone either. I’ll kill you!”

In Ho’s heart sinks. Is Seol… the victim? He chases after Jung to find out what hospital she’s at but Jung’s not in the mood to tell him: “How dare you even think about going to see her?” No matter – In Ho just goes running for the nearest hospital looking for her. He finally reaches the right one, and he sees Jung and Seol’s family all standing outside of the OR, waiting around until they finally see Seol.

In Ho slowly approaches the parents, and when they see him they give him a sad look of disappointment. Just what did Seol do that caused his older sister to act like that? In Ho can only look down and apologize, and offers to take responsibility for it all. But what responsibility can he take? Seol is still unconscious! Her mother gets up to walk off but nearly crumbles from weakness. Joon and Jung prop her up to take her elsewhere to rest, and Jung orders In Ho to leave.

Just then, he gets a call from Jae Woo that people are trying to take his sister away. By the time he reaches the station though, In Ha is gone. She’d been taken away by Director Han, who used to work with their grandfather, at a mental institution. By orders of Secretary Choi. Meaning, by orders of Mr. Yoo. In Ho rushes over but he’s banned from seeing his sister until the next morning, so he camps out in the waiting area.

When they meet the following morning, In Ha throws a fit. She refuses to accept how Mr. Yoo threw her into this mental institution after everything she did for him and even reported to him about Jung’s doings. Why is she being punished like this? She goes crazy trying to leave, only to be restrained by the orderlies and brought back to her room. She pleads to In Ho to talk to Mr. Yoo and get her out – but Mr. Yoo has no time for In Ho. He’s at the hospital visiting Seol’s parents.

Playing the generous and wealthy father, Mr. Yoo has ensured that Seol will be watched over by the best doctors in the hospital and that he will cover all of the bills. Why? Because she’s his son’s friend. (Yeah. ‘Friend.’) Jung catches his father speaking to them and waits until he’s done before having a private word with him.

Turns out Mr. Yoo knew to come here because he spoke with In Ha while she was at the police station. He found out about the whole thing and decided to send her to a mental institution where Director Han could officially diagnose her with symptoms of megalomania and impulsive control disorder. That way she can plea insanity when charges are brought against her, and she can get away with her crime while Jung, Mr. Yoo, and Taerang Group escape more or less unscathed. Jung is disgusted that this is how his father regards Seol, especially since this is a scarring incident and could give her a disability in the future. Mr. Yoo brushes it off – he’ll compensate her for any rehabilitation during the settlement.

Mr. Yoo is more angry that he has to clean up Jung’s “mess,” as he couldn’t even take care of ending things completely with In Ho and In Ha. He also blames Jung for Seol’s injuries; if she hadn’t dated him this wouldn’t have happened. That’s a low blow, and it really puts more doubts into Jung’s mind.

He sits with Seol all night, holding her hand. He never knew what it was like to like someone. All he knew was that he wanted to be beside her always, which is very different from how he regarded everyone else who wanted to be beside him. He never understood why everyone else looked at him like they saw a monster, or were scared of him, until now. He now realizes that he trampled over their hearts, that he hurt their genuine feelings so much that they felt betrayed. His father’s cold-hearted behavior towards Seol’s situation just highlighted the fact that it really hurts when someone completely disregards your feelings.

So, would it even be okay for him to continue being by her side when she could get easily hurt?

The following morning, Seol finally wakes up and sees her family around her first. They’re so happy to see she’s awake, and Joon offers to get Jung, who’s been sitting outside. Except – Jung’s not there.

Meanwhile In Ha refuses to eat any of her meals, throwing them to the side whenever the nurse brings it in. The nurse reports as such to In Ho, who’s been waiting in the lobby the past few days, not going home. In Ho asks for a favor that she let him visit his sister, even though she doesn’t want to see him. Thankfully the nurse is nice enough to bring him to her room.

In Ha’s locked the door though, so In Ho speaks through it. “What gives you the right to act like this when you did nothing right?” he says in a quiet but scolding voice. “If you keep acting like that [by not eating], they will think you really belong here. You’re not alone, so stop acting like you are giving up on life. I’ll keep waiting for you outside.”

Jae Woo comes to visit In Ha as well, and joins In Ho in the waiting area. He shares the good news that Seol is finally awake, much to In Ho’s relief. But In Ho can’t bring himself to go visit her.

Bora and Eun Taek do go though, along with Ah Young and Joon. They get her some fruits and get-well gifts, but are surprised that Jung has not stopped by since she woke up. Jae Woo then goes to visit on behalf of the Baeks, and he privately asks Seol if she could talk to Jung and reason with his father. In Ha is currently starving herself because she’s been forced into a mental institution, and Jae Woo is worried that In Ha will really end up insane if she continues this path. Seol has nothing to say, as she can’t quite forgive In Ha. But it’s a bit sad to hear In Ha suffering too.

As for Jung – he’s spent the last few days moping in his room. He’s cut off contact with everyone, not even picking up his father’s calls. It’s clear he’s re-evaluating his relationship with Seol, worried that his decisions are really hurting Seol in the end. And with that, he removes the ring that she made him promise never to take off or lose.

Seol is finally discharged from the hospital, and when the family gets home they see In Ho standing outside the building. He’s still very apologetic, and while the parents aren’t too happy with him, Mr. Hong does give In Ho some credit in acknowledging that he must’ve had a hard time too. Seol and In Ho head to her uncle’s bar to talk, and he apologizes profusely for what happened. Seol then gives In Ho a contract agreement she drafted up. It’s for In Ha, and we can presume that the contents say to leave Seol alone.

The contract doesn’t mean that Seol is forgiving her of anything. Rather, she just doesn’t want to fight anymore. In Ho is actually grateful for this, knowing that his sister is practically uncontrollable. Seol does leave on a good note, telling him that she’ll support him no matter what at his concours.

Jung finally goes to his father to tell him that he already resigned. He then explains that all his life he didn’t want his father to think he was strange. He held back his feelings and did his best to hide it in hopes that his father wouldn’t think badly of him. But because he wasn’t understood, he figured that he didn’t need to understand others either. And so he ended up judging all of them and hurting them, thinking it didn’t matter. But his actions had consequences. And now Jung wants to leave and figure out what kind of person he is exactly.

Mr. Yoo admits that he didn’t want Jung to become like him, but in so doing made his son very much like him. So now, Jung packs up all of his belongings and readies to leave the country. As he cleans out his apartment, he also finds the old sheet music with In Ho’s idol’s autograph on it.

Jung then goes to visit In Ha at the institution. He still won’t forgive her for what she did, and once again asks her to never come to him or his family again for help. It’s time for them to move on from their pasts. She needs to let go of the time when things were good and move forward on her own.

He leaves the room, and passes by In Ho learning that In Ha can finally be discharged. There will still be a summary trial, in which In Ha will receive her sentence. Jung believes that In Ha should accept her sentence and go through it herself, and In Ho agrees. Before Jung can leave, In Ho apologizes to him again. Sincerely. For everything in the past that he might have done, and for not realizing that he and his sister brought Jung more pain than he could admit.

Jung finally breaks, and gives In Ho the sheet music. What – he was going to carry it around but not give it to him at all if In Ho had not apologized?! “It would’ve been nice if I’d given it you back then,” Jung says, and then leaves. Suddenly it all comes back to In Ho, and he realizes that Jung really did care for him as a friend. It’s just that the the Baek kids’s roles in his household was too much for Jung to bear.

Finally Jung goes to visit Seol in her home. He carries a large fruit basket but the parents aren’t too pleased to see him. Suffice to say they’re disappointed that he hasn’t been the most supportive boyfriend regardless of how busy he might have been. Seol comes out to talk to him, and they head to a cafe.

Seol is ready to just move on from the accident. She admits to first blaming Jung a little bit for what happened, but has decided to think of it as an unfortunate accident. All she wants is to go back to dating him happily. Unfortunately that’s not what Jung can do right now. He honestly doesn’t know how much longer Seol can just accept him as he is. He feels guilty that she seems to be putting in so much effort into this relationship, understanding him regardless of what he did. And quite objectively he doesn’t understand why she gives him a pass. He is aware that he’s the one with problems, and so he wants to see her again when he can truly love her properly.

Seol looks at his hands and notices that the ring is gone. It’s for real. He really wants to break up. And the tears just keep streaming down her face.

Some time passes and Seol is recovering but her heart is broken. The family can’t bother her for help in the restaurant, and Joon wonders when they’ll hire In Ho’s replacement. Speak of the devil, he comes by for a final visit with thermal underwear as gifts for the parents. It’s a bit sad how the parents really like In Ho (and probably secretly wish Seol dated him), and yet his sister’s actions kind of sully their pristine perception of him. Before he leaves though, Mr. Hong invites In Ho to stay for one last meal. The last free meal he’ll ever get at Hong Noodles!

Joon stops by his sister’s room to tell her of In Ho’s visit, even though she’s asleep. He tells her that he thinks In Ho is a really good guy, and then leaves to stop bothering her. Of course Seol really isn’t asleep, and decides to stop by outside his apartment to see him off. She won’t be going to his concours, where he’s headed for now, but she’ll be cheering for him from her heart. She adds that she won’t regret anything that she did, which makes him feel somewhat better. Seeing her smiling face really puts In Ho at ease as he heads to his competition.

Even better news for him is when Sang Keun calls up with news that some lawyer paid off In Ho’s debts. (We can bet it’s Jung for this one.) In Ho no longer has to worry about Hammer, as the lawyer also warned that if they got close to In Ho they’d be sued for harassment. In Ho goes onstage for his performance and sees Professors Noh and Shim in the audience, as well as In Ha next to Jae Woo. In Ha isn’t cheering for him; after all, she needs to rediscover her own dreams now too.

After she performs 200 hours of community service and pays a fine of 5 million won.

In Ha texts Seol that afternoon to apologize for what she did (finally), and to also tell her that Jung is leaving Korea on a 3pm flight. Who knows where he’s going – it doesn’t really matter. He’s leaving without anyone to see him off, and Seol sits in her room and cries – forced to really let go of Jung this time.

Three years later…

Yes, we’ve made that awful time jump. Seol has graduated and is now working in a company that she aspired to get into. She has risen to a higher position thanks to her good performance, but finds herself surrounded by people very similar to her old, pesky classmates: a Young Gon-lite who hits on the female coworkers excessively, a Min Soo-lite who compliments her and her clothing tastes excessively, and a Sang Chul-lite who asks her to go over all of his work for him. But now Seol doesn’t really care enough to worry about what they’re doing.

She works in the same company as Jae Woo too, and he’s now dating In Ha. She’s still as demanding, loud, and whiny as ever but it seems she actually cares for Jae Woo and he puts up with her. So I guess there’s that. In Ho’s made it into Sung Hwan University’s Music program, and his hand has healed. The Baeks are all happier now, and for the better.

But Seol – she’s still hurting over Jung and looks at the emails she sent him over the years. All of them have remained unread, so she doesn’t know when he’ll reach out to her. Bora and Eun Taek (still together, she running a shop and he still a model) cutely try to set Seol up on a blind date, but Seol adamantly refuses to go.

As Seol heads home, she crosses a very wide intersection and for a moment passes by someone who looks very much like Jung. She turns to look back, but thinks she’s mistaken. After all, she’s found herself growing more bitter towards him.

When she gets home she still obsessively checks her email to see if he’s read any of her messages. He still hasn’t, and so she goes to get dinner.

And then the latest email is marked off as read. He’s back.


This was an incredibly anticlimactic ending. I am glad that Jung decides to leave and rediscover himself because I think he needs it. He has been messed up by his father (and so have the Baek kids) and needed to find his own real independence. That being said, I’m also really sad that this is the reunion we are left with. We don’t see Jung at all.

If this is what Park Hae Jin meant by disappointment in his character’s development and how he finished filming before everyone else – well, I can understand why.

It’s a very open ending though. We can presume that Seol and Jung reunite and they eventually marry and have wonderfully red-headed babies together. For the type of drama it was, it’s kind of cool to have such an open ending. But come on – I really wanted to see Jung smile again. Not with a flashback scene! The show gave so much closure for the Baeks, Jae Woo, Bora, and Eun Taek that I really wanted something more for the main couple. It’s unfair that we can’t have a good solid moment with the main couple.

The beginning of the episode started off really powerful and fast paced. In Ha being put in the mental institution made me have a double take at first. I thought it was an excessive move and trying to move too fast for the last episode. But Mr. Yoo’s explanation of putting her there just to get her a lighter sentence made a lot of sense. It’s just like Mr. Yoo to try to subtly maneuver things so that everything will be a little better. Regardless of the mental stress it puts on the participants of his plans. After these scenes though, I didn’t have too much of a problem with the pacing of the episode.

Overall – I really think this was a great drama. Each episode was solid. It packed a punch, it left you with wanting more, and it had amazing acting. Everyone was great. No one faltered. I even loved all the villains. Every actor portrayed the characters the way I envisioned them. But if I really think about it, I wish more time was spent on the characterization of Jung, and I wish less was done with humanizing In Ho.

Seo Kang Joon has never been better in a drama and I’m so happy to see him show us his range. He did such a good job with giving me second lead syndrome, in getting your sympathy for him and making you root for him. But because he was written with such a bigger role, in some ways he outshone Park Hae Jin. It was unintentional; in scenes together they go toe-to-toe and make each other better. But when you let Seo Kang Joon have most of the scenes through the writing and the editing, you can forget that Jung is even there. And that’s the sad part.

Park Hae Jin was fantastic as the brooding Jung, but I’ll admit I think I enjoyed him more in the beginning when his actions seemed schizophrenic. You really didn’t know his deal back then, and that was the point. That is the nature of his role in the webtoon. I wonder if people had a problem with that because eventually his role is scaled down and he gets pigeon-holed into playing a sympathetic villain. You only see his mysterious, suspicious, dangerous side instead of enjoying the duality of his nature.

Kim Go Eun was also fantastic, though I felt that towards the end of the series she seemed more tired. She’s not as animated as webtoon-Seol (pun intended!) but she does make Seol into a very normal girl. There is nothing particularly special about her (aside from her huge wardrobe of coats) and Kim really sells that. You wonder, just along with all the other classmates, why popular Jung would go for a girl like her. She makes herself very unremarkable, even though she is.

In the end, I hope many people enjoyed this drama as much as I did. Even with such a half-hearted ending, the ride was enjoyable from start to finish.

Verdict: 9.5/10 (-.5 for that half-hearted ending!)

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7 thoughts on “Cheese in the Trap: Episode 16 Recap (Final)

  1. Wow, I didn’t think anyone else enjoyed this drama as a whole because of that ending. I actually liked the finale even if I did want another episode, a season 2, or a tv movie. For me, it was the right path for the drama characters to take (not only because the webtoon is still ongoing). It was heartbreaking, sweet, hopeful, and kind of poetic.

    I do think they filmed a happy-ever-after ending but didn’t include that because it would’ve been a spoiler to the webtoon fans. I’m kind of glad because I’ve been rereading the webtoon and I want to savor and anticipate what’ll happen next. Of course they could’ve made an alternate ending to make the chee-eomonis happy. But really, there’ve been a lot of complaints about this show even before it begun and I think that’s the ending everyone deserved.

    This wouldn’t have been the same if they didn’t cast Park Hae-jin as Jung and Kim Go-eun as Seol. I don’t think I would have loved this drama as much if not for them. In spite of the behind-the-scenes controversy, I stuck through the show because of all the Jung & Seol moments. There’s just a lot of rewindable, memorable moments since episode 1 and my heart still flutters every time I watch them. I never really liked Park Hae-jin because of his character in YFAS and Doctor Stranger, but I did like him in Bad Guys. I’m looking forward to his next drama. I’ve also never watched Kim Go-eun in any of her films, but I’d probably marathon her movies sometime this year because her take on Seol made me a fan. She’s really pretty and talented and I love her.

    Another thing I liked about this show is the soundtrack. I could wax poetic about all the things I love about the OST, but that’d take all day. Let’s just say that I’ve been playing everything since the first part was released and was eagerly anticipating each one as much as the episodes themselves. My favorites are 치즈인더트랩, 너와 나의 시간은, Go, 너를 채운다. 너를 지운다. (Feat. 서프라이즈), & 이끌림 (Feat. 김고은), but really, I like all the songs and could play it all day.

    I also gave this a 9.5/10 ratings, plus 5 hearts. I’m placing it somewhere in my Top 3 favorite kdrama list but it’s my current favorite.

  2. I disagreed, this drama is good, and the ending is justified, i would be abit dissatisfiedd if they explicitedly take a happy or proper explanation ending, like others mainstream drama. Jung has cause all trouble since beginning. Always playing victim mentality from the 1st episode. Like he said. All people always want To see want they want to see to justify their action so they enable to kept something what precious to them, but they end up lost everything they have. In the end, it’s bittersweet ending. Showing what could have been if there is no baggage surrounding them.

  3. I just really want to know, what is the song that plays when Yoo Jung holds Seol’s hand and cries in the hospital, around 20 minutes or something into the last episode?

    • I think it’s the second song in the show’s OST Part.3: 말 없는 슬픔 by 사람또사람. Same one played on episode 3 when Yoo Jung dropped a coin in the coffee vending machine for Seol.

  4. Excellent review! Even though I sobbed my heart out when Jung and Seol broke up, I realized this is exactly the way real life is. Life has no happy ending, and if it does, it takes time for matters to fall into place and for people to fix their flaws and issues in order to love others properly, as Jung himself realized. The whole drama teaches us that all of us, in one way or another, have flawed personalities, but if we are willing to work through it, we can truly come to understand one another’s feelings and viewpoints that drive us to behave and think the way we do, as well as to accept our mistakes and move on from the past. I’m really hoping the sequel brings Jung and Seol back together, because I truly believe that if Jung gives himself time to discover who he is and manage his dark side better, he can love Seol more than ever before, and Seol can love him as she always had.

  5. Thanks Kaedejun! Your writing of the ending is wise and very optimistic. I just happened to watch this drama now as I was not follow the webtoon and didn’t bother about the drama before.

    Many people hating the ending plus, angry with Jung screen time was been cut. I agree to that. Think back, the ending is suitable and matching with the plot from episode 11-15. Jung needs to understand himself so that he can properly love Seol and people around him as what happened to Seol. She had been admitted three times and the accident was a big sign (due to respect with ongoing webtoon, the drama writers were asked to not create similar finale as the webtoon)

    One of the things confused me, was how Jung knew Kang Joo Yong because it never really explained in the drama (PHJ also mentioned this scene was taken out). Plus, one more scene when Jung was doing something to his sunbae’s paperwork (looking at his smirk in front of the computer) was also never been revealed in the drama. As I never read the webtoon, now I started to read the webtoon to know more back story of Jung especially when he started to be double-sided.

    I personally love the show (rewatch twice in 2 days!) because I feel the storyline and the characters were unique and sweet and honestly, I didn’t really watch PHJ’s drama other than Family Outing show which I found he is so weak. Ha! but this drama really shown his charisma as an actor.

    All the casts did amazing job from the minor part to the major part. KGE did real acting, I was giggling whenever Seol had her embarrassing moment during date time, lesson in class and gossiping with her best friends, because it feels real. Same goes to Baek In Ha and In Ho characters. Even, Sang Chul, Min Soo, Oh Young Gon feel real too.

    The casting was great but the plot a bit messy here and there. Great drama and one of my top 10!

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