Cheese in the Trap Episodes 3&4 Review: The Elephant in the Room

Since 1988 ended this week (tears) I’ve been having a hard time deciding what to recap next. I already wrote a post about Cheese in the Trap, so I didn’t want to come back to it, but this drama refuses to leave my mind, hence it became the winner.

Rather than telling everything in detail about the episodes, I’m going through weekly highlights and basic story-line.

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Mystery continues to abound, and the romance is hotter than heck, even though we’re no where near a kiss. It doesn’t hurt to have two beautiful men in the running either.

Last week’s episode ended with Yoo Jung showing up at Seol’s house to tell her her off. He hated the way she wanted something from him like everyone else, and he’s not afraid to say so in a rude manner.

Seol collapses on her bed, upset with herself for hurting her relationship with a Sunbae. I actually worry for her, because Yoo Jung seems to have a lot of swaying power in her life, and he could take away the things he’s done for her just as easily as he put them in place (i.e. the scholarship.)

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She apologizes to him, but he pretends like he’s not bothered, preferring to chat with his friends then give her any real attention or acceptance. This is the part where we chat about the elephant in the room. Is Yoo Jung good or bad?

Some of his actions (Okay, a lot of them) seem really iffy. It feels like he picks and chooses his favorites and does whatever he wants with them. From the beginning, Seol questioned his motives, and she’s even feeling a bit of his wrath with the way he’s treating her.  I don’t blame her for avoiding him.

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I’m still reserving judgment because I know we’re not getting the whole story. Sometimes Yoo Jung seems sinister when he’s actually doing something good. But his treatment to In Ho leaves a lot to be desired.

Speaking of In Ho, I kind of like his plucky ways. He’s not afraid about following social protocol, which may be due to the way he was raised. It’s still a unclear why, but he’s tied up with Yoo Jung’s family somehow.

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He didn’t even think when he asked Seol to pay for his food, or when he dressed like a bum for interviews. (If that’s dressing like a bum in Korea I think I need to step up my game.)

In Ho is a bit of a Yin to Seol’s Yang. She’s overtly worried about how everyone around views her, and she’s afraid to break the rules. I hate to admit it, but I’m just like Seol.

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The bit with her taking on the  group assignment by herself is a story that’s played out more than once in my life. Usually, however, I ended up getting everyone else good grades when they didn’t deserve it (grr.)

It’s energizing to have the balance of In Ho who won’t take crap even from…whatever Yoo Jung’s father is to him. My guess is an adopted dad, but the show could surprise us. In Ho’s lovely (read: annoying) sister tells Yoo Jung’s father In Ho is back and they’re invited for a cozy (read: awkward) dinner.

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Things are fine on the surface with daddy around, and everyone minus In Ha is on their best behavior. Yoo Jung’s father even takes In Ho aside to ask about his well being. Finally, we get a nugget of insight into In Ho’s background.

He used to play the piano. Not as good as Chanyeol if I’m recalling roommate correctly, but still pretty good. There was something that kept In Ho from returning to the instrument, and here he asserts he doesn’t want to go back. Never mind the longing puppy-dog eyes he has for the beautiful Baby Grand sitting in the living room.

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The Three Amigos are barely one step out of Pappa Bear’s house when the fighting begins. Yoo Jung chides In Ha for her dependence on his family, and In Ho no longer hides his dislike for his friend (so badly want to write hyung, but I’ll keep that to myself)

Yoo Jung keeps his normal straight face when insulting, and tells In Ho to keep his sister in line. In Ho responds with a  Kylo-Ren Nam Gyo Man worthy tantrum and kicks off Yoo Jung’s car mirror. Yoo Jung responds only by driving away.

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Just when Yoo Jung is doing his best I-don’t-care  impression, Seol lands herself in trouble. She’s trying to get the school bully to give her his part of the project, when she ends up being coerced to have a few drinks.

Yoo Jung calls one of his project-mates and hears the table chanting for Seol to drink. You can tell her presence there bothers him, but he doesn’t do anything about it until the guy he’s studying with lays out the deets of the project-mate.

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Turns out the scum has been known to get girls so drunk they pass out, then he takes them to a hotel. We’re left to guess about the rest, but it doesn’t take a genius to piece it together.

Yoo Jung rushes to Seol’s side, saving her just as Mr. Pervert is about to “walk her home.” Yoo Jung doesn’t have to say anything, but I think he knows here how much he cares for Seol and can’t stay away. He even confronts the guy and tells him to take his business off campus.

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After Seol fails miserably in her group project (a D, the world is over!) she snaps at her best friend for not being considerate. Yoo Jung sees the whole thing and tries to figure out how to talk to her. When he can’t get her attention, he follows her instead.

This is the point where I give the counter argument against Yoo Jung being a sleazy guy. I think everything he’s done to help Seol he’s done out of the goodness of his heart. I believe he likes to help people who don’t ask for it. And he wants to help Seol now when she’s upset, only he’s not great at the consoling thing. Money, he understands.

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When they get to the bottom of Seol’s street he’s about to make a move, but then his arch Nemesis, In Ho, pops out of nowhere and starts harassing Seol for being in a bad mood. His tactics actually work, which is why I like him.

Then again, he’s being a touch forceful and not letting her come out with her emotions on her own. In fact, he’s inserted himself into her life without asking permission. It’s cute, but I’m not sure it’s going to be cute forever.

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Poor Yoo Jung just sits there and watches. I think this part was amazing camera work. It felt like a webtoon with the way Yoo Jung was blurred out. There’s a real tactically to the way they filmed this. Like we’re half in the real world and half in a piece of art. I love it.

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The next day Seol is trying to buy something from a vending machine, but she’s short on cash. Who should pass her, but Mr. Money Bags himself, Yoo Jung.

He’s about to walk away, but Seol stops him and apologizes again, offering to pay for another meal. He agrees and they go for round two of triangle kimbap. I love how giddy he is at being able to open the package. This has to be the first time he’s let his guard down and totally been himself.

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Since we don’t get his thoughts, it’s hard to tell, but he must sense how he acts around her as well. He walks her home and suggest it’s too dark to go by herself. He should help her from now on. Adorable!

When she’s about to scurry inside, he grabs her wrist holding her there. I know, I know. Wrist grabs in Kdramas are overdone and there’s a huge debate about male dominance, etc. But I happen to like a wrist grab if it’s timed right and he’s not dragging her everywhere. In this case it’s perfect.

Seol is shocked to say the least, but she’s even more stunned when Yoo Jung asks if they should date. For real??!!

She responds by saying she doesn’t hate him, which isn’t exactly a stunning endorsement, but he takes it as positive response and says they should just date then. She agrees by nodding her head.

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Poor girl is so lost about love, and Yoo Jung has no clue either. The second she’s in her own room, she screams into her pillow and beats herself up for saying yes.

Then she starts a debate in her head about all reasons why he would date her, or not. But the deed has been done, and now all she can do it wait.

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She waits. And waits. And Yoo Jung doesn’t even so much as text her. Seems like a weird way to date. Seol doesn’t have anyone to talk to since she yelled at her friend, and she still has money for school to worry about. So far the only solution she can think of (thanks to her mom’s help) is to get rid of her apartment and move home FOUR HOURS AWAY. sounds like a bad deal to me.

Thankfully her BF’s guy-friend (not sure what he is) Eun Taek calls her out for lunch so the two girls can make-up. Seol isn’t very good at staying mad, and neither is Bo Ra. a

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Bo Ra asks her to tell everything and they end up talking about Yoo Jung. Seol confesses they’re dating, but also tells Bo Ra she’s clueless about what dating means.

A phone call comes as the crew leaves the cafe, and Seol is offered a job (rather suddenly) at the TA’s office. Not just anyone can get this job, and it’s kind of miracle.

 

Seol uses this chance to text Joo Young about what he’s doing over the break. In true male fashion, he simply tells her to have a good break. In true female fashion, she takes that to mean she won’t see him until school starts again.

These two need to learn how to communicate.

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Seol ends up getting buried in work thanks to her stickler boss, and time continues to pass with no Yoo Jung.

That changes one day when Yoo Jung just shows up at her work unannounced and responds affirmative when the office ladies ask if they’re dating. This comes as shock to clueless Seol who didn’t know what to say. I wouldn’t know if I was dating either, given the situation.

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Yoo Jung takes her out of work for a break. He says she didn’t contact him and he missed her, so he wanted to see her. Which is when she admits she’s never dated before. He smiles and asks her if they should go out.

The choice is the movies and Seol is frantic about picking an outfit. In Ho’s words come back to haunt her about being comfortable and she picks something, well, grandma-ish. In Ho runs into her on the street and doesn’t fail to tell her so, but only after she told him he can’t go to an interview dressed like a punk.

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After Seol changes she meet Yoo Jung at the movie theater where he proceeds to slay a video game before the movie begins. I love his face at that moment too, because he makes it look like the easiest thing in the world.

Seol munches on popcorn alone while watching a movie she doesn’t enjoy. She’d rather have some action. Yoo Jung has the foresight to take her out to dinner afterward, but he ends up picking a classy place with eighty dollar steaks and twenty-five dollar soup.

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When the date ends (complete with Yoo Jung opening her car door.) she’s hungry and tired. I feel bad for both people in this sort-of-relationship, because Seol doesn’t know how to tell Yoo Jung what she wants, and Yoo Jung is only doing the things he knows how to do. One of them needs to speak up, or else things might get dicey.

Seol changes into her comfy clothes and runs to the convince store to eat some ramen and kimbap. In Ho just happens to be there eating ramen himself. Unfortunately for him, it’s because he has no money. He landed a modeling gig, but his sister took all the funds after Yoo Jung cut her credit cards off.

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On their date Seol mentions she needs to study English, and Yoo Jung says he knows someone and can get her a discount. Seol declines, but Yoo Jung sets her up anyway and she gets tutoring for free.

It’s starting to bother me how much Seol is worried about keeping thing even money-wise. Being with someone is about more than who pays for what. What she lacks in money, he lacks in humanity. She can give him street smarts where he wants to give her things. It’s not like she’s just taking.

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Still, she goes to the academy anyway, and who does she happen to see? In Ho. They end up spending the day together, making paper airplanes for the kids and chasing each other in the rain (swoon)

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But when they get back to her apartment, Yoo Jung is there. He says he’s there to help keep her apartment secure from thieves, and In Ho can’t believe he’d do something to help anyone else.

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Considering Yoo Jung smashed In Ho’s valuable piano-playing hand, there must be some truth to that. But the story behind the hand hasn’t been shown, and Yoo Jung’s real motives aren’t clear.

As if a territory war wasn’t bad enough, Yoo Jung has to throw out his man card and declare Seol his girlfriend in front of In Ho. Not sure how this is going down, but I have a feeling In Ho’s going to be hanging around Seol a lot more to make Yoo Jung mad.

Thoughts:

At this point, I like In Ho more for Seol just because he can get her to loosen up. He’s also noticed when she’s down and tried to talk to her about it, something Yoo Jung lacks.

Seol and Yoo Jung are a bit too similar. This was evidenced when bratty girl from the first two eps told Seol she sent the drunk man to hurt her. She also lied about Yoo Jung not doing anything to stop it, even though we know otherwise.

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I want to believe in this show, because I’m interested in seeing all three of our leads change, but if Yoo Jung and Seol end up staying the same, it might be a show I regret having turned on. For now, however, I’m going to enjoy the ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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