It's time to say goodbye. I'm not ready and I feel very attached, but why fight against the unstoppable? Let's recap together the final episode of Cheese in the Trap.


Cheese in the Trap

Starring Kim Go Eun and Park Hae Jin

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Seol is being rushed into the operating room, Jung next to her holding her hand until he is told he can’t come any further. While this happens, Seol’s voice fills the narration, wondering back why she took his hand back then when he first asked her out. She realizes that despite she knew there was something off with him and being scared, she must’ve been watching him as well, and being curious.

Her family arrives and ask Jung what happened, but he can’t explain why In Ha did what she did. What’s wrong with Seol is that she broke some rib that punctured her lungs Thankfully, the surgery went well and now they only left to wait until she wakes up.

In Ho is practising, his hand still bothering him when he receives a call from In Ha, but it’s not her at the other end but Jae Woo. He informs the situation she’s currently in and In Ho rushes to find out what happened. He arrives at the police station in a rush but In Ha doesn’t react, she seems to be in a comatose state. Then Jung arrives, fury controlling his limbs as he charges against In Ha. She finally reacts, panicking and saying it was an accident but then that it was all Jung’s fault, if he hadn’t done that to her nothing of that would’ve happened. When Jung threatens her that if something worse happens to Seol, he’ll kill her, In Ho realises the person that In Ha hurt is Seol.

In Ho runs after Jung to find out how Seol is and where she is, but Jung tells him he can’t dare to see her after what In Ha did. Nonetheless, In Ho runs to the hospital until he finds her, running into Jun first who encourages him to go talk to Seol’s parents. Jung’s eyes are cold when he spots In Ho approaching, but that doesn’t stop the pianist, he still bows and offers his apologies to the family on behalf of In Ha. Seol’s parents aren’t pleased and know that no apologies will help, Seol is unconscious. They leave and In Ho stays behind, feeling hopeless and apologetic to no end.

Jae Woo is calling again, this time to inform he couldn’t do anything and In Ha was dragged away. When he arrives to the police station, Jae Woo explains In Ha’s legal representative came and took her. In Ho knows the name and calls him, the chairman’s secretary, and he tells him nicely that she was taken to a mental ward. The same secretary, after seeing In Ha being dragged into a cell? informs Chairman Yoo that everything went well.

In Ho rushes to the mental ward but no matter how much noise he makes and threats he throws, he can’t see In Ha right now and unless he wants to be dragged out, he has to wait. That is what he does and is finally able to see In Ha the next morning.

She’s still in shock, scared of actually going insane there, and in disbelief Chairman Yoo did that to her. In Ho is surprised it was him and not Jung and then realises that all these years, In Ha has still continued answering all his questions, being the puppet she was supposed to be. She snaps, saying he also loved doing that in high school and he can’t recriminate her for it now.

In Ha begs In Ho to help her get out of there, to talk to Chairman Yoo because she’ll go really insane if she stays. When she sees no favourable response from her brother, she threatens to just leave but the nurses-slash-security grab her to stop her again, and she’s dragged while In Ho watches with tormented eyes.

In Ho calls the secretary to meet chairman Yoo, but his schedule was, purposely, packed so he has no time to see In Ho. The secretary advises him to take things carefully or he’ll make things worse for In Ha.

Chairman Yoo, however, is at the hospital offering his apologies and taking care of Seol and her situation, offering the best service and a better room, even to pay the medical bill. The parents are impressed at his, apparent, kindness.

Jung is watching this and he knows it isn’t just as it seems. When he talks to his father he basically stomps all over his emotions just caring protect them and Taerang, making sure to please Seol’s family so they’ll settle and In Ha won’t have to go to trial and drag them with her. Jung is horrified his father has no consideration for the girl he loves, but his father is angry that now he has to come and clean up after him. He thought things had settled down after what happened to In Ho, but here he is again, taking care of the matter. Chairman Yoo also blames it on him, telling him it’s his fault for not doing as he was told when he was told. If he had never gotten involved with Seol, she wouldn’t be in the hospital right now.

That pierces right through his heart and he has that look so many people have had when he had done the same to them. With a father like that, who acts like that with little no regard for a person’s feelings, no wonder Jung isn’t capable of understanding human relationships.

Jung then sits by Seol’s bed, holding her hand and tearing up. Her voice fills the narration explaining that although at first she was confused and felt unfamiliar, as she grew to know him she felt fluttery and pained for him, and realised she didn’t want to leave him alone.

Jung, subsequently, thinks he didn’t expect to grow to like someone, or how scary it would be, how frustrating. He got to think that for as long as she was by his side, that was all he’d need. He never understood why she reacted like that before, why she was weary and worried. He never fully comprehended why people hated him and looked at him like that but now he does, he gets what he did was stomping on their hearts and feelings. Finally now he understands how much it hurts, he finally does.

I think that’s really important and true, people act in certain way because they think it’s right and won’t change easily unless they understand what’s wrong, and that can’t be easy or done just with a talk. Experiencing for themselves is the most efficient way, and Jung finally gets it.

Seol opens her eyes for a bit and she thinks the same words she told him after the incident with Sang Chul, telling him not to say anything because she knows what he did, why and how he feels. He is crying now, realising that if she stays by his side she might get hurt again, while she thinks she won’t run away. In utter pain of seeing her like that and his epiphany, he wonders if it’s okay he continues holding her hand, if she is okay. She falls asleep again.

When she wakes up again her family are around, and Jun offers to go after Jung who’s been waiting outside, but there’s no trace of Jung.

In her room in the metal ward, In Ha refuses to take her medicine, eat her meals or receive her treatment, she doesn’t even want to see In Ho. The nurse tells In Ho they are worried and if they have to put her in a straitjacket to keep her alive, they will. In Ho asks her to let him speak to In Ha briefly and she does.

In Ha has locked the door so he has to speak from outside, begging her to do her part if she wants to get out and also telling her she’s not alone, he’s there and he needs her. In Ha reacts to his words, her eyes tearing up but more than that there isn’t much movement.

In his wait, Jae Woo joins In Ho and informs him Seol woke up, but In Ho doesn’t have the guts to face her after what happened, however he smiles to himself, relieved Seol is okay.

At the hospital Bo Ra and I pay Seol a visit, Ah Young and Jun are also there. We comment on how Jung hasn’t shown up or contacted them, which is disappointing. Then Jae Woo shows up, asking to talk to Seol alone. He tells her about In Ha and how she’s not doing well, not even wanting to see In Ho. He requests her to talk to Jung to help her, but at her lack of answer, he realises that’s just too much to ask and leaves.

Jung is at home, ignoring everyone’s calls and texts, just sitting there with lost eyes. He eventually looks at the ring that he takes off, recalling Seol’s words that he couldn’t take it off or lose it. He holds it tightly in his hands as his heart keeps breaking.

Seol is finally discharged and Jung hasn’t still shown up. In Ho, however, is waiting there. Her parents are a bit cold, but also sympathetic to him because he’s also been going through a lot. They leave the two alone and they go to her uncle’s to talk. In Ho apologises and Seol says she can’t forgive In Ha, however she hands him the settlement. She is doing that because she’s just so worn out and she wants to close this chapter and go back to her normal life. In Ho is still sorry but also thankful. She then mentions his concours and wishes him the best, saying she’ll go to see him and cheer on him no matter what, as she promised.

Jung has quit and has come to talk to his father, shocking him. Jung explains that since he was a kid he wanted to look good in front of him, hating that he thought Jung was weird, so he suppressed his emotions. Eventually, he grew to think that as he was someone who couldn’t be understood, then there was no reason to understand the others. He also played the victim.

Although he wanted to believe he wasn’t strange, he questions it now and for that reason he needs time off to figure out who he is. His father finally admits he just didn’t want Jung to take after him, but that’s exactly what happened. They agree they are really alike.

Jung is packing when he finds the music score he got signed for In Ho.

In Ha receives a new visitor, Jung, who comes to say he can’t forgive her and that it is the best to cut all ties, with him and his father. This can’t go on any longer. She doesn’t want to, but he walks away and she is left crying.

Outside, he runs into In Ho who is being told In Ha will be discharged tomorrow. Jung tells him In Ha still needs to go through a summary trial and she needs to accept and deal with her sentence. In Ho agrees that’s the best. He also finally apologises to Jung, saying he never understood they only brought pain to him. Despite being maybe too late, he still apologises.

Jung takes out the score he got for In Ho and finally hands it, saying how nice it would’ve been if he had done that back then. In Ho is left shocked, speechless and he recalls those time when he told Jung how he’d always treasure if he got that signature.

Finally, Jung goes to visit Seol. Her parents are so disappointed in him but still allow him to take Seol out for a bit to have a talk. Before he can say anything, she tells him it’s okay, she knows what happened to In Ha and why she did that. She admits she blamed him a bit, but then as they were apart, she realised it was an accident and tells him to continue seeing each other like before.

Jung can’t agree, wondering for how long she can accept him like that, when he’s the one who carries all the burden. He asks to break up.

Seol tears up, saying she’s fine now, he doesn’t need to do that and he explains that while she put all that hard work, he never understood why she was struggling on her own, growing tired. He realises the problem is all his and she can’t put up with it forever and if they continue together, she’ll keep doing it when it should be him.

He admits he needs to find himself first and wants to see her only when he can love her properly, and that is not yet. Just seeing her is hard for her. She wants to say more but notices he is not wearing the ring and lowers her head, accepting it is really over.

Some time later, I don’t know how much but maybe a week? Her family are in the shop, worried about her because she isn’t leaving her room, even if her body is healing so well, it is her heart aching. They comment how Jung is gone now and wish that the man for Seol is just someone who puts her under the least pain.

At that time, when they are commenting how it’d be great if In Ho came back, the devil shows up with presents for Seol’s parents, apologising once again and wishing them well, thanking them for everything. He’s about to leave but Seol’s appa tells him to stay to eat. In Ho declines at first, but when omma insists, he ends up sitting with them, smiling at that family warmth.

Jun then goes to Seol’s room to tell her, cheerfully, that In Ho came and gave thermic underwear to their parents. How tacky, he mumbles. Seol doesn’t even move as he talks about him, but when he leaves, she turns around with a thoughtful look.

In Ho is with a suitcase next to hime (just one? I’ve seen you with so many different jackets. Where did you put all those big things?) looking around his place, with a sad smile. When he walks out, Seol is waiting. It’s the day of his concours and she wishes him the best, telling him she’ll be cheering on him. They say their goodbyes and although sad, they have fond looks.

When he’s walking away, she tells him she won’t regret anything and hopes he does the same. He watches her with that conflicted smile and ends thanking her for showing him her smiling face. They finally part ways, not looking back and smiling.

He goes to his concours and he receives a call from the adorable coworker form Busan, who informs him his legal representative came already and settled everything, he won’t even have to worry about his debt or anything. He doesn’t know who did it, Yoo Jung?

He goes and it’s time to perform, when he stands there he sees Professors Shin and Professor Noh, In Ha with a stoic look and Jae Woo next to her (he brought flowers how cute!). They all clap and his eyes show how emotive and overwhelming that is, to be back on that stage.

He starts playing and the scene changes in the middle of it, going back to Seol’s family who are mentioning In Ha’s punishment. She’s received a fine of 5 million won and 200 hours of community service, which seems weak for Appa.

When Seol is in her room she receives texts form In Ha, finally apologising to her and telling her Jung is leaving that day at 3.

Jung is at the airport, waiting while Seol is in her bed, recalling their happy moments, making me all emotional. She’s ready to go out, but doesn’t move and when the time to leave comes, she starts sobbing as Jung leaves.

And three years pass by.

Seol’s been hired in the company she wanted and narrates how things are the same, she still runs into people like Young Gon, or Min Soo, even like Sang Chul. Although hard, being still a constant fight, she doesn’t get as worked up anymore.

She runs unto Jae Woo later, gleefully. He tells her things are well and In Ho made it into the music program in the university. He is late to meet In Ha and we can see they are still together and she is angry because he was late, and she missed him. They go together and Seol watches them with a fond look, congratulating them.

In Ho is playing piano, calmly, soothingly. When he finishes, In Ha stands up and requests for a more uplifting song, after all she’s the sister of the world-famous pianist Baek In Ho. He bickers a bit but complies and plays that lively song to what she ends dancing to, making Jae Woo join. It’s a lovely scene and it’s good they are in good terms and have each other now. They have solved their problems and are a small family now, which is absolutely beautiful for In Ho.

Seol is working late, checking the long list of emails she sent to Jung that have not being read, when she receives a text from Bo Ra, asking her to come by her store. She does and I’m there as well. It’s been a while and we tease each other a bit, mostly because now I’m a rising star. But I’d never leave my Bo Ra to become a diva.

Bo Ra has a present for her and won’t take a no for an answer, but Seol catches up quickly that it’s another blind date and rejects her, saying she’ll take care of her love life.

As she leaves she thinks to herself that the passion to wanting to know someone better is dying within her, and it’s leaving a bitter taste.

As she crosses the street, someone who looks like Jung walks in the opposite direction. She stops and turns around to watch that retracting figure, but then turns around and continues on her way.

She muses if she ever worked as hard to get to know someone as she did for Jung, and as she checks her mail again at home and the list that hasn’t changed, she realises that he’ll need as much time and work as her, perhaps even more.

She’s called to eat, leaving the laptop open and when she’s gone, the focus goes to that screen to show the top message of the list of unread messages changes to read.

Jung’s voice calls in a whisper, “Seol-ah…” and we are filled with flashbacks of their sweetest moments, as she ran to him and he stretched his hand for her that she took, leaving them like that. Together, suggesting that’s how they really end, holding each other again eventually.

Okay… it has ended and I can understand many might feel unsatisfied with the ending and how open it was, but let's take it by bits. I actually liked it quite a lot. First, In Ho basically reunites with In Ha, fixing their family and getting out there on their own, and the fact In Ha ended with Jae Woo was absolutely lovely, too. I was worried In Ho would end up just heart broken, but he found his path not in love, but his talent and his sister.

Seol is strong and she'll always carry on, she understands and there's a sense of hope that's always so inspiring about her.

Jung… Jung was always too big of a character for a 16-episode K-drama, and there's no way you can show the kind of development he went through to the audience, it has to be left behind, a hint of what it was. Someone like him, with such a heavy burden and probably a bordering personality disorder, needs so much time and therapy to control it. If he had just stayed with Seol it would've become toxic for both, so he really needed maybe even more than three years to find himself and get to know who Yoo Jung is. Such development isn't really appealing for an audience, not fully. Let's be honest, not many would put up with, for at least, an episode of Jung just self-discovery and therapy. But I'm really proud he understood he needed to do that alone before being with Seol, that he ultimately did the best for her if they ever wanted to be alone.

Yes, it's not the happy ending we expected, but it's one filled with hope and dreams. Just his voice calling her like the old times, and those flashbacks that hint that's what'll happen again. Don't you see? His voice from the beginning, calling her is a way to say they'll start again, they'll hold each others' hands again and get to know the new versions of themselves again. It's like a full circle and it is just too promising. I found it emotive how it was his whisper calling her, affectionately, teasingly. I absolutely loved that detail and what entitled.

If you think about it, Jung was always too much and there was no other way to show it, to make him evolve without being too psychological or heavy for the audience, after all it was a rom-com. I think that if they didn't leave the open ending, it would've been a slaughter for Yoo Jung.

I did enjoy the drama and how it ended, despite all the controversy behind the scenes, all the turns it took and how it was explained. It felt different for me and for me it was always about the characters, not just the main couple. Instead of find it disappointing in the way it was executed, I decide to focus on the hope and realism it left with me.

Well, I guess this is where we say goodbye, to the K-drama and these recaps. It was lovely to go through Cheese in the Trap together. If you need a Rebound Drama, I recommend Come Back, Mister. You can read the recaps of the first two episodes here and here.

—Eun Taek.

STATEMENT: This is a work of fiction, no infringement of copyright is intended. By adopting the point of view of one of the characters in Cheese in the Trap, I'll recap the episodes. All right belongs to the creators of the webtoon and drama.