Cheese in the Trap: Episode 6
It’s a great episode for cuteness, and growth in understanding, and poignant character beats, and just everything, really. There are nice moments for several characters, but it’s our main couple who shines as they draw closer, start growing out of their awkwardness a bit (though I’ll always welcome a little comical flailing), and find common ground showing them just how they’re alike in relatable ways. Though not too alike, of course, since I can only handle one of them being an inscrutable enigma at a time. I don’t think he’ll ever not be mysterious, but he does inch ever so closer to scrutable territory.
SONG OF THE DAY
Acourve – “하고싶은 말” (Words I want to say) [ Download ]
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Seol finds herself in a dream-like scene, dressed up and sitting at an elegant dinner table opposite Jung. She points out that their relationship isn’t exactly in “fancy dinner date” mode right now, but Jung asks if she means to get stuck on every last issue, arguing everything without letting anything slide.
He reminds her how she misjudged him multiple times from the start, and as he lists each incident and asks why she’s especially argumentative with him, the table between them grows longer and shoves them farther apart.
He gets more worked up, saying that he’s trying very hard right now, and did everything to help her: “What are you so unhappy with?”
Seol exclaims, “I didn’t want those things!” He asks, “So, did you dislike them? Honestly, you liked it, didn’t you? You received all those things and now I’m the bad guy? How perfect do you expect me to be?”
The chandelier crashes down onto the tabletop. Jung asks, “What will you do now? Are you going to keep staying away from me?”
Seol wakes up and wonders how even in her dream, Jung just says his piece without listening.
She talks it out with Bora, who says if it were her she’d be happy to have landed such a guy (though I might note a girl who reacted like that would never grab Jung’s interest). Seol hasn’t talked to Jung in several days and explains that she doesn’t want him helping her that way, and is afraid that she might get too used to such favors. Bora asks what Seol feels, aside from what her brain thinks—does she mean to break up?
Seol haltingly writes a text telling Jung she wants to talk and asks for time tomorrow.
In-ho gets another text from his noona, flippantly demanding more money. It riles him up and he mutters angrily to himself as he passes by Seol, who asks what that’s about.
He replies that he’s in deep deliberation over when she’ll buy him dinner again, making her roll her eyes at his obsession with free dinners. He acts the long-suffering victim, saying how this must be how it feels to have debtors skip out on you, reminding her that she’d offered to buy when he’d helped her last time. So Seol offers to buy tonight, and they make plans to meet later.
Jung flips through his phone log and starts deleting messages from Seol. He hesitates for a moment before deleting the full conversation, but goes through and hits delete just as Seol’s newest text comes in. He jerks in surprise, but the message cheers him up and he’s suddenly energized to get ready and head out.
As In-ho waits for Seol, a TV program playing in the store window catches his eye. A piano professor talks glowingly about a pupil who just won a piano competition, calling him a shining pearl found in the mud. In-ho’s eyes grow teary as the teacher says that it’s an honor to have met such a student.
A flashback reveals that In-ho had studied with that teacher, who’d often chided him for not taking the piano seriously—In-ho was talented, but liked looking cool and showing off. The teacher warned that praise could be poison to a musician, adding, “You know you’re a special student to me, don’t you?
That teacher had sat at his hospital bedside some time later, in the aftermath of the fight that ruined his hand. He’d urged In-ho to go through rehab, but In-ho had lain there, staring at his ruined hand.
Now In-ho takes another look at his hand, getting drenched in the rain as he watches this new student performing brilliantly onscreen.
Running late, Seol rushes up to the store in time to see In-ho transfixed in front of that screen, wiping at his tears. He turns to see her standing there, and she hurries over to cover him with her umbrella. She doesn’t say anything, and he suggests drinks instead of dinner, leading the way.
Meanwhile, Jung arrives outside Seol’s building to wait for her return. He kneels down to observe a snail crawling on a leaf, picking it up with that childish curiosity he’d shown the last time as well, marveling at the bug.
As Seol and In-ho drink at the neighborhood bar, he asks if she “saw” earlier, and she feigns ignorance, asking, “Saw what? You getting soaked by the rain?” Aw, he knows she’s saying that for his benefit, and smiles at it.
Jung arrives in the bar and sits next to Seol, saying lightly that he’d thought of this place and came by on the off-chance she might be here. Seol cringes and thinks how it feels like she’s been caught cheating, when she’s actually the one angry at him right now. Jung keeps his tone pleasant although he reminds In-ho that he’d warned him to stay away.
The boys are bickering in no time, with Jung pointing out that In-ho ought to be working to support his sister rather than spending his time drinking, and In-ho snapping back that it’s Jung’s fault.
Seol jumps in to stop the arguing, though mention of In-ha makes her recall “that really pretty girl” from the other day, which has her wondering what her relationship is to Jung. Jung thanks Seol for texting him, and at mention of their fight, In-ho scoffs that if they’re dating, they should spend their time kissing rather than fighting (right?).
He concludes that they’re clearly ill-suited and should break up, then starts sharing stories of how many girls Jung has dated and dumped for the slightest reason, all with beautiful faces and hot bodies. Seol starts knocking back the shots.
She’s drunk pretty quickly, and asks if Jung dated In-ha too. Both boys burst out no, each offended at the thought. At In-ho’s guess that she’s never dated before, Seol slurs that she totally has, although In-ho guesses it was a church oppa (Seol: “How’d you know?”) whom she’d chased around and gotten dumped by. She protests, but I’d say he’s got her number.
The boys start sniping again, and this time Seol orders drunkenly, “Both of you, shut up!” She drops to banmal (normally she’s studious about using proper jondae speech) and calls them grade schoolers, swiping at each of their heads in turn, chiding one for being so quick to get peevish, and the other for always demanding to be bought food.
When In-ho calls her Dog Hair, she defends her hair as naturally curly, then slumps into her chair mumbling, “What am I supposed to do? Do you think that just because I’m not doing anything, I’m not curious? There are so many things I want to know.”
Jung asks what she wants to know, and both guys listen with interest… and she asks again if Jung dated In-ha. Both of them bark their denial, and then she lets her face fall onto the table with a thunk.
Jung ends up piggybacking her home, and In-ho follows, warning him to watch where he puts his hands. Then In-ho asks, “Do you really think you have no reason to feel sorry toward me?” Jung pauses for a moment, then replies with a question of his own: “What about you?”
In-ho lets it drop, saying he won’t ask anymore. Just then, a water bottle comes flying at his head, thrown by an irate younger guy who screams at the two for messing with a defenseless girl. They don’t know what he means until he yells, “Put my noona down!”
This is younger brother Hong Joon (aw, it’s Kim Hee-chan, of Twenty Again and The Producers), and he jumps in to claim his sister, who starts gagging as the three guys usher her along.
In the morning, Seol wakes up in her room with Joon nearby, who informs her that he’s left his school in the States for the time being and will stay with her a while. Seol starts beating Joon with a pillow, though she’s interrupted by an incoming text from Jung, who asks how she’s feeling.
Joon asks which is the boyfriend, The Punk or The Model Student, and hopes it’s not Model Student. She doesn’t understand why, and he informs her that she barfed on his head last night, making Seol shrivel up in mortification.
Joon laughs that he’s kidding, though she did barf in front of the door, and predicts Jung will dump her soon. She sighs in relief, then beats her brother with the pillow for messing with her, wailing in embarrassment that she’ll never touch liquor again.
Seol sees her neighbor Joo-yong packing up his belongings and is surprised to hear he’s moving out. He doesn’t tell her why, or Jung’s part in it, and just sweetly wishes her well and asks that she not mention his relationship with his boyfriend to anyone.
Seol feels the awkwardness of having last night’s drunkenness changing the dynamic with Jung, since she was angry at him previously. He suggests that she not drink so much in the future, and she asks if she made a lot of mistakes. Jung smiles and just says she was cute.
She tells him that Joo-yong is moving out, and he doesn’t show much of a reaction. She apologizes for getting angry just based on what her department boss told her, saying she’ll be understanding this time. But she asks him to promise not to do things like this in the future, and to talk to her first about things that concern her. Jung promises, and it makes her happy.
She suggests dinner and a movie, and Jung is visibly relieved, admitting he’d come prepared for her to be much angrier. But she says she’ll let him off easy this time.
In-ho becomes aware of being followed down the street, and his stalker turns out to be an old acquaintance. The guy swears he found In-ho from the academy’s ad and not because “the boss” sent him—it must be that guy who’s trying to track him down for whatever ominous reason. The friend warns that the boss will be on to him soon enough and suggests he leave the area, which means In-ho will have to move yet again. He complains that he has to leave a place every time he’s about to get attached, with a new phone number and place to live.
In-ha tries to sweet-talks an ex, angling after money, which falls flat when he clues in right away and calls her pathetic. She knows In-ho will scold her ear off when she asks for more cash, but doesn’t hesitate to call him anyway.
In-ho answers the phone with “I have no money,” then tells her he’s going to skip town soon. She asks if he’s gotten into more trouble, but he says there’s no point telling her since she won’t help solve the problem.
Jung walks Seol home after their date, telling her he had fun. He asks when she’ll be moving, and she tells him it’ll be soon, sad at the idea that a lot of things are about to end—vacation, her living on her own.
“But not us,” he says with a smile. She agrees, then pulls out a box and shyly hands it to him.
It’s a watch, and she nervously awaits his reaction, admitting it’s a bit cheaper than the one he wears. She shrinks when he doesn’t react immediately and hangs her head, thus missing his smile.
Jung seems surprised and touched at the gesture and hugs Seol close, assuring her, “I like it. Really.” He thanks her, and they stand there for a long time, holding each other.
At home, Jung proudly puts Seol’s gift on, returning the watch he was wearing to his massive collection. He does seem quite thrilled about it.
Seol is giddy the next day, wishing every day could be like yesterday, with ready conversation and no fighting. In-ho cuts into her private squeefest, calling her Naturally Curly and being his usual pesky self. She heads off in annoyance, and he wonders if he won’t get to see her anymore.
While in a convenience store aisle, Seol recognizes the voice of another shopper and is immediately alarmed, and a flashback lets us know why. The guy had harassed her for ages, convinced they were in a flirting relationship and not hearing Seol’s protests that she didn’t like him or that she’d call the cops. Stalker Boy had insisted that everyone knew she liked him, including Jung—in fact, Jung was the one who gave him the confidence to pursue Seol, encouraging him to go for it.
She hurries off trying to avoid him, only to find him waiting around the corner, all friendly smiles and glib words. He insists on a chat, dragging her away by the wrist, though she breaks free and treats him coldly, clearly afraid.
He assures her that he’s got no bad feelings and suggests they get along well, but blocks her exit when she tries to leave. He gets worked up talking about how she’s dating Jung, yelling at her to wake up since there’s no way Jung is sincere. When she shoves him away from her, he gets snide, jeering at how Jung won her over when she wouldn’t give him the time of day.
Suddenly In-ho comes flying in and kicks the guy aside, complaining that his ears will rot from listening to his drivel. The stalker takes a swing and misses, while In-ho’s return punch connects.
Stalker Boy flings a few slurs Seol’s way, insinuating she’s a hussy, and In-ho snarls that he’s pathetic—the only treatment is a beating. He winds up with his (left, ruined) fist, and as Seol protests, he slams it into the wall.
The guy threatens to sue In-ho, but Seol snaps at him to try, reminding him that he’d stalked her all last year. Stalker Boy warns that Jung will hurt her soon enough, asking why she thinks Jung would have sent him after her last year. A good question, and it lands heavily.
Seol notices In-ho’s bloody hand, and later he finds a bag of bandages and medicine left in the office for him, and hears that Seol dropped it off.
Seol tries to shake off her doubts, and decides not to make an issue of it now that she and Jung have finally gotten to a good place. She lights up to see Jung waiting outside the academy and runs to greet him happily, and he playfully messes her hair and holds her face while In-ho witnesses the sweet exchange and tells himself it’s fine.
Jung walks Seol home and comments that it’s no longer awkward to be holding hands, and she notices happily that he’s wearing the watch.
But she’s a little jumpy thinking she sees someone in the alley, and it doesn’t help when the police are in front of her building asking about the pervert on the loose. She speaks up in defense of her neighbor Joo-yong, whose description is the opposite of the taller, thinner culprit.
Her fears aren’t helped when Jung worries about the pervert still running free, and when he sees her worry, he offers to stay the night with her.
She takes him up on the offer, and hurries to clear the mess as he settles into the teeny space, both fidgeting and looking around a bit awkwardly. Still, she thinks to herself that it’s a wonder how she came to trust someone she’d been so wary of before.
To break up the awkwardness, she suggests watching TV and starts pulling it out of her closet. Jung joins her in tugging at the blankets piled on top of it… which of course leads to him tumbling on top of her on her bed. Such a familiar trope, but I’m not complaining.
They freeze as he hovers there for long moments… and then he starts to lean down… and Seol claps a hand over her mouth in a panic.
Jung leans closer, but only to whisper in her ear that they don’t have to watch TV. He gets up to straighten the blankets, and Seol suggests going to bed, which comes out wrong (…or right, depending on how you look at it) and makes her clarify that she meant sleeping. Just sleeping.
Seol buries herself in bed, while Jung takes her lead and settles down on the floor calmly. And when he notes that it’s only ten-thirty, Seol decides it’s better to do something and asks for his suggestion.
Jung asks to see her photo album, smiling at how cute she was. (I love how sensitive Seol gets miffed at innocuous remarks like “When you were a kid your eyes were really big,” furrowing her brow at that until Jung wisely changes the topic.)
He notes that she seemed close to her brother then, and Seol agrees that they’re still close but concedes that there are things she finds annoying about Joon. He always got to do what he wanted as a child, and because he was so cute and bold, their parents have always been very lenient with him.
Jung notes, “There are people like that. People who easily receive love.”
Seol figures it’s not something you can change through hard work, sharing that when she was younger, she didn’t think she was very smart so she worked very hard at things. The result would turn out well, and she kept working hard: “But because at some point that becomes a habit and gets taken for granted, even when [I] make just a small mistake, it’s like a big wrong.”
Jung says he’s like that too, explaining how his father is very warm to others, but it’s always felt like he holds Jung to more expectations. Jung felt he had to meet them: “That I have to be kind, and can’t get angry. It wasn’t forced on me. But sometimes, one corner of my chest feels suffocated.”
He says it all smilingly, but Seol takes it in, growing serious. Jung says that if he’d been her parents, he would have doted on her: “Watching you working hard—it’s really great to see.” He assures her that she’s doing a good job now.
The words echo in her mind: “You’re doing well… you’re doing well… They’re the words I really wanted to hear from someone at least once.”
Seol asks what Jung liked about her, since they weren’t friendly before—she even thought he disliked her. He agrees that he did, and she asks what changed things.
Flashback. Seol meets with her team for a class project, and while the other two bicker about who should do more of the presentation, Seol offers to do it, although it’s clear she’s already done more than her share. Jung and his friend walk by, and his friend marvels at how similar Seol and Jung are, even though Jung doesn’t see why.
On another occasion, the members of the department try to shirk their duties for an upcoming event at the bar, leaving Seol to post flyers all by herself. Jung offers to help out despite having a cold, then tells Seol to go home while he does it.
She stays anyway, and Jung tells her, “Just go. Even if you do it, nobody will appreciate it.” She replies that regardless of getting recognition, she does things on her own because it’s more comfortable for her: “Aren’t you the same way, sunbae?” That sticks with him.
So Seol posts the flyers in the pouring rain and returns to the bar, where she hears Jung coughing nearby. He’s lying down in a booth, trying to sleep while in a cold sweat.
Some time later he wakes up and finds evidence of her having tended to him. She’s sleeping across the room, and as he covers her with his jacket, her hand reaches and she clings to his index finger unconsciously.
He fades out of his flashback into the present, but when Seol prods him to tell her when he started liking her, he just laughs that he doesn’t know. “It’s a secret,” he says, then reaches out to hold her index finger.
He turns the question to her, since she disliked him too. She agrees, and recounts that despite that, he kept popping up to ask her to eat together, and helping her, and doing things for her. Even now, she admits she finds it very odd that he’s in her room.
“So how do you feel now?” he asks. “Now you don’t dislike me?”
She thinks, “Although I don’t know how it is we came to be sitting side by side, if I like this moment right now, isn’t it enough?” So she answers playfully, “It’s my secret.”
When they decide to go to sleep for real, the mood is a bit less awkward as they settle down (although Jung bonks his head hard on the desk and struggles to insist he’s fine).
Meanwhile, spurned Stalker Boy looks up Seol’s academy and sees In-ho in the ads for it. He starts typing in a message on the website, ready to take down In-ho, and also muttering about revealing Jung’s true nature.
The post accuses In-ho of attacking someone in front of the academy, and the school director has no choice but to fire him. In-ho accepts it graciously and thanks the director for everything in the meantime, figuring the timing works out.
Seol offers to talk to the director about it, feeling bad since she was the cause for the altercation, but In-ho assures her that it’s fine since he was leaving Seoul anyway. He plays it off like he just has wanderlust and can’t stay put here, and warns her to avoid Stalker Boy since he won’t be around anymore.
She’s sadder than he expected, and he teases her about crying, which seems to prevent her from actually tearing up. In-ho heads off with a casual “Take care” and sends her a wave as he leaves, without turning to look back.
Aw, it was a great episode for forward movement in the Seol-Jung relationship, with both of them taking big steps forward in baring themselves and sharing more of what makes them tick. What they actually say isn’t very much—no big speeches or extended analyses, for instance—but in their case, I feel like just getting them to a point where they feel comfortable opening up with each other shows a huge leap of faith.
Seol may have the more friendly, socially adept personality so I can see how his step forward may be the bigger one, but it’s still significant movement for her because she can be so withholding. She gives us a lot—we have a direct pipeline to her thoughts and feelings on a minute-by-minute basis—but even her closest friends have to prod her to open up (and wait, and wait, and wait until she’s ready to share). And it’s easy for her to lighten a mood or laugh something aside to avoid talking, so I really see a lot of growth and progress in her efforts to have an open and healthy relationship with Jung.
That’s no easy feat, and frankly he scared me in the last episode when he seemed almost angry at Life, and The World, when he had finally tried stepping outside his comfort zone in being honest with Seol about his scholarship maneuver, only to have her get angry anyway. Like he didn’t understand the reason for it, like he’d tried doing the thing people talk about and gotten burned by it.
So I was holding my breath to see if he’d retreat into his icy shell, taking the lesson as negative reinforcement rather than learning the right lesson—say, that you don’t do things without people’s permission just because you deem it good for them. And when he deleted his text conversations with Seol, I wondered if he was ready to give up on this relationship and wondered if this is what he does.
In-ho references him breaking up with his many girlfriends for the most trifling of reasons, and while I’d be willing to argue that none of those girlfriends were Seol (read: as awesome as) and the relationships weren’t going to last anyway, maybe it’s a sign that he gives up when things are hard. He is clearly really smitten with Seol, but he didn’t seem ready to smooth over the rift without her sending him a sign—it’s like she noted before about his way being to accept misunderstanding and not uttering a word of defense until prompted.
I love Seol, though, and am thankful that she’s more mature: When pressed to answer whether she’d break up over this, she thinks it over and talks it out. She’s still hilariously flaily and inexperienced and green in her own ways, but on the emotional maturity front, she gives me hope not just for herself or the relationship, but also for Jung himself.
They’re very similar in certain ways, but it helps that they deal with those aspects of their personality in different ways. Jung is clear-headed about what’s going on but emotionally stunted—or “suffocated,” to use his word—and his way of reacting isn’t healthy, either because he’s bottling it up inside or because he’s so detached that it threatens his ability to care about people, or, I dunno, function in society.
Seol is behind him in recognizing that about herself in words, but she’s constantly looking for ways to work on herself and improve things. It’s like they’re mirrors for each other, reflecting back the part of themselves that got missed in their blind spots.
More than anything I was really happy to see Seol so happy in this episode—and that it was Jung making her feel that way. I wasn’t concerned that she didn’t like him since it was clear enough that she did, but I worried that she’d bear the brunt of their problems and not really enjoy the dating, and it was a nice breath of fresh air to see her being giddy about seeing him, or running to meet him, or grinning unreservedly at him. I can only take him turning her insides upside-down so often before it makes turns me all upside-down too, and it’s a relief to be able to watch them growing closer and connecting and just being adorable.
- Cheese in the Trap: Episode 5
- Cheese in the Trap: Episode 4
- Cheese in the Trap: Episode 3
- Cheese in the Trap: Episode 2
- Cheese in the Trap: Episode 1
- Oh Snap! Everybody say cheese
- Fortunes of romance and fate for Cheese in the Trap
- Character posters for Cheese in the Trap’s campus crew
- First official still from tvN’s Cheese in the Trap