A lot of things happen in these four episodes: good riddance to two main nuisances, breakthrough in the coupleship, the fuller picture of the bad blood between the boys, the sprouting one-sided crush. Some of these occur later than sooner, some developments more welcomed and satisfying than others, but i’m glad that we’re moving forward, because i begin to feel the plot moving sideways and frustrated by Jung’s lack of growth.
Copycat Min-soo and Stalker Young-gon have become constant source of headache for weeks now, i couldn’t be happier to bid them goodbye. While questioning Seol’s decision to confront the former first even though the latter has inconvenienced her for much longer, i could see why Min-soo is the easier target. Her copying Seol’s style isn’t that bad, it’s her delusions that get on the nerves. But she’s also gullible, which makes her easily fall into the trap. Young-gon is the tougher nut to crack. What it is that fuels his obsession with Seol remains a mystery because he has a girlfriend now and we’re under impression that he was dealt with previously and returns with the intent to take revenge. The mission to trap him also lasts longer because In-ho keeps messing Seol/Eun-taek/Bora’s plan up.
So, we should really be thankful for Jung’s behind-the-scenes manipulation, but i can’t. Objectively, it’s no easy feat to be able to steer the situations without leaving traces behind. In a different drama, his brilliance is something to write home about, but here i kept thinking how wrong his methods are, despite the favorable outcome. Besides, his cold front still unnerves me, and it bothers me when he chooses to wait for Seol to come to him instead of them meeting in the middle ground, as if refusing to change. I desperately want to like him without reservations, which is unaccomplishable unless he does something about his dark tendencies. That doesn’t mean he needs to be completely white to be thoroughly likeable, but at least i want to see him be nice to others without having ulterior motive. So far, he acts uncharacteristically friendly and accommodating to those he aims to screw.
His modus operandi is different when it comes to In-ho. They were so happy and close it’s sad to see their friendship went south over a misunderstanding. While both had a hand in the fallout, it was Jung who blew things out of proportion. In-ho knew he was a piano prodigy and let it go to his head, which isn’t not understandable given his age. Nevertheless, his arrogance and sharp-tongue were borderline intolerable, which could very well incite rancor and bring trouble with or without Jung’s interference, that i think the incident actually does a good job in humbling him down. It however caused Jung to shut himself off and have trust issues going forward.
It is never nice to overheard or discover friends talking behind your back, although i don’t count In-ho’s opinions of Jung as badmouthing. It may be because he used the word “pity” though he said it empathetically. People see what’s on the surface — Jung as rich and privileged kid — but In-ho understood him on a deeper level — Jung who can’t have dreams or do what he wants to do because his life has been roadmapped for him. And In-ho did get Jung. He prodded him to hold back less and counterattack when need be. He also could see through Jung’s pretense, that his sudden attentiveness to Dad’s other sponsored kid is his way of showing displeasure at In-ho.
We have yet to learn whether or not Jung was the one orchestrating the whole situation, and his track record makes us inclined to think so. Because he wouldn’t keep his distance for no reason… and the death-stare he directed at In-ho was downright unsettling. In-ho asked him point blank about his real feelings about the adoption and then if he’s the one behind the gang-up (he even asked for permission before punching Jung!) and when Jung returned those with “it doesn’t matter to me” and “I didn’t [do it], you did. Think carefully.” how is In-ho not hurt and assuming the worst of his buddy? Of course Jung thought In-ho betrayed him first, since statements like “i won’t tell your dad about it” and “you’re in trouble if your dad finds out” do sound as if In-ho’s been telling on him.
It wish there are still more to the event because Jung’s action is hardly justifiable. If not, i wish the boys could find ways to make up, or at least to sort out the misunderstanding. While i don’t think it’s entirely fair to hold past mistakes against Jung, he still needs to own up to and apologize for his (mis)deeds.
Just like how many complained that Seol (and the show) redeems her dad too easily, i think she is too understanding and forgiving toward Jung. Seol has always been the bigger person in the relationship. She reaches out to him, speaks her mind, changes her mindset. It’s frustrating to see her trying to understand him while Jung remains clammed up that it’s pretty much a breakthrough to have him show his raw side and be open about his pent-up emotions. Took him long enough. Hopefully that confession isn’t a one-time occurrence but the beginning of his self-discovery.
By this stage, the fact that Seol has eyes for Jung only (and vice versa) has been reaffirmed many times that i admitted to feeling ambivalent about In-ho’s late-blooming crush. I was fine and content with him being on strictly friends term with Seol until episode 9, and then 10 happens… though i couldn’t help awwing at his adorable newfound fixation. He’s such a kid! He watches her from the side. He knows he doesn’t stand a chance. Seol doesn’t turn to him for support or comfort and obviously treats him like he’s another Joon (despite calling him “oppa~” for effect in episode 11).
Still, i’m rooting for him not because he’s better or nicer but because we can see the development between them, why he falls for her and the times his thoughtfulness could touch her, which can naturally progress into something else. Similar circumstances were played out in School 2015, where the other guy is given seemingly more screen time and character growth than the leading guy, and also be there for the heroine long enough to shake her heart, to no avail. I could see it happening here too, my heart is thus ready to break for him, though i sincerely hope he won’t be reduced to pining second lead guy because he’s close to reclaiming his dream to be a professional pianist. He has also rediscovered the soul of piano playing thanks to his positive friendship with Seol that the last thing i wish to see is for him to lose his edge due to heartbreak. That would be a disservice to his otherwise refreshing character.
[them rosy cheeks 😍]
Now, i don’t read and don’t plan to read the manhwa so i am not aware which scenes follow or deviate from the source material, and it’s understandable for hardcore fans to flame changes, but please remain civil. Cheese in the Trap is a drama adaptation that should allow for some creative liberties especially since the manhwa is still ongoing. Let’s not forget that this drama is nearly fully pre-produced (they wrapped up filming within the first few weeks of the show’s premiere), so plot points like the love triangle is already worked into the script and not added in the last minute because of, say, Seo Kang-joon’s surging popularity. Which i doubt since i mostly encounter netizens panning In-ho (largely because this and that aren’t like the manhwa). Which, in turn, kinda ruin the fun to be honest.
Anyway, i’ll leave it at that. Off to watch episode 13~