Some very dark story elements come into play in this episode of "Cheese in the Trap". Surprising though it may seem, they don't actually have that much to do with Jeong, our oftentimes spooky first male lead, but rather In-ho, the second male lead who seems to be much more on the level. Director Lee Yoon-jeong appears to be making the point here that superficial appearances can be deceiving, and the point is well taken.
Given the ominous scenes of violence and perversion, it's kind of odd to go from that to pretty much any scene involving Seol, because the tone with Seol is always fairly consistently light. Even when all of this freaky stuff is going on right in the same general area that Seol is in, there's no appreciation of the relative danger and fear because why would she notice any of that stuff? Even when people get mad at Seol it's always for the most petty reasons.
And not sympathetic reasons either. We get a good look at In-ha's backstory and are exposed to more unsettling truths- like how a person can be utterly unlikable and unsympathetic and still be a victim of undeserved cruelty. Somewhat perversely, being understanding of a person in a bad situation can have negative long-term side effects. In-ha is able to rationalize some pretty lousy behavior by constantly thinking of herself as a victim.
But what's most perplexing of all about "Cheese in the Trap" is how none of these plot points are coalescing into a clear story direction. Which once again, is part of the point. College-age people like the ones we see in "Cheese in the Trap" are dealing with these situations for the first time, and frequently have very radically differing ideas as to the proper way to manage conflict resolution.
Jeong, for example, uses implicit threats to bully people he catches acting in an ethically untoward manner. The usefulness of this technique is very limited, yet at the same time, In-ho's more direct approach is equally ineffective in part because In-ho cares too much about what people think of him. And it's not like the flaws in these approaches can be solved with compromise- the issues Jeong and In-ho deal with are just too complicated. It's not possible to solve major personality flaws overnight, or possibly ever. Jeong's last word at the end is, well, it's at bare minimum the most persuasive appraisal of the situation.
Review by William Schwartz
"Cheese in the Trap" is directed by Lee Yoon-jeong, written by Go Seon-hee and Kim Nam-hee and features Park Hae-jin, Kim Go-eun, Seo Kang-joon, Lee Sung-kyung, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Ki-bang, Park Min-ji and more.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 5"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Six Flying Dragons" Episode 31
Bang-won has a bit of a hero complex. Normally when stories portray this as a bad thing, it's in t,...More
Lee Min-ho meets 4,000 Korean, Chinese, Japanese fans in first talk concert
Hallyu star Lee Min-ho met 4 thousand Korea, Chinese and Japanese fans at his first talk show ever,...More
[Interview] "SORI: Voice from the Heart" actor Lee Sung-min, "I nearly cried in one of the scenes"
"I've only come halfway". The response for "SORI: Voice from the Heart" is good. But actor Lee Su,...More
Subscribe to HanCinema Pure to remove ads from the website (not for episode and movie videos) for US$0.99 monthly or US$7.99 yearly (you can cancel anytime). The first step is to be a member, please click here : Sign up, then a subscribe button will show up.