Writing my final thoughts on Yoo Jung...
because for me, he is the heart of the drama. Without him, Cheese in the Trap will be just another ordinary story of boy meets girl or vice versa. Seol would not have an interesting story to tell if she has not met a sunbae like Yoo Jung.
It's been a week since the last two episode of the drama Cheese in the Trap has been aired. Much has been said about the ending and about the controversies that enveloped the drama.
The downside of reading spoilers, news and comments of the netizens is that it affected me as a viewer and sharing my thoughts was put off for awhile because they also echoed what most sites already shared. Well it is clearly written in my previous posts how I view the turning point of the drama in the latter episodes and it continue to feel that way as the ending came near. My position stays about my dissatisfaction and frustrations concerning the storyline gone off road and I think even in the last episode, the satisfaction I was anticipating when I started this drama was nowhere to be found. It is just a shame that it happened this way.
But for all my disappointment, setting aside my complaints, I had to watch the ending episode twice and gone through a third time skipping lots of scenes not involving my favorite character Yoo Jung sunbae, to fully comprehend what the writer and the director wanted to impart the viewers. Sadly, what I already discussed was what I understand the story chose to take until the very end. It left viewers like me who from the very start look beyond Yoo Jung's imperfections felt that he was the character to blame for all the miseries happening around him. And it is truly sad that the moral obligation of the story to the viewers was served one sided and half baked.
Yoo Jung is a RARE and SPECIAL character in k-dramaland. The odds of having a similar character like Yoo Jung sunbae who came from the brilliant imagination of a webtoon writer is small. Yes they may be another Yoo Jung sunbae, inspired by this drama but it will not be the same. Yoo Jung was a character that is fresh and not your ordinary male LEAD character. It is a shame that he was not explored and explained in the story. Yoo Jung for me is a gem, something or someone that needs to be polished to see the brilliance that is hiding behind the misunderstood facade. For if compared to real human beings, he is someone who is inside of most every misunderstood person.
I am not blind to his scheming and manipulating. If anyone would look again at what I already shared in my previous posts, all happened and started not because of him. Yes, his ways may be different, may be unpopular, maybe rash, harsh but if anyone would only see it from his point of view how these people around him acts without sensitivity, without care, with envy, with their own manipulations, I think we can see why Yoo Jung had to act that way.
I read somewhere a comment from a netizen about how viewers seemed to be judgmental when it comes to Yoo Jung's character but never had the same judgments when Gu Jun Pyo or F4 bullied people in BOF. Then it reminded me how we could love characters like Choi Young Do in Heirs. Some would argue these characters are totally different but they fall in the same category...misunderstood. Or maybe they are also manipulative being bullies. It is easy to fall into prejudice and partiality when the character playing misunderstood roles are already being portrayed as dark in the beginning and continue to be that way without exploring further the backstory of that character. But it is lovable or likeable when a leading character is already nice but cornered at some point in the story by devious villains and he or she goes into retribution using manipulations to trap the enemy. This is the ordinary route for a complicated story of ordinary characters.
But Yoo Jung is not ordinary. Yoo Jung is one of a kind. And I was sad that I won't be able to watch and see more beyond Yoo Jung who carries a multi layered emotions, particularly that vulnerability I saw even for a short time. Yoo Jung is the reverse of every male lead character. For every villain in a drama, we find that vulnerability, that reason why they became who they are. Then why did some viewers and the story did not gave it to Yoo Jung...that chance to be understood?
Watching the final episode not once but twice without skipping every scenes made me realized that the only ending we as viewers were given was the only options the production could have considering how the story already steered away from Seol being the person narrating it from the start which was her story to tell. Seol's thoughts were interrupted halfway through the drama when another soul searching personality was given the opportunity to tell his story through his point of view. It was no wonder I felt cheated at the final episode. Everything about Seol and her story with Yoo Jung sunbae which were the attraction at the very beginning was never concluded. The closure I have been wanting to see [not necessarily a happy ending because actually I am a fan of tragic romance stories] did not happen. It could not. There was no way the story could reverse what already was done in the last 4 or 5 episodes prior to ending.
That's why it was rushed.
But I also somehow appreciated the finale episode despite it's turn out because I think in most part it felt like Yoo Jung's closure to everyone [excluding Seol] happened. I appreciated how from grief, sadness, acceptance and finally trying to move on, Yoo Jung was able to have gone through these difficult stages and came out more stronger. He was all alone. He pondered on his own. No one was there for him and yet... he was able to make sound decisions not only for him but for everyone involved with him.
Yoo Jung amidst his loneliness and heartbreak found courage and at the same time peace within himself. To be able to talk to his father in a logical and much warmer conversation, Yoo Jung slowly showed his human side that people never understand, except for Seol. Yoo Jung visiting In Ha and telling her he won't be able to forgive her is what anyone in his shoes would have done at that same scenario. But he still faced her, and tell her to move forward, not to be tied by their past. Yoo Jung showed a bit of his compassion in that moment. He was never indifferent to In Ha. After all she used to be his friend. To tell her to move on is like wishing her well.
Lastly, that autographed booklet Yoo Jung finally gave to In Ho. There was so much behind those moments that even if the opportunity was missed, it tells how deep Yoo Jung and In Ho's connection from the past. It was shattered and they could never go back. Yoo Jung was being Yoo Jung. His facade tried to look cold and indifferent, but his regret at what could have been was very visible. In Ho apologizing in the end should have clearly define who did so much wrong between them. It was too much top ponder on the hand incident, but I want to think that finally, In Ho realized he blamed Yoo Jung too much to care and realized that Yoo Jung could not be who he thought he was all this time. But time had run out for them to bring back the old and fun memories. That signed book should have told him how Yoo Jung loved him as a friend. Maybe he was wrong. But Yoo Jung was already walking away.
Yoo Jung's closure with these people are sad but at the same time it was peaceful.
The break up was inevitable. Yoo Jung needed time and space. This is why I am not happy that he was seen as the culprit of all the bad things that happened in the story particularly Seol's accident. As if those people around him were manipulated to do bad things to others and when found out have the luxury of pointing their fingers at him without batting an eye. How can Yoo Jung in his despair be able to withstand everything without breaking inside. He became more broken as a man with Seol getting in the way and hurt. His only escape was to be apart from her. It was for her as much as for him to pick up the pieces of himself that have been badly hurt and accused of so many things by people like Sang Chul. To be treated as trash like Sang Chul, Young Gon, and the other guy who missed the opportunity to molest Seol, I really am pissed that these people had the audacity to preach Yoo Jung about moral obligation to society and to other human being. It just defeats learning the true essence of the story.
It was heartbreaking to see Seol cry in front of Yoo Jung helplessly. It was agonizing to see Yoo Jung trying to be the better man letting her go. At that moment, Yoo Jung already redeemed whatever faults he had done and accuse of. He realized on his own what to do and how to jolt out of exasperating condition. He did not think of himself but he thought of Seol. He wants her to be happier. He wants her to put herself first.
One thing is certain though in the story, Yoo Jung will come back. He told her he will after he becomes whole again. He can not offer himself any less. He has to be whole inside and out. That's why I think Yoo Jung was awesome in the final episode even if it was almost too late to show the real him. He was able to connect once again with the viewers like me. He was able to show bits of what is hidden beyond his facade.
Yoo Jung would always be my favorite character. Because he would stay unexplored, his intriguing personality will be as is. His charm would haunt me and make me want to watch again the drama if only to see him and his fascinating imperfections.
Because Yoo Jung is my favorite character, these thoughts were more focused on him. Seol and Yoo Jung's abrupt romance fades away in a melancholic way as everyone was given a fresh start. Not fair, right? I guess I have to be optimistic that 3 years later, while Seol's heart keeps on waiting and hoping, even beginning to be bitter, that last scene where the computer showed unread e-mails of Seol, one was surprisingly READ!.
Yoo Jung sunbae is back.
He may not appear again on the screens [thanks to the director and the editing team!] but that was an open-ended/hanging scene that gives off a positive vibe that I chose to believe. Yes, because i have no other choice and continuing to rant is just a waste of energy.
It was how long it took for Yoo Jung to come back.
In my mind, he was better than ever. Because he is Yoo Jung sunbae!
Below are some gif moments of the final episode and some more thoughts
That moment when Yoo Jung was rushing Seol at the hospital. I can feel his mixed emotions starting to overwhelm him. Seol was hurt badly. There was no way to turn back the clock and undo In Ha's revenge on him.
It was another incident that would conveniently be put on him.
In Ho rushing to the police station. He was as always impulsive even not knowing the truth behind the story yet.
Seeing Yoo Jung angry at In Ha, In Ho was in defense of his sister but learning who was hurt, he somehow realized what In Ha had done. But at the end, he blamed Yoo Jung. He may not say it on Yoo Jung's face but like everyone who has victim mentality, it is easier to blame Yoo Jung.
In Ho apologized to Seol's parents.
I am with Yoo Jung with how he felt towards In Ho. It was tiresome to see him around and now, with Seol hurt, it was even more unacceptable why this thing happened involving In Ha.
Blaming, pointing fingers...
In Ha revealed how In Ho was also enjoying telling on Yoo Jung since they were young to Yoo Jung's father. He was at fault too. But it was irritating how they could only see how they were used and not how they played on being used for their own comfort living off from that betrayal of trust from Yoo Jung.
The father who never care about his son but only abut money. In the end, he chose to save In Ha from being punished by the law. Getting In Ha inside a mental institution is somehow easier and favorable to her because she will get out sooner than serving a sentence due to frustrated murder. Yes, she pushed Seol in that area where Seol's safety was compromised.
The father paid for all the expenses. But I did not see any appreciation from Seol's parents. Guess knowing In Ha was a friend of Yoo Jung makes it Yoo Jung's fault... but In Ho was In Ha's sister! Hope they did not forget it.
The heart breaking scenes...
These were the finest moments of Yoo Jung in the drama despite the scenario being unfolded. His sincerity, his deep love for Seol, his regret at being perhaps a part of In Ha's actions against her, him blaming himself in the end were all saddening.
I love the narrative parts. Those thoughts of Yoo Jung and Seol are insightful of what they are to each other.
I cried watching this scenes.
Yoo Jung disappeared after Seol regained her consciousness.
I think Seol understand why he did it. It was painful for her but at the same time she knew he was suffering as well.
He weighed things...
In Ho and Seol talking...
She finally let him realized it could never be him. It was not what they talked about but it was implied in their conversation. She somehow forgave In Ha by signing on the papers that would only make In Ha do community work.
Even if it really makes me annoyed to see more of In Ho with Seol, I know they both have to have closure.
Yoo Jung and dad talking. See how Yoo Jung was at peace with his decisions to leave and be away for awhile. He now understood his father...
even if his father has yet to understand him.
Yoo Jung wrapping up loose ends..
His closure with Baek siblings were sad, I admit because I felt his sincerity towards them at some point before everything became a mess. These siblings were a part of his life and they did not treasure his presence in their life. Without realizing, In ha and In Ho never really cared to see beyond Yoo Jung's personality but rather they labelled him as strange or weir also like Yoo Jung's father.
They only care for the material things they got.
I felt In Ha regretting everything when Yoo Jung left. Somehow I want to pity her but it was too late. With In Ho, that signed boolet Yoo Jung gave him revealed how he had taken for granted the friendship they had before.
The break up...
it was definitely rushed seeing this scene but there was no other option but to appreciate every second of this painful conversation.
Regrding Seol's parents, I am not happy the way they treated Yoo Jung. They should at least have understand him and where he was coming from. They should have treated him nicely being the adult in the story. But then, they were just anyone, judging Yoo Jung. What else is new?
Until the end, the story wants In Ho to be the end game for Seol. With her parent's insinuating it, liking someone like In Ho for their daughter... well.. it did got on my nerves again!
For the sake of friendship, I was accepting of this final goodbye from Seol to In Ho. For whatever good memories they had, I guess this is a good closure for the both of them.
The story puts effort in giving fresh starts for In Ho and In Ha.
In the end, Yoo Jung made it possible for them to start again.
How I wish Seol ran out to Yoo Jung sunbae!
But her courage had left her in that cafe where they broke up. She cried knowing she had to let him go even if she does not want to.
the last of Yoo Jung sunbae's scenes.....
Three years later...
everything seems fine, except she is still waiting.
BoRa and Eun Taek have their happy ending.
Baek siblings with Jae Woo are having the time of their life.
Seol getting bitter while waiting...
but she was not giving up yet!
On the other side of where Seol is...Yoo Jung is there.
Maybe he is back.
..and so I have to be patient and thankful for this ending for my OTP.