Given all the fuss about how "Cheese in the Trap" was preproduced, I'm a little surprised that the finale manages to fall into traps generally associated with the live shooting system. Characters make major decisions in the blink of an eye, critical plot information falls out of nowhere, huge life-threatening accidents terrify half the cast, and the epilogue just sort of tapers off into mundane life with no real kick. "Cheese in the Trap" is the rare drama that manages to feel too short- I feel like we're missing at least four episodes of context here.
The story progressions are logical. Of course In-ha would have a meltdown and then refuse to even acknowledge that she was the one who lost control. But if her character journey was to mellow into someone with barely passable social skills, that arc really needed more than half an episode spent in a mental hospital. Even if In-ha's admittance was obvious legal manipulation to keep her out of jail, the woman does in fact have mental issues in need of treatment.
Although the bigger issue is obviously Jeong. I never really minded Jeong's general absence from a lot of "Cheese in the Trap" because a lot of the story lines we got instead were in their own way very compelling explorations of growing up in the modern world. Yet considering what Jeong does this episode, and how this has been influenced by the man's excessively negative self-perception...why wasn't Seol able to fix that?
I know, I know, it's the antithesis of realism to have love solve everything. In this case, though, the discussion of romantic love as an abstract concept just seems unnecessarily cynical, to the point of feeling less realistic than a fairy tale. Jeong loves both In-ho and In-ha. While Jeong isn't very good at expressing himself to them, he is good at expressing himself to Seol. So why doesn't Jeong take that as a learning experience?
"Cheese in the Trap" has always been at its strongest when it was depicting continuity. In that sense it was perhaps inevitable that the ending of the drama would be a disappointment. The best conflicts in "Cheese in the Trap" were very fuzzy and ephemeral. They should have ended sooner, but didn't because such-and-such character insisted that it was more important to be right than it was move on and do something constructive. Ironically enough, it's "Cheese in the Trap"'s own insistence on adhering to this moral regardless of context that lets the story down.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 16 Final"
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