Episode 5 of Trolley starts with us in the past, as Hye-joo shows up at the police station with blood over her hands and clothes. When an officer questions her, she turns and bolts, grabbing a coat to cover her blood and deciding to change her name to Hye-joo. It’s been 20 years since Jae-eun fled from her old life but now the past is catching up with her.
Seung-hee’s scathing words echo in her mind as Hye-joo scrambles. Calling her a murderer, our protagonist struggles to compose herself. When Soo-bin shows up at the door, Hye-joo calls her “just some kid” rather than actually revealing her ties to the family. After exchanging numbers, Seung-hee chillingly hugs her and promises to ring later.
Woo-jae encourages Joong-do to focus on his election and stay professional. After all, he needs to remember that public sentiment pits Ji-hoon and Seung-Kyu as criminals and he needs to go with that.
Meanwhile, Seung-hee looks through Hye-joo’s pictures, discovering her happy life and the book repair shop too. That happy life though is about to come crashing down, first with the whole Soo-bin situation and next when Seung-hee messages. She brings up how Hye-joo needs to atone for her sins and demands she come to Youngsan so they can continue their chat.
After a rather horrid chat with her mother, who berates Seung-hee for asking about her husband, Seung-hee waits outside for Ki-young. She promises that things will be better soon when he arrives. While her fortune seems to be turning, so too is Hye-joo’s… but for the worst. She lashes out at Hye-joo for touching her phone, getting jittery over Seung-hee’s messages. However, she does feel guilty when the girl leaves, realizing Hye-joo dropped off food for her.
Despite Woo-jae’s pleas, Joong-do shows up to Seung-kye’s wake alone. His father is livid and lashes out at Joong-do, holding him up against the wall. Joong-do points out he’s not there as an assemblyman but instead as a grieving father who lost his son. The father is eventually restrained and taken away, but Woo-jae is round the corner recording the whole incident on his phone.
There’s a really nice scene here where all our characters are lying in bed, thinking things over, and it perfectly captures the mood of being in the eye of the storm. It’s a brief segment but cutting between Ki-young and Seung-hee, over to Joong-do and Hye-joo, it works beautifully.
In the morning, Joong-do heads back to the office where he’s shown documents relating to the digital sex crime act. Joong-do wants to try and push this through, believing that his term will be coming to an end in a few months and if/when he’s out, they’ll automatically be disposed of. Joong-do is warned that the bill won’t be easy to push, especially if it’s not a major crime that’s caused public uproar.
There’s alternate power plays in place here too, namely that of Woo Jin-seok who’s pressuring Ko Ji-seop to step down. There are controversies staring to arise in the Daehan party but we don’t see too much of that, at least not this episode anyway. Hye-joo’s scrolling online (where these stories are trending) is interrupted by Seung-hee ringing. Hye-joo promises to be there so they can talk.
It turns out Seung-kye did actually upload the video of his crime before he jumped. Now that the case is closed, it’s flown under the radar but Joong-do is determined to put a stop to this, working to remove all the videos using a specialist. Given the victim’s grandmother is unaware of all this, believing justice has been done, Joong-do agrees to keep this a secret.
Hye-joo arrives in Youngsan and heads for the meet spot. On the way, more visions of what happened to Hye-joo bleed through (no pun intended). Hye-joo rejected Seung-ho out in the streets. As Hye-joo tried to leave, Seung-ho grabbed her wrist and refused to let go. The scene then cuts to outside the police station where Hye-joo happens to have blood on her, a gash on the back of her leg and blood over her hands.
Heading back to see Seung-ho, she demands an apology and tells him to stay away. With a busted lip and cuts on her knees and hands, Yoo-shin sees her injuries and shrugs it off as “boys will be boys” and sticks up for her golden child, Seung-ho. Yoo-shin tries to cover it up and offers to bribe Hye-joo, going on to promise a scholarship to Gyeongji University if she stays quiet about the assault.
After, Seung-ho confronted Hye-joo outside, calling her a “pathetic orphan”. Golden child Seung-ho is the talk of the town and there’s even a big banner up for him. Hye-joo decided to do the right thing and go to the police after all, giving a statement about the assault. As a result, Seung-ho commit suicide as it tarnished his reputation.
Seung-hee’s issues with Hye-joo stem directly from this incident, with a swift slap to the face and a scathing “you’re a murderer” severing what little ties she and Hye-joo had together. Hye-joo decided to leave, adopting a new identity and life.
When Hye-joo shows up in the present, she’s not alone. It turns out Joong-do is already there and talking to Seung-hee. Uh oh.
The Episode Review
So we finally understand what happened in the past and it’s clear now that Hye-joo is not a murderer after all. It’s this whole Joong-do situation all over again and a damning assessment of the abused and abuser. The fact that everyone takes Seung-ho’s side over Hye-joo’s is sickening, but there’s class warfare at play here. Because Joong-do is an Assemblyman, the accused is looked at as the criminal, whereas in Hye-joo’s case there’s apathy there simply because she’s an orphan.
Most of this episode is rather slow and there’s not a whole lot of plot development. The entire segment involving Soo-bin and Yeo-jin doesn’t really add anything, and likewise for Joong-do showing up at school and handing out flyers, hence why they’re not in the recap above.
Despite that, the drama is still enticing and understanding more about the past definitely helps to contextualize where the loyalties and allegiances lie for our characters.
Either way though, everything is left wide open for the rest of the series, which promises to be quite the dramatic affair – especially after that final reveal!