Trap of Youth

Reviewed by: sukting

July 18, 2005

Rating: three-point-five

How long
16 episodes

A modern story like Chen Shi Mei's infidelity to his wife. This is also Korean movie queen, Shim Eun Ha's last serial till now. She has semi-retired and also hesitates picking up another serial because she finds that none can surpass this one. This serial also teaches a lesson - being unfaithful to one's lover can lead to drastic results when the person seeks revenge.

Story/Introduction on characters

1) Xu Run Ji - Shim Eun Ha

She is an orphan who grows up with her grandmother, aunt and cousin. She supports her boyfriend, Dong Yu till university. They have a daughter, Hui Ling out of wedlock, but he ditches her after graduation. He has decided to woo his late company director's daughter, Yong Zhu. He succeeds and they are engaged. Run Ji takes the news hard and tries repeated attempts to keep him.

Both actually work in the same company and thus Dong Yu forces her to resign. She refuses as she needs to support her family. This creates more trouble for him in future. The director's son, Yong Guo returns to Korea after his divorce and Run Ji becomes his secretary. He starts to get interested in her. Of course, Run Ji often takes it as a joke because he is never serious.

Run Ji's careless cousin doesn't look after Hui Ling properly and the child dies after having a fatal trip from the slide. Run Ji's mind is a total blank upon bringing her corpse home. She gives repeated calls to Dong Yu, telling him that Hui Ling is seriously ill but he doesn't turn up at all. She is grief-stricken and decides to seek revenge.

How? By accepting Yong Guo's love. But she declares to him that she has another man in her heart and needs more time. Although arrogant and short-tempered, he understands her and gives in to her. She later
confesses her past to him. He is hesitant at first but still accepts it. He even wants Run Ji to keep it from his two mothers as he knows that they will oppose to them upon knowing it.

Through her illness, she is closer to Yong Guo but is still in love with Dong Yu. However, before her engagement to Yong Guo, she realizes that she is indeed in love with Yong Guo. But she feels remorseful to Yong Zhu when Yong Zhu knows the truth. She has a happy marriage that she deserves after suffering all these years and has another daughter.

2) Cai Ling

She is Run Ji's friend and tries to help her when she can. However, she can be a nosy parker to ruin Yong Zhu's happiness. She tells her about Run Ji's involvement with Dong Yu as she is afraid that Run Ji might ruin her family's happiness when she marries Yong Guo. Little does she know that Run Ji already loves Yong Guo and she regrets not asking her first. Luckily, Yong Guo is the only one kept in the dark - if not, all of them will suffer together.

3) Ru Yong Zhu

She is a rebellious woman and I consider her a good for nothing because she doesn't work at all and only loiters around in her car. Her mother wants her to marry a better man but she chooses a poor Dong Yu, which displeases her. She also perms her hair to her displeasure. It seems that her own target in life is just to get married. Little does she realizes that her family wealth is indeed the attraction for Dong Yu.

She often arranges 4-people dates, which make Dong Yu and Run Ji very uneasy. Upon knowing Dong Yu's past, her whole world falls into pieces. She cancels the engagement and goes overseas.

4) Jiang Dong Yu - Li Zhong Yuan

An ambitious man who is too eager for success. His siblings despise him for ditching Run Ji, whom they regard as their sister-in-law. His younger brother Dong Cheng even says that he will not go far by marrying into the family. Being shameless, he can tolerate Yong Zhu's mother's sharp and sarcastic remarks just to get what he wants.

To his horror, Run Ji is going to be his sister-in-law soon. And that means that she is going to get more money than him. Besides this, he is also frightened that she will expose their affair. Unable to dissuade her, he is totally helpless. He tries to visit her family to get chased away. He is terribly upset to know that Hui Ling dies. That is a big blow to him.

When his past is exposed, he is distraught when Yong Zhu wants a breakup. He realizes that he truly loves her. But it also wakes up his dream when his father passes away suddenly. He starts to ponder whether his past actions to give his family a good life is a correct decision. He resigns and starts a company on his own. In the end, it shows him at a harbour - I presume that he still misses Yong Zhu.

5) Ru Yong Guo - Quan Guang Lie

Yong Guo loses confidence to love again after his divorce. He likes to joke with other women and slackens in his work. His uncle is displeased with him. But after meeting Run Ji changes his attitude, he works hard although his temperament hardly changes. She becomes his secretary under his insistence and proves to be his capable assistant to give him encouragement all the time. He has softened and is less demanding. He is a doting brother to his two younger sisters although he does not stay with them.

They come from a complicated background. Yong Guo stays with his first mother while his sisters stay with his natural mother no. 2. He sympathizes with his first mother because she is childless and is taking care of his senile grandmother. That is why his own mother is so displeased with him. There are many scenes of which I will describe below.

He is not suave, tall or handsome. In fact, he is only slightly taller than Shim Yun Ha. But his acting commands so much attention and keeps me glued to the set. No wonder he is one of the best Korean actors despite his plain looks.

6) Ru Yong Mei - An Yan Hong

Yong Guo and Yong Zhu adore this youngest sister. She is obedient and is also the apple in their mother's eye. She often does voluntary work and looks for a simple but stable relationship. Her mother straightens her thoughts after Yong Zhu's case and accepts her choice to marry a teacher.

7) Ru's Mother No. 1

She is the traditional and submissive woman but commands the most respect with her mild temperament. She takes good care of Yong Guo's grandmother. Even Yong Guo's uncle often consults her on family affairs instead of Mother no. 2. She is wise and also thoughtful, often telling Yong Guo to consider his own mother's feelings before setting his mind to do something he wants.

8) Ru's Mother No. 2

She is stubborn and is elegantly dressed all the time. She always gets the things she wants her way but her two elder children oppose her. I can see that she loves Yong Zhu the most - providing her the most consolation when she breaks off with Dong Yu.

9) Grandmother Xu

She is thoughtful and is worried her past will affect her. So she makes the necessary moves to protect her.

10) Aunt Xu

She treats Run Ji like her own daughter. Before Run Ji's engagement, she has trouble falling asleep as she misses her. Married women are not supposed to visit their own homes too often and she knows how strict Ru family is. She is another caring elder.

Most pitiful character

Not Run Ji, but Yong Guo's driver. He is young and inexperienced. The scenes are really great highlights of the serial. Once he is with his boss sending Run Ji home. Yong Guo scolds him for being rude as he stays in his car. So he follows his advice the second time but get scolded again because Yong Guo wants him to stand further as he has something private to tell Run Ji.

One day Run Ji falls sick and can't answer the door. The poor man has to jump over the wall to open the gate for Yong Guo because he is too short to reach it. I can't stop laughing while pitying him at the same time when watching the scenes. Who acts as him? The actor as Cheng Shui in 'All Above Eve'!

Favourite character
Yong Guo, for his persistence in love.

Most hated character
Dong Yu, for being so heartless not to see his daughter the last time. Isn't saying that she is seriously ill a reason important enough? Must they say that she is dead to make him appear?

It is a very sad song by a female singer although I have no idea at all.

Interesting scenes
Dong Yu's insistence to leave Run Ji although she kneels to beg him.

The conflicts between Yong Guo and his mother. He is adamant to get Run Ji and he knows his mother thinks lowly of her. She is angrier when Yong Guo plans to stay in his first mother's home after marriage. Run Ji tries to smoothen things out by arranging frequent meetings.

Conflicts between Yong Zhu and her mother. She wonders why this daughter doesn't heed her advice?

Run Ji is sick at home, dreaming of Hui Ling. Yong Guo is worried when she doesn't pick up her phone and rushes to her home. He carries her on his back and hugs her in his car. Later, he even gets her porridge and suggests her to have a thorough checkup. His subordinate is speechless to see the boss suddenly turning so gentle to his girlfriend. He holds her hand gently, refusing to let it go.

Dong Yu chickens out and drives away after sending Yong Zhu to the hospital because he can't face Run Ji. Later Yong Zhu asks Yong Guo who should marry first - him or her? Yong Guo says he'll leave it to the elders. Run Ji also gives the same answer because she knows that sons will get the first privilege.

Yong Guo brings Run Ji to recuperate at his bungalow. Dong Yu and Yong Zhu join them. This couple has an intimate dance. Upon seeing this, Run Ji does the same to spite back. So vengeful���

Outside the bungalow, Yong Guo warns Dong Yu to treat Yong Zhu better while he doesn't want to hear any ill rumours about Run Ji. Dong Yu tells Run Ji to give up Yong Guo. She refuses as he has no right at all. Then Run Ji returns home in Yong Guo's car in tears. Yong Guo wipes her tears off as he knows that she is troubled. He doesn't ask her anything.

To cheer Run Ji up, Yong Guo brings her to boutiques to buy her new accessories. She requests him to remove the pearl necklace in his car because she doesn't wish to scare the old. He obeys and places the
necklace in her hand tenderly.

Run Ji is confused if she can ever love Yong Guo after marriage. She asks for a breakup. This makes him furious and makes the driver take them to the park. He hugs her, saying that he needs her. Later, he holds her hand in the car, saying that he will want to make her his princess. She smiles and changes her mind.

Yong Zhu nearly has a car accident upon knowing Dong Yu's story. She screams in the car. She is disillusioned by his confession later and gets drunk. She looks very pitiful here. She is about to tell Yong Guo about the truth when he tells her that he will never allow Run Ji to vanish from his side. She then decides to keep it from him and wants Run Ji to do the same.

Yong Guo's grandmother is also another joker. She is senile and can't walk but she creates many jokes.

The meeting between Run Ji and Yong Guo's families. Run Ji's family is stunned to see the wide spread of food and the enormous car Yong Guo uses to send them home. They then discover how well-reputed the family is and feel inferior although they are in their best Korean traditional clothes.

Run Ji's elders worry the neighbours' tongues will wag to make Yong Guo know about Run Ji's past with Dong Yu. Run Ji's grandmother decides to give up her dream of having a garden so she sells the house and stay in a flat with the other members after her marriage. What a big and touching sacrifice to make!

Yong Guo gets to know that Yong Zhu leaves Korea because of Dong Yu. He is so furious with him for not keeping her back and gives him a slap. Although he is shorter than Dong Yu, he looks so threatening with his fiery eyes. Great superb acting!

Interesting facts
This was the most watched serial in 1999 with a viewership of 66%. Although it lacks young faces, the splendid acting makes up for it.

Shim was so vengeful in it and her mother begged her not to take up another similar role. She found it scary to look into her cool eyes at home. Shim was unable to detach herself from the role for months.

When Li was on the streets, many scolded him for being evil in the serial. He was quite happy that the serial turned out to be a success.

The four leads became famous after this serial, opening their doors to stage plays and also period dramas as well. Especially Quan who was in a period drama as a famous historical physician. This serial 'The great physician, Xu Jun' scored the highest viewership in 2000, even surpassing 'All About Eve'.It had a record of 65%, which none can beat so far.

This serial showed how traditional Koreans can be. Run Ji resigns after marriage although she is capable at work. What a waste of her talents. She has to hide her past too, which is understandable. But why aren't divorced men get the same treatment? It serves to teach a good lesson - money and status cannot really buy everything in the world. I can't pick on the cast's acting as they act quite well. They may not be famous or young in your eyes but they are big names in Korea. Don't miss it!

Sukting's ratings :
On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : *** (Scale of 5)

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