‘Trolley’ Episode 16: Recap And Ending, Explained: How Does Joong Do Repent For His Crimes?

The K-drama “Trolley” finally came to an end this week. As expected, it packed a few curveballs until the final episode. Hye Joo and Joong Do’s relationship was brought down to null, and the lives of the Nam family changed forever. The episode left some lessons on the moral high ground and stunned the audience into silence with the brutal honesty displayed by the characters. It is never easy to choose the greater good over one’s family, but Hye Joo did so nonetheless. It also goes to show that if you stay silent once, the pattern will continue. If one wants to break it, then it is only wiser to nip the problem in the bud, regardless of the immediate effects on one’s personal life. “Trolley” also portrays how the situation pans out when an individual tries to do something for society and keeps themselves second. Hye Joo’s determination to right the wrongs, despite a setback of a few years, is astonishing to see. Let’s take a look at the final episode of the series.

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Spoilers Ahead


‘Trolley’ Episode 16: Recap – How Did Joong Do Repent For His Crimes?

“Trolley” Episode 16 begins with a short monologue by Hye Joo. The scene cuts to a flashback, where Hye Joo tells her daughter Yeon Seo about the conference. Yeon Seo is, of course, scared about what it would mean for her and how it would affect her at school and socially. She resents her mother for holding the press conference. On the other hand, we see that Joong Do and Woo Jae find out about the press conference. Joong Do is crushed by the severity of the situation and is rendered speechless. Woo Jae tries to talk him out of confessing but to no avail. In a flashback, it is revealed that Ji Hoon’s death could have been prevented if Woo Jae had saved him. But Woo Jae let him drown after Ji Hoon threatened to sabotage Joong Do’s career. We also see that Assemblyman Kang holds a conference addressing the land manipulation scandal and promises to give the money to charity. When he finds out about Hye Joo’s conference, he is irked that he had to face a loss.

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Joong Do and Woo Jae stop at a supermarket when Joong Do checks his phone for messages. Most of them are critiquing messages from his peers and the public, but he finds a message from Hye Joo. In the message, she tells him that he cannot choose how he wants to repent for his sins. It is not his decision to make. After hearing Hye Joo’s voice note, Joong Do drives off to Sokcho, a place where he had promised to take Hye Joo on a honeymoon. He goes into the ocean with the intention of killing himself, but he is saved by a frantic Hye Joo, who sets out to search for him after Woo Jae informs her that Joong Do is missing. Despite Hye Joo’s anger towards Joong Do, she saves the man’s life. When the couple is out of the water, she lashes out at Joong Do for attempting to take his own life. She tells him to suffer the punishment in his life instead of doing the cowardly thing of ceasing to exist.

The chairwoman of the Daehan Party, Woo Jin Seok, also holds a press conference addressing Joong Do’s scandal. She announces that he will be removed from the party as well as the National Assembly. In a short flashback, it is revealed that Hye Joo informed Chairwoman Jin Seok of her decision to hold the press conference to reveal her husband’s scandal. Chairwoman Woo helps Hye Joo hold the press conference as well.

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Next, we also see that Assemblyman Kang’s press conference affected Seung Hee’s mom. When Ki Young tells her the news, she is visibly shaken. In the heat of the moment, she also confesses that Seung Ho was, in fact, guilty and that Hye Joo was innocent from the start. Seung Hee is shocked to learn the truth and decides to leave her mother at once. She also goes and makes an apology to Hye Joo. Ki Young goes abroad, as was his plan initially, and Seung Hee promises to join him later.

Soo Bin’s life is also getting sorted piece by piece. When she receives a bunch of hateful texts from Jung Dae, she confronts him and also tells him the truth about her baby’s parentage. She then decides not to let the matter slide and goes to a police station to file a complaint against Jung Dae. She also meets with Hye Joo and informs her that Ji Hoon truly cares for and loves Hye Joo as his mom. She also gives her a few photographs of Ji Hoon and tells her that Ji Hoon regretted causing pain to Hye Joo.

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The scene cuts to five months later, where we see the four women—Hye Joo, Yeon Seo, Yeo Jin, and Soo Bin—have started to lead a somewhat peaceful life. Soo Bin has started working with Hye Joo at her book repair workshop. Yeon Seo finally comes around to accepting her mother’s decision, and she also stands up for her mother at school when her classmates call her a rapist’s daughter. She tells her classmates that she is also her mother’s daughter; it was her mother who decided to speak out against the wrongdoings of her father. Soo Bin also receives a phone call from the police station announcing that Jung Dae was finally caught and that her bank account matter will also be resolved soon. Yeo Jin is still on medication, but she is on a path to recovery. The Namgoong Sol bill might not see the light of day owing to its history, but at least Hye Joo’s stance helped steer things in a good direction. Some people were still showing support for the bill, but there was a lot to uncover there. Sol’s grandmother is also dejected to hear about Joong Do’s truth. Finally, we see Hye Joo talking to Joong Do at the prison. She hands him an envelope with the divorce papers, but it also contains Joong Do’s kindergarten book, where he had written his dream to work for the country. Hye Joo has restored the tattered book.


‘Trolley’ Episode 16: Ending Explained – How Do Hye Joo, Yeon Seo, Yeo Jin, And Soo Bin Collect Their Lives Again?

The finale episode of “Trolley” was anything but stunning. Until the very last moment, we see that the characters have some secrets that are not fully out in the open yet. Woo Jae, for instance, turned out to be the manipulative and ruthless person the audience had initially assumed him to be. Ji Hoon’s death was not even an accident, but Woo Jae let him drown in the river only because Ji Hoon threatened to sabotage Joong Do’s career. Hye Joo’s speaking about Joong Do’s crimes stuns Joong Do into silence. The enormity of it all befalls the man, and he decides to take his own life. Even in that situation, Woo Jae shows his selfish behavior. Instead of picking the path of truth and honesty, he chooses to push things under the rug.

Hye Joo’s integrity as a woman of truth is commendable here. The sheer guts to out her husband’s misdeed, regardless of how it would affect her and her daughter, tell a lot about Hye Joo’s character. Throughout the drama, we see that Hye Joo is always the docile and ignorant one, but she chooses the path of honesty when it comes to choosing the right thing to do. Additionally, when she goes and saves Joong Do from taking his own life, it also shows that she does not wish for Joong Do’s life to end. Despite her anger toward him, she values human life. She wants him to suffer for his mistakes and wants it done the right way.

The last episode of “Trolley” was an eye-opener. It showed us the answer to the trolley dilemma. Hye Joo chose to save many over a few. It was not an easy decision to make, as anyone else would choose to save their loved ones over society, but Hye Joo made the decision for the good of society. In the long run, Hye Joo’s choice, as difficult as it is in the present, will pave the way for the greater good. In the epilogue, we already see how one woman’s stance helped and encouraged others around her. In all its glory, the K-drama “Trolley” serves as a fitting example of the trolley dilemma and also manages to paint a picture of what would happen should one choose to save many over a few.

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Nandini Iyengar
Nandini Iyengar
Nandini has grown up on a healthy diet of books, movies and shows. Hailing from a multicultural background, Nandini has tried indulging in art from different corners of India that came naturally to her. Taking the influence further, she delved into foreign languages and indulged in content from across the globe. When she is not watching anything on her laptop, she can be found daydreaming or picking her pen to write a few words of fiction.

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