Law and politics often find a realistic representation on the silver screen. Cases that have or might happen in real life have been dramatized and often sensationalized to keep the viewers engaged throughout. K-dramas are no strangers to legal and crime thriller dramas. These dramas have often worked as mirrors to society and shown the ugly underbelly of the game at play. Latest series to join the list is Kim Hyun Joo and Park Hee Soon starrer drama titled, “Trolley.” It tells the story of an assemblyman’s wife and her long hidden secrets which come to light after a series of unfortunate events shakes up her family. Ryu Bo Ri, the writer of “Trolley” is known for slow burn dramas like “Do You Like Brahms? (2020)” and “Mothers (2020)”. If those dramas are anything to go by then “Trolley” will definitely leave a mark on the audience making them wonder about the drama long after the show has ended.
Episode 1: ‘Prelude’ Recap
Episode one of “Trolley” begins with a worried woman at a police station registering a complaint about her missing daughter. The woman reveals her name as Kim Hye Joo and her daughter’s name as Nam Yoon Seo. She keeps on saying that this has never happened and that her daughter is not the type of girl to run away from home. The scene cuts to the incidents that led Hye Joo to the police station. Hye Joo is running a business that restores torn and old books. She is speaking to a client about the order, but their conversation soon turns a little personal as the woman asks Hye Joo if she loves her daughter more than her son. Hye Joo hesitates but replies that she loves them both equally. Then Hye Joo goes about her day and meets a few women for lunch. The women talk about visiting a professor at the Seoul National University with their children to get in a good word with the faculty. Hye Joo is not happy about it. When on her way home, she passes by a few volunteers, and she offers help, but they decline. After exchanging a few words, she leaves, and one of the volunteers asks if Hye Joo is familiar to them. The other volunteers reply that she is an assemblyman’s wife but keeps a low profile. They also say that she donates most of her money to charities. Hye Joo simply says that her husband has a regular job when asked what he does. Apparently, her husband is an Assemblyman named Nam Joong Do. It is revealed that it is her wealth that helped him rise in his career and that she offered money on the condition that she would not make any public appearances for Joong Do.
Meanwhile, scenes of Assemblyman Nam Joong Do are shown as he is actively involved with the communities to solve their problems. He is a very promising candidate whose future in politics is likely to rise to new levels. He offers his own phone number to the masses, so they can contact him in times of need. He claims that doing so at least reassures the public that there is someone to listen to him. When a senior politician named Kang Soon Hong calls him a secretary, Nam Joong Do makes a remark that it is likely of him to think that way since when the said politician was Joong Do’s age, he was a secretary to one of the then leading assemblymen. This comment of Joong Do’s shows that despite his humble and down-to-earth approach, he is a quick witted politician who can bring people down. When Hye Joo goes to buy perilla oil from the old lady’s shop on her way home, she finds the shop closed. Next door shopkeeper woman informs Hye Joo that the old woman’s granddaughter committed suicide after a boy threatened to leak the girl’s scandalous pictures online. Hye Joo attends the girl’s funeral and also offers her condolences to the ailing grandmother.
After Hye Joo comes home, her daughter Yoon Seo comes in soon after. Yoon Seo is mad at her mother for rejecting the opportunity at SNU and goes to her room. She makes a remark that Hye Joo didn’t even attend university, which upsets Hye Joo. Yoon Seo apologizes for the remark, but Hye Joo gives her an earful. At night, Hye Joo decides to visit her daughter and finds her missing from her bed. That’s when she goes into a panic. Hye Joo is unable to find her daughter and decides to file a complaint with the police. Hye Joo’s husband and Assemblyman, Nam Joong Do, reaches the police station as soon as he hears the news. They talk to the detectives, and Hye Joo pleads for a special favor asking more task forces to join in the search for Yoon Seo. When the detectives are out searching for Yoon Seo, they come across the news that Nam Joong Do and Kim Hye Joon’s eldest child, Nam Ji Hoon, has been found dead by the river. He is dressed in a similar windbreaker to the one that Yoon Seo was wearing when Hye Joo last saw her at their home. His body was found with one gram of meth and a burner phone in his possession. Ji Hoon’s death is a mystery, and there is a strong suspicion that he was involved in illegal activities. It is also revealed that Ji Hoon had just been let out of prison 15 days prior to his death. Hye Joo picked him up from the prison and took him to a new place that they had purchased for him. They have a spat after Ji Hoon claims that Hye Joo only cares about Joong Do’s career and not Ji Hoon’s life. To this, Hye Joo replies that she wishes he would disappear instead of causing trouble for the family.
The scene cuts to the present as the police say that it could be an accident owing to the fact that Ji Hoon was getting drunk at a club hours before his untimely death. Yoon Seo comes back home and says that she only wanted to scare her parents into thinking that she had left the house. The scene jumps two weeks forward to after Ji Hoon’s funeral. A young woman shows up at the Nam house, claiming that she is pregnant with a child that belongs to Ji Hoon. A flashback shows Hye Joo cleaning Ji Hoon’s apartment and finding a cup with lipstick stains on it. She is suspicious of that lipstick stain, and that suspicion can be seen being confirmed with the arrival of this young lady.
Episode 2: ‘The Accident’ Recap
After Nam Ji Hoon’s death was publicized, his involvement in the narcotics ring was also largely spoken about in the media. The political pressure on Nam Joong Do to resign is stronger than ever. The pregnant girl’s name is revealed to be Soo Bin. She also shows the pregnancy test to Hye Joo and claims that she is five weeks pregnant. Hye Joo invites Yeo Jin over to question the girl. Soo Bin also says that she lost her phone, so she does not have any photos or texts between her and Ji Hoon to support her claim.
Joong Do himself keeps updated with Ji Hoon’s tests for narcotics and alcohol. Ji Hoon’s tests showed negative results for narcotics, but the alcohol content in his blood was acute. Joong Do is concerned when Ji Hoon pops up in a CCTV recording, connecting him to an ongoing narcotics investigation. Joong Do keeps up appearances by carrying on with meetings and strategic dinner plans. He gets unusually drunk that night. Just when he thought his troubles were over for the day, he was met with the news of Soo Bin’s pregnancy. Soo Bin makes a scene at the house, saying that she will go to the media and claim that the Assemblyman and his wife left her in the streets despite knowing that she is pregnant with their now-dead son’s child. Joong Do’s advisor tries to talk sense with her and calm everyone down. When Hye Joo shows sympathy towards Soo Bin, Joong Do claims that she could be using the situation for her benefit. She says that she trusts that the girl is not telling a lie, to which Joong Do counters by asking how she can trust the girl when Ji Hoon is not around to verify the claim? Hye Joo fires back, asking how he can trust that Yoon Seo is his daughter, to which he replies that he trusts Hye Joo and no one else. Joong Do is reluctant, but he lets Soo Bin stay. He tells Hye Joo to get Soo Bin checked for drugs. Hye Joo shows Soo Bin to Ji Hoon’s room, and the camera pans to a black phone on the bed. This shows that Soo Bin was clearly lying about having lost her phone.
The next day, when Joong Do is leaving for work, a reporter ambushes him. Hye Joo comes out and speaks hysterically, saying that they did seek special help when Yoon Seo went missing and that it was, she who urged the police for extra help. Joong Do sends her inside, but the news is already viral. Jo Gwi Soon, the old lady whose granddaughter’s funeral Hye Joo attended, sees the news. She speaks highly of Joong Do and Hye Joo after she finds that a reporter is saying malicious things about them. The video of the old lady singing praises and sobbing afterward goes viral. Joong Do comes across the said video. Nam Joong Do uses that girl’s tragedy to cover up the controversy he is surrounded by. He makes an emotional statement on national television, speaking up against digital sexual crimes. His statement is also questioned because the media claims that he could be using the girl’s suicide to cover up the investigation going on into his son’s death and suspected involvement in the narcotics industry. Nam Joong Do stands firm on his statement and wins public favor. He smartly swerves attention from his son’s investigation of digital sexual crimes. It is revealed that Joong Do and Hye Joo both attended the girl’s funeral, unbeknownst to each other. It was just a coincidence that worked out in their favor. When the police find the accused boy, Seung Kye, in the girl’s suicide case, he jumps from his room’s window and commits suicide. The shot pans closer to a notepad lying near his phone, which reads “Murderer Nam Joong Do.”
‘Trolley’ Episode 2: Ending Explained – How Does Nam Joong Do’s New Proclamation Stir Trouble?
As the wife of the assemblyman, Hye Joo has kept a low profile. She is never seen at any public events regarding her husband’s career. The public is unaware of Hye Joo’s identity as Nam Joong Do’s wife. At Ji Hoon’s funeral, the womenfolk are seen commenting on this suspicious behavior of Hye Joo. Hye Joo does not like to talk about her past or her hometown either. This leads to more questions as to what the reason could be. The life of the Nam family seems pretty normal, but the can of worms is slowly opened, starting with Yoon Seo’s disappearance and then with Ji Hoon’s death. If Ji Hoon was indeed involved in a narcotics ring, then his death could also be homicide after an exchange went wrong. Ji Hoon’s death also reveals Hye Joo and Yoon Seo’s estranged relationship with him. Being his stepmother, Hye Joo was supportive of him but had strong opinions against his behavior.
After Nam Joong Do pushes to make the laws stringent against digital sexual crime offenders, the public’s opinion against Seung Kye grew stronger by the minute. News outlets and social media platforms are flooded with hate comments against Seung Kye. He eventually commits suicide. The note found on his table that reads “Murderer Nam Joong Do” raises suspicion against the assemblyman. If Joong Do was only seeking justice for the deceased, then why did Seung Kye take his own life? Was Seung Kye perhaps falsely accused? Or perhaps the girl died for different reasons, and a digital sexual crime case was put up as a smoke screen? Seung Kye’s suicide raises a lot of such questions.
What Can We Expect From The Upcoming Episodes Of ‘Trolley’?
Nam Joong Do and his family are shown to be a regular family who have their ups and downs. But Ji Hoon’s death opens up a can of worms that could possibly destroy Nam Joong Do’s career as a politician. As the story is slowly unraveled, the viewers come across Joong Do’s brilliance as a politician to cover up his mistakes and swing public opinion in his favor. In the first episode of “Trolley,” he makes an indirect request for work at the Blue House, hinting at the extent of his ambitions as a politician. Political dramas have time and again proven how low politicians can stoop to fulfill their greed and desire. Perhaps Joong Do is like a pea in a pod who only makes a show of working for the public but is actually only focused on consolidating his power. Hye Joo’s past is a big mystery, which, when revealed, is bound to make more than just a dent in their lives and Joong Do’s career.
The two episodes leave the impression that the makers will take their sweet time to show their cards. Like a flower slowly opening its petals, “Trolley” will slowly bloom into a thrilling and nail-biting tale of family, politics, and power. One thing is promised: the blooming plant won’t be a pretty one, but rather a thorny cactus that will claw its way slowly to the root. The drama is picking up pace, and the Easter eggs are sprinkled all over the episodes to move the story along effectively.