“CHEAT ON ME IF YOU CAN” EPISODE 16 RECAP & EXPLANATION: WE WERE ALL TRICKED
“The puzzle pieces all came together.”
Evidently, nearly everyone who has been following Cheat on Me If You Can has been tricked by screenwriter Lee Sung Min. Turns out Kang Yeo Joo (Cho Yeo Jung) isn’t so bad after all.
In episode 16 of the series, we pick up the story from apparently, Yeo Joo’s step mother Yoon Hyeong Suk’s (Jeon Soo Kyung) house. Remember, the cops decided to interview her becaue of her connection with Baek Soo Jung (Hong Soo Hyun) and she demanded Yeo Joo’s presence before she was willing to provide any information to them.
While they were at Hyeong Suk’s house, Yeo Joo entertained a conjecture about the reasoning behind Baek’s murder and concluded that it was because of her relationship with the president. According to Yeo Joo, it was a conspiracy to protect the president’s party so that Yeo Joo’s father (Choi Jung Woo) can run for presidency without the scandal of an affair interfering. But just as she finished explaining her theory, they learned that someone had turned themselves in. No one knew who though.
“Now I know what you want from me,” she said, once they realized someone had confessed. “The puzzle pieces all came together.”
Hyeong Suk scoffed but you could tell that Yeo Joo was going to get in her way. And she was right. As soon as Yeo Joo left her apartment, she told the police that whoever confessed wasn’t the real culprit.
Now, at the police station, we find her housekeeper, Ms. Yeom (Song Ok Sook). Luckily, the police didn’t believe her because Yeo Joo had already seen Ms. Yeom on Baek’s apartment footage and realized that she was trying to protect her. So, Yeo Joo pre-emptively dissuaded them from accusing her by causing dissonance.
“Doesn’t there seem to be an ulterior motive?” she asked. “She wants to be the culprit. She’ll probably refuse to see me.” Flashbacks prove her right.
In the meantime, Han Woo Sung (Go Joon) is at his office attempting to reach his wife when his partner Son Jin Ho (Jung Sang Hoon) walks in with a determined Ko Mi Rae (Yeonwoo) who is seeking Woo Sung’s legal services. She wants a divorce from her abusive husband and she’s finally ready to reveal her identity.
As Woo Sung and Jin Ho are shocked to discover she’s married and filthy rich, Mi Rae’s husband angrily walks into private detective, Gwak Jung Moon’s (Kim Min Sang) office. He tells him that he hasn’t done a good job because Mi Rae wants a divorce. Bravely, Gwak tells them off but takes a moment of pause when he’s asked to complete another task.
Woo Sung has no idea of the people he’s dealing with but as he contemplates taking on Mi Rae’s case, he gets a call from Yeo Joo asking him to attend to Ms. Yeom in the police station.
At the police station Ms. Yeom is firm that she’s the killer. When Woo Sung asks why she did it, she says “it is because of you,” explaining that she knew he had been cheating on Yeo Joo all along and suspected that Yeo Joo was the culprit. Woo Sung is shocked and goes for a drink. Could his wife actually be a murderer? Then what will she do to him?
It’s funny because Yeo Joo actually doesn’t know anything. In fact, when she goes back home after consulting with the police, she’s overwhelmed with the feeling of loss from Ms. Yeom absence. It seems strange until we see a flashback of Yeo Joo’s traumatic youth which place her at her grandparents’ home, when she’d just returned from seeking psychiatrist treatment from the panic of seeing her mother dead in front of her. During that time, Ms. Yeom was her comfort.
She was clearly shaken up so she needed Ms. Yeom’s cooking. Though, as Yeo Joo eats, reminiscing , agent Cha Soo Ho (Kim Young Dae) looks at her longingly, just as Woo Sung sees his wanting gaze directed at his wife.
But before we have time to sit with this revelation, agent Ma reports back to Yeo Joo’s father about the progress of their secret operation: operation stop Yeo Joo from revealing their criminality in her new novel. Hyeong Suk storms in distraught, because she believes that Yeo Joo will finally stop them from their goal, the Blue House. But they don’t know that police are stumped. Even though Hyeong Suk is likely the culprit, they need evidence to prove it. So, Yeo Joo offers to get the evidence if they allow her to see Ms. Yeom. While they plan, Yeo Joo’s father scrambles with an angry agent Ma, who is unwilling but yet forced to comply, with more unethical orders that made him lose face. But this time, Yeo Joo’s father is willing to do everything to stop her, especially if they can’t get her book.
As she’s remained throughout Cheat on Me If You Can, Yeo Joo is always one step ahead of her foes. When Yeo Joo finally sees Ms. Yeom, she reassures her that she isn’t the killer and finds out the location of the knife. Yeom was clever, she hid the knife in a plastic bag inside the hood of a toilet, preserving the evidence. So, the police got the finger prints needed to build a case against Hyeong Suk and finally arrested her.
This part of Cheat on Me If You Can was quite lacklustre because of how simple and predictable it all felt. Hyeong Suk acted like a crazy villain, telling Yeo Joo that she would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for these meddling kids (she even had an evil laugh too lol), and Yeo Joo said she wasn’t done. Now her next target was her father.
Somehow though, she still didn’t understand why everyone thought she was the culprit. Before Ms. Yeom could tell her the truth about her marriage, she drove home to write and reflect on all the hints Baek gave. (That woman was busy, somehow working and also managing two affairs.)
At home, Cha Soo Ho comes to Yeo Joo’s side as she contemplates what should happen in her novel. Should the actress in her story succeed in seducing her lawyer? He tells her no, but she says yes, that’s what her audience demands. And for a moment, it makes you wonder, if she really saw the security footage from Baek’s apartment, what more proof does she need? Is she playing dumb or is she actually ignorant of her husband’s infidelity?
Either way, we never get to know for sure because she moves on from the subject and offers to teach Soo Ho how to write a novel in exchange for a favour.
On the other hand, Woo Sung discusses what he should do in the event that Yeo Joo knows the truth. Jin Ho convinces him that she will hurt him but Sung’s not so sure. That’s until he sees Soo Ho’s jacket in a car while walking home and he just so happens to walk underneath a falling sign which he misses in the knick of time.
The police can’t do anything because there’s no footage but he thought he saw the shadow of a person. It makes him wonder: Who else would want to kill him but his wife? Suddenly, everyone’s suggestive hints make Yeo Joo look guilty.
Of course, Yeo Joo is unaware of his internal conflict. Yet again, she’s busy with her book. She printed a copy of a novel and told Soo Ho to hand it over to agent Ma, her publisher.
When Ma hands the novel to Yeo Joo’s father, they feel relieved for a moment until they realized they’d been dupped. The real version of Cheat on Me If You Can is already on shelves so, all their efforts were for nothing. It should have been obvious since Ma said the copy he received was all over the place but whatever.
Still, Ma’s flashback show us his failures. He couldn’t get the knife and also, his fake office wasn’t realistic. In the end, even agent Ma is impressed with Yeo Joo’s perceptiveness which she details his failures on page 82 of her book.
“That’s when she knew,” he said, adding, “I’m so done with her.”
And he’s right. The scandal ruins her father and goes viral while a relaxed Yeo Joo finally confesses how she knew Soo Ho was an NIS agent (it was the egg thing).
Still, Cheat on Me If You Can isn’t over. There’s more! Mi Rae gets her abusive husband imprisoned for his drug dealing habit and threatens him against pursuing her again. But she couldn’t stop all his plans.
While Woo Sung, is busy suspecting his wife of trying to kill him (naturally because of the sign incident and the life insurance policy she bought), he’s in danger. After his drink with Jin Ho, he’s so drunk, he’s easily kidnapped at the request of Mi Rae’s husband. Since of course, Woo Sung doesn’t know this, when he sees Soo Ho at the scene of his capture, he starts to suspect that Yeo Joo was behind it all. So, when he wakes up in his bed the next day, armed with flashbacks of the event, (with one detailing how he hired people to complete an unknown task for him that involves his wife), he is convinced that Yeo Joo is after him. At breakfast, he finally confront her, only to learn that she knew he was in danger so, she asked Soo Ho for his help.
At this point in Cheat on Me If You Can, you have to believe that Woo Sung is so shameful of himself, he’s convinced that Yeo Joo is just as bad or worse to make himself feel better about his betrayal. Also, Yeo Joo must really love him because she really does not want to believe he would cheat. Her position only changes when Gwak confirms her husband’s betrayal and warns her that he hired people to kill her. Then, she’s out for his blood.
Cheat on Me If You Can is fantastic, the continuous slow panning technique used for scenes that include Yeo Joo, have the affect of drawing the audience in to see what she will do or say next. Actually, the entire idea behind the series is intriguing. Writer Lee Sung Min and director Kim Hyoung Seok are able to maintain suspense throughout the show because they remove the context from every part of the story and only leave traces of the truth, until the very end. We all think Yeo Joo is obsessive about her husband until we realize she tracks him in order to keep him safe, just in case her father chooses to harm him to get to her. Her cold disposition is suspicious until we learn that it’s because she was traumatized at a young age and endeavoured to avenge her dead mother who was likely killed by her step mother, and so on and so on. Even Yeo Joo’s hobbies and commitment to good writing are put into question, so much so, we question her character while the real insidious personalities in the show build a connection to the audience by virtue of their continued presence (namely Woo Sung, agent Ma, and even Mi Rae). If we’ve learned anything from this show, it’s the reminder to not jump into conclusions early.