Trolley Season 1 Episode 14 recap – how did Ji-hoon really die?

By Nathan Sartain
Published: February 7, 2023 (Last updated: February 14, 2024)
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A gripping chapter full of the unexpected.

We recap the Netflix K-Drama series Trolley Season 1 Episode 14, “Denial,” which contains spoilers.

Ahead of next week’s finale, Trolley did an exciting job of answering a lot of burning questions, as well as giving us one final sucker punch of a twist. Interestingly, it also seemed like we may well be on the cusp of Seung-hee (Ryu Hyun-kyung) getting closer with Hye-joo (Kim Hyun-joo) again.

Trolley Season 1 Episode 14 Recap

We begin with a flashback, where a few things are clarified. Firstly, that Ji-hoon had seen Joong-do arguing with Yeo-jin about their affair when he visited his house in an attempt to get Hye-joo to help the runaway Soo-bin. Then, it’s revealed that this cheating has been going on for five years, and kickstarted the troubled child’s problematic behavior (it’s also why he left the family home). Finally, we’re shown that Ji-hoon decided he’d challenge his father about exposing his adultery so the affair can cease. Just once he’d met with Jung-dae, Soo-bin’s abusive partner, first.

Once it’s made clear Soo-bin only lied to Hye-joo so she could be protected from Jung-dae, she tells the book conservator more important information. Not only did Ji-hoon’s ominous text about committing suicide have a different meaning (he actually wanted to kill Jung-dae), but he’d spoken with the pregnant youngster after meeting with Joong-do too. Thus, Soo-bin believes the assemblyman may have murdered his son, especially given he was willing to hold a press conference about the deceased’s alleged sexual assault despite knowing it was false.

Emotionally, Soo-bin admits she blackmailed Joong-do about his affair so she could have a roof over her head — which is why she was silent post-press conference — yet now wishes to have Hye-joo believe her husband is having an affair. So, at home, the book conservator brushes off the assemblyman’s attempts to have the pair go back to sleep, in favor of watching old dashcam footage to confirm that the story about this apparent cheating does have substance.

The Affair

Straight to the point, Hye-joo quizzes Joong-do about his affair, wanting to know whether this really was the reason Ji-hoon wanted to meet his father prior “that day.” The assemblyman denies this, but an opportunity to verify the truth coincidentally comes when Yeo-jin appears at the door. Here, it’s confirmed there is “something going on” with the pair, resulting in Hye-Joo banishing them both from the house.

When Woo-jae is told about Joong-do’s affair, he tells his superior they can deny anything Soo-bin says, though will need to “keep an eye” on Hye-joo. As we subsequently see, the former journalist was already well aware of the cheating and had seen Ji-hoon threaten to expose it through dashcam footage. Meanwhile, Hye-joo struggles to compose herself, breaking down at the thought of what her son could’ve witnessed.

Namgoong Sol’s Law, and getting to the bottom of Ji-hoon’s death

As Joong-do prepares to “handle” the evidently divisive Namgoong Sol’s law alone, he wonders what Soon-hong must’ve offered Jin-seok. Concurrently, Ki-young sends over evidence of his in-law’s illegal land speculation, and Yoo-sin appears hesitant to do an interview centered around the suffering she’s undergone since Seung-ho’s death.

“You two were the first family I ever had in my life,” Hye-joo says to Yeo-jin, wanting answers on how she could’ve been sleeping with Joong-do, and what must’ve been going through the restauranteur’s mind when she’d seen her. What follows is silence, then an instruction that the book conservator’s former close friend has two hours to “pack up and go.”

In trying to get his wife to still appear on TV, Joong-do has to admit he lied about Soo-bin blackmailing him over Ji-hoon’s alleged sexual assault. “I know I’ve wronged you and Ji-hoon, but it was for Namgoong Sol’s Law,” the assemblyman states, drawing the ire of Hye-joo, who now bluntly asks if her husband is “sure” he wasn’t involved in the death of his son. Of course, this accusation is outright denied.

Next, Joong-do takes Woo-jae outside, ignoring a comment about appearing on TV irrespective of his wife’s prospective no-show so he can ask his advisor whether he killed Ji-hoon. Woo-jae rebuffs the accusations, explaining that all he did was “scold” the youngster for “messing with drugs” on the banks of the Han River before offering to drive him home. Then, the former journalist says, Ji-hoon disposed of the meth but didn’t follow him into his car, and was subsequently lost.

Seung-hee’s insecurity

With Joong-do still suspecting Woo-jae is hiding something, Seung-hee pays Hye-joo a visit to find out why she hasn’t responded to her online post. But there’s more too, the daughter of Yoo-sin accuses the book conservator of “going after” Ki-young in between the expected barbs on how she killed Seung-ho, insecure that the two are having an affair. “You’ve probably never feared that your husband may leave you,” Seung-hee says when Hye-joo simply requests her former friend continues to do as she always does, and trusts her family.

“I’ve always been scared that Ki-young might leave me. I’ve wondered if I’m keeping him in this suffocating family against his will,” Seung-hee explains in a rare moment of vulnerability. Yet it’s soon back to business as usual, with the daughter of Yoo-sin expressing her desire for Hye-joo to be “miserable” like her for what she did to Seung-ho.

Trolley Season 1 Episode 14 Ending

As Joong-do watches footage showing Ji-hoon walk into the Han River himself (it’s theorized this was so he could retrieve his meth), Hye-joo listens to Yoon-seo angrily talk about how she had food poured over her and is being labeled “a greedy murderer’s daughter” at school. This, in turn, drives the book conservator into making a TV appearance to demonstrate her innocence in Seung-ho’s case.

While everyone watches Hye-joo plead her innocence on the news, Yeo-jin attempts to take her own life, and the episode ends with the shocking revelation that the restauranteur had told Woo-jae that five years ago, she was raped by Joong-do.

What did you think of the K-Drama Trolley Season 1 Episode 14? Comment below.

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