Hye-Joo’s past in Trolley explained

Hye-Joo remains one of the most integral parts of the Kdrama ‘Trolley’, with her trials and tribulations up until now forming most of the base for all the storms that are to come.

Hye-Joo is an ideal wife, as ideal as they can be. Well, perhaps not through the lens of those who bear some expectations of political assistance from her.

Her husband Nam Joong-Do is an Assemblyman, seemingly a person with the same kind of integrity as his wife. However, while other politicians have their wives by their side when the campaigns come around, Hye-Joo is not keen on appearances, at all.

That was her one condition prior to marrying Joong-Do, and viewers initially think of this extremely camera-shy and reserved aspect of Hye-Joo’s personality to be tied to her habits and her qualities in general.

It’s apparent in the first few episodes of ‘Trolley’ that Hye-Joo is not one for reveling in any praise for all the social good that she does. It’s natural then, to assume that her selfless and sincere persona is the reason she doesn’t want to be involved in her husband’s politics.

However, as the story moves forward, a whole new shocker has been dealt to the viewers, a shocker that reveals one other, and perhaps the biggest reason she shies away from politics and keeps appearances up.

A troubled past

Hye-Joo’s past is riddled with trauma and grim experiences. It was never easy for her growing up as an orphan, and the events and people she’d fall victim to later on in life would only add to her hardships.

She grew up in Youngsan and would go on to become quite a decent student at the local school. Seung-Hee was one of her best friends, and her brother, Seung-Ho, was someone who took a liking to Hye-Joo.

However, his liking was more than just that, crossing the boundary of what’s decent and what’s moral. In episode 6, Seung-Hee is shown cheekily asking Kim Jae-Eun (Hye-Joo’s original name) what she thinks about her brother.

Hye-Joo is visibly upset at the question and stops Seung-Hee from entertaining the same. In the previous episode, Hye-Joo’s encounter with Seung-Ho that preceded the horrible incident was revealed.

During this encounter, her response to Seung-Ho’s approach pretty clearly indicates that this is not the first time he approached her with romantic feelings and got rejected. It was something he had been persistent about it.

The traumatic incident

This persistence would ultimately fester to the point where his obsession inflicts the greatest pain and trauma upon her.

After Hye-Joo rejects his advances and tells him to stop pestering her, Seung-Ho forces himself upon her; in spite of her struggles, he sexually assaults her.

The physical struggles leave her with torn-up clothes and bruises, cuts, and bleeds. In her ravaged condition, her trauma is only piled on by Seung-Ho’s mother Lee Yoo-Sin.

The affluent woman tries to shush Hye-Joo by offering to get her a scholarship at Gyeongju University since she can’t get one without no parents.

The poor victim is left with no choice but to agree to turn silent and repress her trauma in the face of Yoo-Sin’s stature and her own future (and education).

Kim Hye-Joo trolley
Jae-Eun/Hye-Joo at Lee Yoo-Sin’s home after the incident (Image Source: Netflix)

However, she breaks her silence when Seung-Ho becomes audacious enough to shame her, ridiculing her for creating a hullabaloo only because it was all about his mother’s money.

Hye-Joo finally musters up the courage and reports the crime to the police. Later on, due to the embarrassment and his cowardice to face any of it, Seung-Ho hangs himself and commits suicide.

Lee Yoo-Sin, and later on her fabricated account of what happened (and one that accused Hye-Joo of falsely reporting her son for extortion), Seung-Hee becomes convinced that her best friend killed Seung-Ho.

An encounter with the past

Following the traumatic series of incidents, Kim Jae-Eun leaves Youngsan and carves a new identity for herself, changing her name to Kim Hye-Joo.

Later on, she would go on to meet Nam Joong-Do, who she’d marry and have a daughter named Soo-Bin with. Years later, her step-son Ji-Hoon would die and then a number of hiccups in Joong-Do’s political career would bring Hye-Joo’s name and face up on the internet.

This would lead to Seung-Hee spotting her and arriving at her door, and still believing her to be Seung-Ho’s killer, she harasses her once best friend and demands she apologizes for her crime and grovels at Lee Yoo-Sin’s feet.

Also Read: Trolley season 1 episode 6 recap & review: Pain

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