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Pinocchio: Episode 1

SBS’s new Wednesday-Thursday drama Pinocchio—the latest project from the writer-director team behind I Hear Your Voice—premiered today, and in keeping with their style, the show is sweet and light with a touch of idealism and heartbreak. I’ve always liked this writer’s very earnest approach, even if it’s not the most complex, and I especially enjoy when she uses an element of fantasy (hearing voices, for instance, or in this case—hiccupping when you lie) to magnify the themes. Here, it’s truth vs. lies, and how media distorts both sides, leaving you to wonder if the truth even matters anymore.

The first episode focuses mostly on the backstory that brings our characters together, but I already really like the glimpses we get of them in the present day. I think we’re in for a refreshing character for Park Shin-hye (thank ye, drama gods), and Lee Jong-seok gets a solid backstory that sets us up for the central conflict to come.

 
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EPISODE 1: “Pinocchio”

The date is October 8, 2005, and a small-town high school is aflutter with the news that their smartest student has made it to the second round of a TV quiz show program (cameo by MC Im Sung-hoon, who was a quiz show host at the time).

The whole class gathers to watch their classmate on TV, and the show introduces his next challenger… CHOI DAL-PO (Lee Jong-seok), he of the shaggy hair, finger guns, and 34th-place ranking. His intro montage is a sight to behold, and every single jaw in the classroom drops.

No one is more shocked than his classmate CHOI IN-HA (Park Shin-hye), who scoffs in amazement that Dal-po looks like a total country bumpkin, but seems to be unaware that he should be embarrassed.

Dal-po takes his place onstage and feels the need to point out that his entire school has 34 students, which technically makes him last place. He’s known as All Bbang, as in all zeroes, because those are his grades. At the monitors, the PD turns to his staff like they’re crazy people for bringing this kid here.

The first question is about a condition named after a fairytale character that causes someone to show physical signs when they’re lying—in this case, the hiccups. (The show points out that the specific condition is made up. We just accept it as a truth in this universe.)

Dal-po remains silent, then says he wants to use his ask-a-friend chance. He suddenly turns to his classmate, the champion, and says that if he destroys him here, he wants to hit him ten times; if he loses, he’ll take the hits. Ha, this is what he’s using his chance card for? With the bet in place, Dal-po uses his remaining time to address the camera: “Choi In-ha! If I become the champion here…” Dramatic music builds, and then he runs out of time. What were you going to say?

Dal-po has no problem answering the question, since he’s known all along: “Pinocchio.” He waves at first place with a smile on his face, all C’mere so I can crush you. The MC asks if he’s ever met anyone with Pinocchio syndrome before, and says that many people with the condition become afraid of people and spare their words because they can’t lie.

But Dal-po says the Pinocchio he knows is the total opposite—she talks a lot, and because she says whatever she wants, her nickname is Blunt Witch. Everyone in class looks over at In-ha, and she declares that he isn’t talking about her… and then hiccups. Hee.

The next quiz question is about what year it is in the sexagenary cycle, and Dal-po flashes back to October 7, 2000, when Dad (Jung In-ki) used to quiz him about that very thing. (Dal-po’s name back then is Ki Ha-myung, but I’m just going to keep calling him Dal-po.)

He and his hyung think the calculations are easy, and Dad leaps to his feet to take rice cakes to all their new neighbors, dragging his two genius sons around and making them do calculations in their heads like a traveling party trick.

It’s cute that both brothers hate it but always come through for Dad, and he even rouses them from sleep one night to do a calculation, promising to take them to the fireworks show. They shoot up out of bed immediately and shout the answer.

Dad is a firefighter and the captain of his unit, and brags about his sons proudly to his team. That night, an emergency call sends the unit out, and they arrive at a factory that’s already ablaze. The manager comes running out and tells the firefighters that two of his employees are still trapped inside, and Dad draws out a plan for them to begin the search.

The firefighters split up, and Dad takes the toughest door to get open, which happens to house chemicals. The worst part is, the plant manager turns around to find his two employees safe and sound outside—they’re the ones who accidentally started the fire trying to cook a snack, and ran out unnoticed. But the manager sent ALL of those firefighters inside to look for them…

But inside, Dad doesn’t know any of this, and the chemicals on the other side of the door have caught fire. When he finally gets it pried open, all we see is the horrified look on his face, and the explosion reflected in his eyes. Gaaaack. The blast engulfs the entire factory in flames.

By morning, the fire has been put out, and the site is swarming with reporters. Dal-po and his family stand behind the police line, screaming for Dad and desperate for answers about the nine deceased firefighters.

We get the report from a few competing news stations, but the two we’re concerned with are YGN, where our current quiz show PD HWANG GYO-DONG (Lee Pil-mo) is the field reporter, and MSC, where the ace reporter is SONG CHA-OK (Jin Kyung).

We learn that Cha-ok is cold and calculating right off the bat—she wears a mask while reporting to “add realism,” and then takes a call from her husband about where he left the divorce papers by replying loudly that a witness was spotted nearby. It’s a tactic, of course, to send her competitors off on a wild goose chase while they get the scoop from victims’ families.

Meanwhile, the factory manager lies through his teeth at the police station, and insists that he told the firefighter captain that there was no one left inside the building, but he stormed in anyway. He then tells his employees to keep their mouths shut, and they’ll be fine as long as the captain is dead. One of them worries that he could still turn up alive since he’s missing, but the manager guesses they can’t find the body because he was blown up in the blast. Lightning strikes and the sky turns dark as they make their pact.

As the rain comes down, one of the family’s neighbors—a young man with Pinocchio syndrome—thinks he sees Dad running down the street. He tells his mother that he just saw the firefighter captain alive, even though we see that it’s not Dad.

The news hits the family at the worst possible moment—when they’re with the other victims’ families, who are crying over their lost sons and husbands. Young Dal-po is naturally relieved to hear the announcement that Dad was seen alive, but the victims turn to the family and demand answers: Why did Dad drag the others inside when there weren’t any survivors to be rescued? How could he be alive when the others have died?

It’s brutal the way Dal-po’s family immediately becomes the guilty party, and Hyung balls his hand into a fist to see Mom (Jang Young-nam) apologizing profusely that her husband survived alone. He leads Mom and Dal-po out, while the victims’ families claw at them for answers.

A few days later, their house is swarming with reporters, and the boys get flanked on their way out to school with questions about why their father hasn’t come forward—is he in hiding, and does that mean he’s guilty? YGN’s Gyo-dong and MSC’s Cha-ok are among them, and Cha-ok is especially relentless, as she asks little Dal-po if he’s happy that his father is alive. Are you actually trying to make a little boy sound like he’s dancing on the grave of the other firefighters? Damn, you’re cold.

But Dal-po just shout back the names of the deceased firefighters, along with their birthdays, their allergies, their family situations, what girl groups they like, and the way they take their coffee. He says he’s memorized them all, because these facts are posted all over their house in every room. Tears stream down his face as he screams, “I can recite them all, just like my father! You say he abandoned his men and hid? He’s not someone who would ever do that!”

It’s a powerful moment, and everyone is moved by the speech—everyone, that is, except Cha-ok, who remains emotionless and dogged in her questions. Hyung argues that they’re just rumors (that Dad is still alive), and someone from the crowd throws an egg at Dal-po. Hyung flares up and yells at them to stop filming, and Dal-po looks up at Cha-ok with anger and hurt in his eyes.

At MSC, Cha-ok’s team wants to cut out the hyung’s rant, but she wants to keep it all in. She argues that they can just pixelate his face, as if that would do anything to hide his identity. Over at YGN, Gyo-dong tries to convince his boss that they should put the footage out too—that’s what MSC is doing.

But the boss says that’s why they get called MSG, because they’re inflammatory and bad for your health. Gyo-dong argues that YGN gets called organic news, and his boss counters that that’s a compliment. Gyo-dong doesn’t think so, since no one cares about health when the food tastes bad and you have no customers: “News that no one watches isn’t news!” Sadly, it’s a valid point.

We intercut between the two teams’ arguments, as both Cha-ok and Gyo-dong try to argue for airing the footage of the boys. Their argument is that Dad is almost certainly alive and therefore guilty, but Gyo-dong’s boss at YGN just counters that if he’s 99% sure that he’s alive, it means he’s acknowledging that he’s 1% shy of it being fact.

Cha-ok tells her team that impact is more important than facts, and the nine victims’ families need a place to put the blame. So you’re just going to deliver two teenage boys on a silver platter for them to throw stones at? That’s exactly what she does, as she reports the story with the assumption that Dad is alive, and in hiding because he’s guilty.

Things get worse for the family in the ensuing days, and Dal-po tells Hyung that Mom couldn’t buy anything at the local market again, because no one would sell to her. Hyung regularly cleans up eggs and rocks thrown at their house, but keeps a brave face for his little brother.

Dal-po asks hesitantly what if it’s all true, the things they’re saying about Dad. Hyung promises that Dad will return and reveal the truth, and they’ll go to the fireworks show together just like he promised. He pinky-swears the same way Dad used to do, and Dal-po asks again to be sure that Hyung isn’t lying to him.

Some days later, Dal-po is convinced that Hyung lied, because he hasn’t been home for days. He thinks Hyung ran away, when in truth he’s been camped out outside MSC to demand a meeting with reporter Cha-ok.

Mom tamps down her tears and offers to take Dal-po to the fireworks show, so they go just the two of them. Dal-po watches the show excitedly, but Mom only stares down at the water with a faraway look in her eye. Oh no.

Hyung sees the fireworks from the station, and looks down at the firefighter’s award in his hand, thinking of Dad. Cha-ok finally comes out to meet him, and he says he’s here because he wants to give an interview. So she takes him inside the studio and he gives a statement on camera, which we don’t get to hear.

Mom buys Dal-po little fireworks of his own, and takes him to the ocean that night. He lights them happily, not aware that anything is wrong. After a little while, Mom turns to him and says shakily, “Let’s go meet your father…” The next thing we know, the only things that remain on the cliff are a suicide note, a sneaker, and the fireworks.

By morning the cliff is lined with cops and reporters, and Hyung runs to the scene in a daze. He picks up his little brother’s shoe and Mom’s suicide note in tears, and his blood boils to see the reporters buzzing like flies, hungry to suck more sensational news out of his family’s tragedy.

He flips his lid and just attacks anyone holding a camera. And even through that, Cha-ok tells her team to keep filming. He lurches at her screaming at the top of his lungs, and for the first time, she looks a little disturbed.

Five months later. March, 2001

Little In-ha gets prodded by her father (Shin Jung-geun) to answer his question truthfully. She doesn’t want to, but she complies and says she regrets living with Dad after the divorce, because if she had lived with Mom, maybe she wouldn’t have to move to this stupid island in the middle of nowhere to live with Grandpa, who has Alzheimer’s.

Dad scowls and walks away from her, and she just sighs that she said she didn’t want to answer. She tells herself it’ll be okay—she won’t develop a country accent, and life on the island won’t be so bad—but hiccups nonstop.

She pouts all the way to Grandpa’s rustic country home, and Grandpa (Byun Hee-bong) greets them eagerly, surprising them by seeming pretty sharp. But the first sign of his dementia shows when he looks up at the clock and says it’s time for Dad’s hyung to come home, and Dad looks over at him quizzically: “You mean, Dal-po hyung?”

Grandpa lights up and says he’s here, and down the road, we see little Ha-myung/Dal-po alive and well. He runs up to Grandpa and gives him a big hug, calling him father. Grandpa introduces Dad and In-ha as his little brother and niece, and insists that Dal-po should call Dad by his name, Dal-pyung. LOL.

Dad and In-ha just stand there agape, as Dal-po does as told without so much as an ounce of hesitation. He uses banmal with Dad like he’s really his hyung, and pats In-ha on the head and calls her cute, even though he has to stand on his tiptoes to do so.

Inside, Grandpa explains that he went out on a boat one night and rescued Dal-po, and Dad reminds him that Hyung died thirty years ago. Grandpa knows, but believes that he’s been returned to them alive. Dad and In-ha set him right against Dal-po’s protests, and suddenly Grandpa remembers the truth and collapses.

Dal-po runs out to take care of him, and tells Dad that Grandpa doesn’t have Alzheimer’s—the doctor said it’s a trauma-related condition and his memory is stuck, and any time he tries to reconcile past and present, it’s too taxing for him and he collapses. Dad argues that they can’t have some stranger pretending to be Grandpa’s son just to keep him from collapsing, and Dal-po asks why not: “I need a father, and he needs a son.”

In fact, Grandpa already adopted him as his firstborn, with the help of the town’s mayor. Dal-po says he has no other family and Grandpa will only keep collapsing like this, “So what’s wrong with a little lie?!” Aw, from the boy who used to believe so firmly in his father’s word, it’s a little heartbreaking. Dal-po asks to play the part of his son just until Grandpa gets better, and asks to be allowed to stay.

By dinnertime, Grandpa is awake and feeling better, and Dal-po uses the numbered quadrant system he’s drawn on Grandpa’s jacket to scratch his back. They’re so sweet together, and we see Dad’s heart softening. He asks In-ha if she can call that kid uncle, and she asks how she’s supposed to do that when he’s so little. Dad counters that he’d have to call him hyung. Ha, I agree—that’s worse.

He wonders if she can manage to say it without hiccupping, and she says she can since legally, he’s her uncle. They agree to play along for now, believing that Grandpa will get better in no time, and then they can send Dal-po to an orphanage.

Dad catches In-ha looking longingly at the TV, and he snaps at her that the TV doesn’t work here, so she can just put the idea out of her head to see Mom that way. She scowls and stalks off without eating, and lies that she isn’t hungry.

As Dal-po sits in front of the fire that night, he thinks back to that night on the cliff, when Mom said that she knew where Dad was and that they’d go to him. He characteristically asked if it was a lie, and she swore it wasn’t. He sheds a tear in the present, calling her a liar, then adds that he’s no different from her now.

In-ha comes by smelling the sweet potatoes that he’s cooking, and tells him that she’ll call him Uncle in front of Grandpa, but elsewhere his name will be Hey You. She calls him a shark sucker, describing a parasite that feeds off of others, but then he has fun catching her in the lie that she isn’t hungry and points out that she’s the one eating other people’s food.

She sighs and admits that he’s right, which surprises him. But she says she has Pinocchio syndrome, and that no matter how much it annoys her that he’s right, she can’t lie. She catches him staring at her and asks blatantly if he thinks she’s pretty, and he answers just as bluntly that she is.

She flips her pigtails and says she takes after her pretty mom, who’s on TV all the time. She misses her like crazy and wants nothing more than to be able to see Mom on TV, but it’s broken and there’s no way Dad will fix it.

The next morning, Dal-po grabs the wire hangers off the clothesline and gets to work building a new antenna, and climbs onto the roof to install it. It’s adorably in the shape of a little girl with pigtails, and he feels satisfied that he got to do something nice for In-ha.

In-ha is currently sending a secret text message to Mom on Dad’s cell phone while he’s out (about how she hates the island but thinks she’s found someone to grow attached to), and Dal-po comes riding up with the news that he fixed the TV for her. She lights up and he offers to give her a ride on the buggy cart attached to the bike, only he can’t move an inch—she is taller than he is, after all.

He tries to play it cool by suggesting a nice walk instead, and she laughs. As they walk home, she asks if he takes after his mother or father, and he says Dad. She wonders what kind of person his father was, and guesses that he wasn’t particularly handsome, but that he liked to help others and brag about it, and that he was a good person.

Dal-po is taken aback when she doesn’t hiccup afterwards, and stands on his tiptoes to give her a sudden kiss on the cheek. He says that for the last six months, he’s lived only telling lies, because that was what was best for him and Grandpa. “But the truth is ten times more comforting than a lie, like the thing you just said.”

They get home and turn the TV on, and In-ha is on pins and needles in anticipation of seeing Mom. She reminds Dal-po not to say anything about this to Dad, since he’d come in here and bust the TV if he knew—he hates talking about her, and doesn’t even let In-ha call her.

She sees Mom come up in the next news segment and clasps her hands together dreamily, and Dal-po turns to look at the TV. His face freezes to see none other than reporter Song Cha-ok, the heartless woman who turned his family into pariahs for ratings. His traumatic past flashes across his eyes, and he walks out as In-ha hugs the TV, just happy to catch a glimpse of her mother.

As the quiz show MC narrates in voiceover that sometimes the world seems truly small, Dal-po heads out and looks up at the TV antenna he fixed. When Dad comes back and asks where In-ha is, Dal-po says that she’s inside watching the news, and that she called her mother too.

Dad storms into the room and starts breaking the TV, and In-ha cries for him to stop. She runs out to Dal-po, calling him Uncle, and pleads with him to stop Dad. But he coldly shoves her away and asks why he should.

The quiz show MC continues, saying that some people call this fate, whether or not the connection is for better or worse…

We fade back into the present, as the MC describes this phenomenon as six degrees of separation, and asks Dal-po his last quiz question to win this round: What is the name of the American actor whose name is associated with this concept? He flashes his opponent a smile and answers: “Kevin Bacon.”

In-ha is happy that he won, while her deskmate huffs that he’s just been lucky this round. In-ha catches on that her friend has a crush on the first-place boy in their class and calls her out on it, so the girl just turns it around and asks if In-ha likes Dal-po.

She reminds them that he’s her uncle, but everyone knows they’re not blood-related, and the girl presses her to answer how she feels about him, as a man. In-ha says she doesn’t like him, and everyone waits for the hiccups… but they don’t come. She seems relieved.

Elsewhere, Hyung—full name KI JAE-MYUNG (Yoon Kyun-sang)—has grown up, and delivers water as a part-time job. He walks past a row of TVs in an appliance store and stops in front of the one broadcasting Dal-po’s face. He turns around and approaches slowly…

Dal-po looks into the camera, as if looking back at Hyung. But when we cut back to Hyung, we see that the TV that’s caught his attention isn’t the one playing Dal-po’s quiz show, but MSC news with reporter Cha-ok. His eyes fill with bitterness, as he stands between the two TVs, fixated on Cha-ok and completely missing his little brother who’s inches away, seemingly looking up at him.

The next round of the quiz show begins, and In-ha declares with confidence that Dal-po will win.

 
COMMENTS

We actually covered a lot of ground for a premiere, and I like what I’ve seen so far. Granted, we have yet to see our leads together, which could change how I feel about their dynamic, but as long as the characters remain as they appear to be from the tiny snippets we got today, I think I’m going to like them very much. Dal-po seems a bit kooky, but the jury’s still out on him because based on the first episode, I don’t know how much of that is due to the editing of the quiz show program’s intro. I hope he stays weird though, because that would be really great.

In-ha, I already like, because she chooses to deal with her Pinocchio syndrome by being blunt and embarrassingly honest, when she could’ve easily chosen to be a wallflower who’s afraid to show anyone what’s on her mind. Instead, she’s sunny and sassy, and even blurts things without knowing if she’ll hiccup afterwards, figuring that she’ll just live with the consequences. This is hands-down my favorite thing about this writer—she creates female characters with sharp edges, who aren’t made of sugar and spice. Her Pinocchio syndrome might not be real, but the personality feels real and flawed in a good way.

I’m pretty sure a large part of this is due to Jung In-ki (Firefighter Dad) and the boy that plays Little Dal-po/Ha-myung, but the backstory hit a good spot for me—it tugged at the heartstrings without being tragedy porn, which is an important middle ground to hit for me when it comes to opening backstories. Because I know going in that Dad will die, and if the show just tries to wring tears for tears’ sake, I’d revolt. So it’s nice to get a story that’s about Dal-po’s character and how his fixation with the truth gets turned into the jaded belief that everyone is a liar. Dad’s death is the start of that avalanche, but it’s really the way that the reporters turn public opinion against them that breaks the family’s spirit, and told from their point of view, it seems downright inhumane. The tragic part is Mom’s weakness to choose suicide for her and her son, and it breaks my heart to think of what happened to Hyung in the intervening years. I’m glad to see that he survived, because I really liked the two brothers, and look forward to seeing them reunite.

It did seem sudden when we pushed forward to five months later and Dal-po was suddenly with Grandpa as if years had passed, but then when that little boy said that he needed a father and Grandpa needed a son, it twisted my heart. He’s young but he understands that he’s been abandoned and has to find a way to survive, and that self-awareness made me so sad. I already love this new family though, and the quirky hierarchy is pretty great, especially the look on Dad’s face every time he has to call Dal-po Hyung.

I could do without the childhood romance, which seems totally unnecessary, but it took a good turn when Dal-po immediately found out about In-ha’s mother, squashing the potential twinkly tween love story and replacing it with anger and resentment. It’s misplaced, since In-ha’s not at fault for her mother’s actions (and is clearly unaware of what Mom is really like, based on her unabashed worship of her), but I much prefer this complicated dynamic between them. They would be two families at odds, only now they’re in the same family, and Dal-po has even more reason to keep lying to her. Isn’t it strange how he’s the one who gets to lie, and yet it feels like he’s the one at a disadvantage?

I know we’ll eventually be bringing all our characters together in the newsroom, but I actually hope we spend a good deal of time in high school, building the family relationships and getting to know our leads in the small town. Call me crazy, but this is a case where I’d prefer to stay in high school, terrible mop hair and all.

 
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This episode's a bit like Slumdog Millionaire. Hope it's not an exact copy.

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I wonder why the little Dal po didn't look for his older brother instead...

I like this drama's 1st episode, but not as much as I hear Your Voice's 1st episode...you can tell it's the same director and production team though in the drama's styling and music

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I guess it's because he doesn't want to back to reality which kills his father twice (death and losing credibility), and how her mother committed suicide. And I do think part of him assumes his brother is running away.
With his new life and new family, at least young dalpo doesn't have to suffer from society's misjudge and annoying reporters.

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young dal po did not look for hyung coz he thought hyung lied to him as well. seems like every1 in his world is lying to him. that is why he likes park shin hye coz she with pinnochio syndrome is the only one that cannot lie

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That was my first thought as well. I'm sure the whole thing won't be like it but...not really thrilled with that being the first episude style.

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I agree, I think the writer was 'inspired' by Slumdog Millionaire.

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I think what makes it different from slumdog millionaire is that he's just a genius that loves reading and have the IQ. so it's not completely based on experiences.

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Of course Drama has to make me cry like a river the moment Appa enters the burning building. That river went on for quite a while.

Great start. Relevant story. Gripped my attention. Crossing my fingers.

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I guess I'm too sensitive here, but for me, the fire-fighter back-story element was overdone. I lost emotional investment and started to role my eyes half-way through. I understand the intention of a concise and intertwined back-story, but for me, this part was just lazy writing.

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I could be tripping but is this actor also the one who played Ha Ji Won's self sacrificing firefighter dad in Secret Garden? If so man this guy has it rough.

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I think he is. I remember thinking that I'd seem him die as a firefighter before lol but I couldn't remember where.

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Yes, it's the same actor from Secret Garden. I've seen him somewhere else recently where he was a father figure sacrificed early on in the series, but not as a firefighter. Guess he's become the go-to for that sort of role.

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He was the dad in Shark who was murdered early in the series.

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I guess he's working out his sacrificing firefighter fartherhood karma in dramas.

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it s just an ok ep. it does not catch my attention like IHYV's pilot

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So far so good, I really hope this show continues delivering solid episodes.

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PSH is still meh

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Seriously though?
She only appeared a bit and have been refreshing. What is with the hating?

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I also don't think she was bad, her character is interesting and her acting was decent enough for me. but still it might be just me.

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like :D

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I definitely like this character's portrayal more than in Heirs.

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Agree! Definitely better than her role in heirs. Cheerful roles suit her more

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I think it's a great start. Cant wait for 2nd ep. Loving all the characters (but her mom but she will be an interesting one)

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To the writer: No kissing scenes for Shin Hye Please. Lmao :)

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We all know some of her kissing scenes are horrible but this is a bit old now and y'all are unrelenting. Give it up.

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^ This. Plus, she had a pretty good kiss scene with Yoon Shi-yoon at the end of FBND. Although a part of me just thinks that's a testament to how awesome he is (miss him).

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I'll point it out even though other people have elsewhere:

1. MANY other K-Drama kisses are horrible, I'd even go as far as to say that MOST are.

2. Actors don't have free reign. The Director has a lot of input.

3. Not all kisses have to be passionate, and people/characters react to different kisses in different ways.

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I def agree with 1 and 2 also if the female isn't a great kisser there are moves the male can do to make it look more natural so it's not just the female actors fault here.

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I actually enjoyed the first episode, cinematography is beautiful, all actors delivery of their characters are pretty solid and i like how the storyline is built up.

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Can't wait to see what's next!

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This episode made me delirious with anger. That manager is a pathetic excuse for a human being, throwing the fire chief under the bus. The police would have never charged him since he truly believed his two employees were still inside the burning building. Furthermore, he did not force the firefighters to go in; that was a tactical decision made in the midst of a rescue operation. He should have alerted the firefighters as soon as he learned his two employees were safe. After his bald–faced lie, I hope he burns in hell for dragging the fire chief's name through the mud.

Then the ensuing witch-hunt. What kind of sick people accuses a fire chief who dedicates his life in saving others of killing his own men? I understand the families are overcome with grief, but a captain would never purposely put his squad in harm's way. Mob mentality is so scary. I blame the Pinocchio syndrome neighbor for blabbing to the world he saw Dad alive. And I blame the world for believing him just like that. Apparently, a Pinocchio syndrome eyewitness is even more reliable than evidence. I am still livid.

Nam Da Reum is officially my new favorite child actor. His portrayal of Dal Po makes my heart cry. The one person who befriends him after months of silent suffering turns out to be the daughter of his enemy. Tragic. I thoroughly hate her Reporter Mom. In Ha not hiccupping just means she doesn't like him... yet. In Ha and her dad should have recognized Dal Po's Seoul dialect and known he is not originally from the island. I like how both teenagers kept their Seoul dialects.

The "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" Slumdog Millionaire-style introduction was creative. I love Hyung and was looking forward to him being the man of the house with their dad gone. Even though, Mom took matters into her own hands, I was still very relieved Hyung did not run away from home. Such a good first episode. Thanks for the recap, girlfriday!

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Did all the firefighters go in the building? What about the people hooking up the water supply & tactical coordination? They would have been able to refute the manager's lie. Sloppy writing!

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I kept wondering where the water was as well.

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Me too! I hate that Reporter Mom so much that I actually had to ff her scenes, cause my heart can't take it. And that manager? Ugh! But I do like this first episode, cause the fact that I have this kind of reaction means that I actually care. Thanks, GF!

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I get what you mean, but still. He assumed everyone was dead, and if werent for the rumor that the dad was alive, he and his family wouldnt have been hated on. Honestly i dont think the manager deserves to be hated on either, he was looking out for his employees.
What I liked about it was the fact all the hate started from a lie about the father still being alive. It really kicked off the theme of the drama of how what actually happaned can have nothing to do with how it is reported and then how we think it happened.

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No, manager's lie did contribute to the hating AND he did not lie to cover for his employees but himself. Had he not lied people would have known that Dad had the legitimate reason to take his team into the building and would not blamed his family so when it was "found out" that Dad is alive. Now everyone thinks that for whatever reason Dad recklessly took his team in and let them die while getting out himself into safety.

Furthermore, one previous commenter is right, manager's lie is even more atrocious when you consider the fact that it was unnecessary. He did honestly think that his employees were in the building and Dad made his decision based on that. It is not manager's fault that employees were not in. And it seems it was too late to inform the team inside about their whereabouts.

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Exactly I agree with you. The manager didn't have to lie, he is not to blame for not knowing that his employees were not inside, but he is to blame for lying that he said that nobody was in the building to the police. If he had to lie he could have just said that the employees were in the building but managed to escape, it's only common sense. Nobody would blame him, he isn't omniscient, but he lied and ruin a family's life, which is just terrible.

Also, if he had lied, wouldn't there be people to say that he did? I'm sure there would be people outside trying to combat the fire. In the end I blame the writer for this plot hole. I personally cringe at it, but I understand why people do not mind it.

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I agree with you on everything!! I felt like wringing all the people's necks, especially the Reporter Mom ><

AND YES. Nam Da-Reum is a relatively new actor to me, but i think he brings it really well!! He's so cute too, and his puberty voice HHAHAHA

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I was expecting this show to be blegh (considering negative commentary regarding Park Shin Hye's acting and Doctor Stranger's ability to diminish my love for Lee Jong Seok) but the recap reveals potential. I will definitely keep an eye out for it.

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She is a decent actress. She get hated because she doesnt know how to pick the right roles and get paired with all the hotties most of the time

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Yuph that is true. People like hating, let's see.

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like :D

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The episode is pretty good, the writer knows how important every character, not overly melodramatic its a balance. Its hard to compare IHYV and Pinocchio, because they have different story to tell. Also stop hating the actors its just episode 1. Girlfriday you love the mop hair that's first lol.

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I really like it! The acting, directing & screenplay are on point. LJS is so funny specially when they are introducing him as the contestant. LOL While Shin hye is so cute and natural in her short appearances. The powerful scene that stole my heart was when Young Dalpo is crying in front of the medias while Young Dal-In give us the funny moments. Their family will be interesting. haha

I'm looking forward to the next episode, I must say the writer as always is really great and cinematography is indeed beautiful.

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The story is good, even haters should admit that lol. Based on Ep 1 PSH, LJS and all the cast pulled off their characters with flying colors. Those who watched were and are absorbed and captivated by the story. Hats off to #Pinocchio

P.S. : I like this article. This is what we call responsible journalism. After reading, i'd like to personally meet the writer.

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What do you think?should i or should i not watch this drama?

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Child actors were great and the premise is similar to Slumdog Millionaire but a lot of differences already. Really strong acting from the children hooked me in early and the injustice made me tear up haha.

I think it was a strong premiere and that you should give it a go. I'm treading cautiously but I think it has a lot of hope and potential.

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people need to stop with the slum dog millionaire thing. the premise of the show isn't like that movie, its only going to be this and probably the next episode that are similar. the difference is that slumdog millionaire was only about the gameshow, but this show isn't (i think we all knew going in that they weren't going to stay in high school forever. this is, after all, a show about reporters.)

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Sorry, I should have said the PILOT is similar to Slumdog Millionaire, not the premise of the entire show itself which will take a completely different turn in the future.

I must say though, I want this show to stay in the high school/youth years for quite a while because I'm already captivated by the actors and the story. The long hair is completely throwing me off though haha

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I enjoyed episode 1! Read my review here! ^^

http://oh-my-tv.blogspot.sg/search/label/Pinocchio

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That's the same actor that played Ha Ji Won's dad (who ALSO died as a firefighter on mission) in Secret Garden!

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Haha maybe that's his typecasted role now, dying/dead firefighter!

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That is exactly what I thought when I saw him "Hello Secret Garden" I said :)

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Isn't he also the dad from Shark? Poor guy. You know what's going to happen the moment he appears in a flashback.

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Hmm, really enjoying this writer. Can't wait for tomorrow's ep.

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Aw Firefighter Dad T.T..where is he dead or alive? we still don't know right?

Secret Garden Ha Ji Won's Dad jump into my mind! A firefighter...tragically died T.T

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he died for sure. Because the man that neighbour saw is not him.

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just alright,I guess..I just hope this wont turn out to be Lee Jong Suk second Dr Stranger..

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No, it won't. Just believe in this drama team kkk.

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Does Jung In-ki die every time he plays a firefighter?

I really enjoyed the first episode didn't even feel like a full hour to me.

I just want to say that both Park Shin-hye and Lee Jong-seok are getting to old to plat high schoolers.

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high school only lasts like two or three eps i think, its part of the character building.

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They look young enough. You just get bothered by it mentally. Plus the high school part was 9 years ago so don't worry

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Holding off on watching this until we get more PSH. I want to know if her character is a complete departure from all her previous characters and if it is then I want to know if she was able to pull it off. And if I see one "dead fish kiss" then the deal is off! lol

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Well there are many actresses who don't do passionate kisses. It doesn't mean she can't act or is a bad actress. People are acting like she cant act if she doesn't kiss... so unreasonable n ruin the mood. She doesn't need you anyway

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Dang! I thought the "lol" was a clear sign I was just messing around. I must have hit a nerve. lfmao

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it just gets annoying, i think. half the comments on any article related to PSH are about how she is a shit actress who can't kiss. and then equally annoying is how the other half is like "but there was that one time in FBND...!" it's like, come up with a new example already. it's anyways the same comments over and over. idk, maybe it's just me, but I'm a fan of variety.

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I never thought she was ever a shit actress. I do actually like her acting. The thing that worries me is that she's been typecasted into these Candy roles. I want to see her do something like the character Moon Geun Young played in Cinderella Stepsister. As far as the kissing issue, I was joking around since it has become a running gag of sorts. Like I would miss a good drama just because of a bad kiss.

(Possible Spoiler)

Hey, I finished "Prime Minister and I" and that ended with a handshake. hehe

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the sad reality is that the dead fish kiss is everywhere in kdramas and even jdramas/tdramas etc. If you want to see her really go for it, check her out in goong s ages ago, she locked lips with great passion and her partner was the fish there.

I think it has a lot to do with the character shes playing and maybe even the director. Although with LMH and that final kiss in Heirs... I kind of feel like maybe some personal feelings were there and she REALLY didn't like it. (maybe cause they had LMH go for that closet kiss without telling her beforehand, but those tight fists just didn't seem like she was at ease one bit.)

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I was thinking that too: that she could have been not liking LMH or his kiss. Or she could be seeing someone and that someone has kiss rules.

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same, I really wasn't going to bother with this one but the recap and comments have me intrigued. There are quite a few dramas going on so I can def afford to wait this one out and see where it goes.

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i liked this pinnochio thing, n i couldn't stop laughing @ ljs's hairstyle... it was funny... but i feel like this drama couldn't reach to the same level as ihyv....

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Overall, I liked it. Nam Da Reum (young Dal Pyo) was especially awesome and did a great job of getting me emotionally invested early on. I looked him up (wanting to remember what dramas I've seen him in before), and was surprised to see that this is his 19th drama!

I was also surprised when GF said that the antenna figure was a girl in pigtails, cause I had totally seen a Joseon court official in a hat with the little side-wings (ha ha).

Just like with IHYV, some things are very unrealistic (e.g. that all of the firefighters would've entered a structure on the verge of exploding)-- but it doesn't bother me much since the emotional beats ring true. And yes, it's awesome that we've got another fun, flawed, and feisty heroine.

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I wasn't sure what to expect from this show, for many reasons. I didn't like nor finish I Can Hear Your Voice, and Lee Jong-seok has seemed overrated for me for awhile. But, this was a brilliant first episode with the perfect blend of humor and tragedy. And, I like Dal-po. He's funny. But, we've gotten more of the kid than the teenager, so maybe it's the kid I like. I hope it can extend into his teenage and adult years.

I like the idea of being unable to lie. It makes things that much better and I love In-ha's character. Being blunt and sharp-edged is way better than being a wallflower.

Looking forward to the next episode!

Thanks for the recap!

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A 7.8% share is rather underwhelming, though. That is definitely not what SBS banked on when they paired PSH with the break-out star from IHYV. On the hand, that show started weak too and then exploded. So the suits at SBS can still hope I guess.

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it's a good start consider how low MLG was and MBC took 14% ratings last week ( they have been leading)

Heirs and IHYV didn't start high either in case you don't know

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I am rather sure that was EXACTLY what I wrote.

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Like you said yourself it's just the first episode, it will take about 4 or 5 episode for us to get the idea of where the ratings are going, some of the Korean viewers might have been a little bit turned off because of that stupid drama LJS was in, but still if the story keeps getting good those viewers will join back in an instant, I have read the comments from knetz and it has all been positive, some were saying they are scared to watch it because they don't want LJS to be involved in another bad drama, they were saying they are waiting for opinions from others, considering the majority of the opinions there were good I hope they will check out the next episode. PSH also got a lot of praise as Knetz love her dearly, I love both LJS and PSH and I was pleased reading those comments. All I see here is Ifans either complaining about LJS or PSH so it was not a shock to find that they are loved by knetz there.

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The actress playing little In-ha is fantastic. Not her acting per se, but the way she copies Park Shin-hye's acting schemata.

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So does Nam Da Reum (young Dal Po) he's fantastic and breaks my heart into pieces in this episode T.T

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Does anyone know the name of the child actor of the older brother, Jaemyeong?

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I still prefer IHYV's first episode, maybe because Lee Bo Young's sassy and bold character.

It's not terrible episode and I really like young Dal Po. I'm looking forward to Choi In Ha and Dal Po's dynamics together. It should be fun!

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Great 1st Ep can't wait for the 2nd...drama with real actors .. Love it

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Child actors here are really good, little In Ha has the same mannerisms as her older self.

But re: Park Shin Hye, I doubted her for getting into school uniform yet again but the screencaps of her few minutes are of her sneering, scoffing and being rude.......good riddance to any aspects of Cha Eun Sang kkk

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I am not comparing this show to anything. Not IHYV or any other drama with Park Shin Hye on it. I like to look at each drama individually without bringing in any preconceived notions of what it will probably be like. That been said I liked it. I though it was interesting and the characters were appealing.

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Great first episode, I'm crying with little dal po, and I love in ha attitude, cant wait for ep 2

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Thank you for the recap ^__^ you are the best !

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Thank you girlfriday for the recap. I decided to read it first before watching for a change and am glad I did. It was easier to watch the tragedy unfold with fore-knowledge.

Perhaps it wasn't exactly planned to be a trend, but I had the strange sensation that lies seems to be the in-thing with shows currently airing.

There's of course Game and now Pinocchio which directly deal with the telling of lies, and then there are shows that include lying (pretending to be someone else) as part of the plot such as Mr Back and Legendary Witch.

I have wondered how these 'trends' happen ever so often!! Do producers get together and choose the trend of the year? :D

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Sorry... "Liar Game" ... first word got lost somehow!

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So far I'm interested in seeing where this story goes, though I'm a bit irked by how the writer has chosen to play out the back story thus far. Seeing the same actor from Secret Garden playing yet another tragically fallen firefighter took me out of the narrative a bit. Also I do have to say that I'm rather incredulous over the treatment the neighbors meited out to the family of the fire chief. Throwing eggs in the face of a grieving child? Really? Blaming innocent people for the deaths of the the nine firefighters? Refusing to sell to the wife? Such hatefulness and lack of compassion was really hard for me to fathom. Also, the coldbloodedness of In Ha's news reporter mother was was such a disappointment. Kdramas seem to have more than their share of female characters with ice water running through their veins, you know---one dimensional character tropes lacking only a mustache to twirl...So tiresome.

It seems the writer might be setting this drama up to be an examination of the sometimes complex implications of telling lies (both the well-meaning and malignant kind) and telling the truth (whether it be simple fact or harsh and unvarnished reality). Told properly, this drama could give viewers a lot to ponder concerning the truths and lies we encounter daily, and to ask if the truth is always good, and the lie always destructive.

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I’m actually a bit underwhelmed with this first episode, though that seems to be a common occurrence with pilot episodes anyway, and I’d rather be set my expectations low now and be blown out later if and when the show performs beyond it, than the other way around, which is only a recipe for frustrations and indignant histrionics later on. Though honestly, there is too little to go on for now to make definitive decisions over the quality of the show, but I remain plenty positive.

Introspectively, as an episode the thing that bothers me the most is with how the entire tragedy surrounding the death and defamation of Ha Myung’s father just screams makjang. There is only up to a certain degree can a show manipulate us to hating In Ha’s mother and the journalism profession by large before it becomes hamfisted and well, obvious. Of course, functionally, I can see how the show is tackling its subject matter of lies and its consequences by building the character’s lives and backstory around it. And while I see no problem narratively with that, I’m just having some head-scratching reaction with how simplistic everything seems, yet made complicated by the virtue of melodrama. And normally, that’s a nitpick that I’m not charitable on giving. However, that entire sequence of the Pinnochio guy giving out unfounded claims and just how unsophisticated the story presents the people in general surrounding this course of events, and consequently resulting to the subsequent apparent suicide of Ha Myung’s mother, comes out a bit too contrived. We get it show, lies are bad–it turns people to egg-pelting morons who won’t sell you stuff. Just classic.

Despite the dull backstory, I’m liking however the romantic set-up, and pretty much excited to see what Park Shin Hye and Lee Jong Seok have in store for us. Also, I would have been ten times less crabby with this first episode had the show actually shown Lee Yu Bi too. But no game, next episode perhaps?

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I had a very similar reaction to the backstory. It was just too obvious what the writer was trying to do, and instead of becoming emotionally invested, I dropped out of immersion and thought about how one should actually write this kind of introduction. I hate when that happens, because I need a lot of focus and concentration later on to start to care about the characters.

But I guess we are both a minority, because so many K-dramas use these kind of strategies and the audience seems to like it.

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I have a different reaction to these posts: I heave a sigh of relief that people really are not as simple and as easily led as the makjang make them out to be. Which would mean that such unnecessary tragedy is normally avoided in real life.

However the sad past as we saw it was through the memory of Dal Po, who might have felt as a child did, that his tragedy is explained in summary, as simplistically as was shown.

Although I will not be manipulated into over sympathising, I am still invested enough to want to watch the youngsters grow and for the brothers to find each other.

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What kills me is no one bothered to question the neighbor who had Pinocchio syndrome. You cannot tell me they haven't figured out incorrect perception could be someone's reality and thus not true but a person with the syndrome wouldn't hiccup because they think it's true

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I think that's the point they're trying to make. In a way, he didn't lie but he didn't get a good look at his face either.

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Tbh people there were just looking for someone to blame, that Pinnochio guy just happened to solve their problem, like you said the logical thing would have been to think rationally but if you have people left and right looking for scapegoat it becomes impossible, from that coward fire fighter boss to the cold hearted news reporters to the victims families everybody was looking for someone to take responsibility, this is I think what they call a mob mentality and it still happens to this day around the world.

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I hope the brothers actually gets a chance to meet each other soon. Ja Myung is probably living a hard life alone thinking that his brother is dead. I actually feel sorry for the brother, too.

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I had very high hopes fo this drama as the writer-director's previous is IHYV which is one best dramas ive watched.
But the thing that made me love this episode are the child actors.I legit teared up during mini Dal-po scenes.As for junior PSH,that little girl is going to grow up into a gorgeous women and have great acting chops to boot.I dont think ive ever seen them in any drama before.please let it only go uphill from here.

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Ooh, i'm liking this a lot. Lots of humor and lots of hurt, pain and anger.. Waiting for reporter mom to get her comeuppance. Please k-drama no redemption arc for her. And don't use her daughter to make me like her either.

Thanks for the reap.

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oops..."recap"

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What an amazing back story in just one episode of the emotions and repercussions of the chief firefighter living while his men died, and the reason behind it hidden from everyone by lies. It is heartbreaking to know that mom acted as she did not knowing the truth, and now, her two sons are left with the aftermath of two parents who are gone. Can't wait for the brothers to reunite.

I love the twist that Cha-ok is In-na's mother, and she is the spitting image of her.

How can mop hair on Jong-seok be so adorkable? I can anticipate a hot transformation though when the show forwards to the present, right writers?

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What I've learned from the pilot was, how a little lie could affect someone's life. If, only if the manager didn't lie, there's no suicide, exaggerate anger, no more another lies, they'll go in peace.
And if, In ha's mom didn't lie, people wouldn't misinterpret. So its all about what we want to look at, not the truth. Its media playing. And nowadays, too much things lays on "media playing". News is not (real) the truth anymore, its what we want to hear, to comfort ourself..
I love the child actors, just like the child actors on IHYV. This production team maybe has a great writer and director, and actors too, but I love how they're casting the artist. I think we prefer talented actors than the pretty one, but I also won't against the talented actors with pretty face.
PSH's last project was with Kim Woo Bin, and now Lee Jong Suk, and I like the idea. I'll keep it for myself :)
And so much love to GF, I like your recap, as always..

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Great casting for the child actors portraying the two brothers, they both gutted me with their scenes. How the younger one looked into the camera, his eyes...amazing. And after that his hyung just wailing at the cliff, omg...i had tears in my eyes.

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I like the point that Reb has made "What I’ve learned from the pilot was, how a little lie could affect someone’s life"..
The manager lied, pinochio syndrome did not lie - he thought he saw, actually Jong-Seok's mother lied, Jong-Seok lied to the old man who lost his son..
The writers are really good.. Lies & Truth are not exactly black and white..

And the child actors are dae-bak!! What will they grow up to be!! Beautiful and strong actors!!

And what a solid back story for Dal-po to love In-ha. This is a really sealed-in-the-heart one.

I'm loving this already!!

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his nose so weird.

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"terrible mop hair and all." - Girlfriday

Probably preaching to the choir but it's hard not to rant about a beautiful actress or a handsome actor being subjected to wearing an unflattering hairstyle or wig.

I've said it before (during the Emergency Couple recaps) and I'll say it again - Simply no excuse for having the main lead wear a bad wig. The Wig & Hair Goods industry is a billion dollar business.

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hello

can any body tell me , what is the song that playing in this episod and other ones . its not ost

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but omg the little boy who plays little Dal-po is Nam Da-Reum! he's sooo cute xD and he's like 12, so puberty voice? HAHAHA

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5 stars for this episode

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