Pinocchio: Episode 6
It’s an episode about rivalries every which way imaginable, between romantic rivals, TV networks, rookie teams, and the shouty sunbaes who train them. The newbies get sent into the field for the first time on their own, and as expected, it’s a jungle out there. I’m not even sure if they’re fighting each other, their bosses, or just life in general, but in any case I think they should get used to failing at things for a good long while. It’s a good thing everybody loves an underdog!
SONG OF THE DAY
Roy Kim – “피노키오” (Pinocchio) for the Pinocchio OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 6: “Adventures of 15-year-old boys” (aka Two Years’ Vacation by Jules Verne)
A fresh-faced newbie reporter arrives at the police station and announces himself to a group of unwashed, bleary-eyed sunbaes typing away on their laptops. One guy gets up to greet the obvious first-timer, while the others just sit there with a faraway look in their eyes.
Three days later, Dal-po is the rookie to announce himself, and the fresh-faced newbie who arrived three days ago now looks exactly like the others, with dark circles down to there and the same dead look in his eyes. Dal-po narrates, “They were like zombies—zombies that had been awake for 24 hours and left to starve. And a few days later, I had become one of them.”
Six hours earlier. Dad finds out about In-ha’s new job the bad way—by seeing her face on television as the new face of MSC’s “honest news.” Mom picks some pretty amazing timing to drop by Dad’s office, and he barely has a second to register In-ha on TV before turning around and coming face-to-face with his ex-wife. She says she’s here to talk about In-ha, and Dad looks about as pleased as you’d guess.
Hyung tenses up at YGN’s report about the death of two chemical plant workers who were discovered in a fire. The investigation is showing signs of foul play, and the use of toxic chemicals to instigate the shipping container fire that killed them. Their leading suspect is the plant manager who owed them money and is currently missing… because Hyung trapped him in a manhole six feet under!
Hyung’s boss hands him the money that he collected from Dal-po for the truck bumper, and says the guy was happy to pay for the damages, and even looked a little like Hyung.
Dal-po finally finishes his shredded paper reconstruction after two all-nighters, and the rest of the rookies are especially nice to him as they face their official district assignments. The worst assignment is the Han River, because that rookie has to work under Jang Hyun-kyu (whose nickname, by the way, is Jang Nitpick).
Ah, I misinterpreted Yoo-rae’s smile in the last episode—she was pleased because one rookie gets assigned per district, and she hoped that Dal-po would free her from Hyun-kyu’s wrath. They share their hot-packs and candy bars with Dal-po, who’s totally unprepared for their upcoming night watch.
Gyo-dong comes out to give out their team assignments, and as expected, Dal-po is put on Hyun-kyu’s team. The other rookies breathe a sigh of relief, but then Yoo-rae also gets placed on the same team, and she blurts, “WHY?!” Gyo-dong points out that there’s no rule about one rookie per team.
Hyun-kyu arrives behind them, and LOL, his ringtone is the Darth Vader theme song? He even lets it ring a while just for effect, before saying loudly into the phone that he’s got two newbies on his team to drive him twice as crazy.
Poor Yoo-rae is so frightened that she cries again, and has to lie to Gyo-dong that they’re just yawn-induced tears. She blankly asks Dal-po to return her hot-packs, suddenly not feeling so generous. They don’t even get as far as the elevator before Nitpick calls and screams at them to get their asses moving, and they take off.
Over at MSC, Il-joo is a very different kind of team leader, who speaks to In-ha and Beom-jo in jondae and politely explains their night watch assignment (naturally, they’re also assigned the Han River district).
Princess accuses him of treating them differently because of their connections, only to watch a little longer and realize that Il-joo is just as much of a hardass—he just likes to speak in that eerily polite, passive-aggressive tone. (Ha, does Beom-jo not understand sarcasm? In-ha has to stop and explain that Il-joo is saying one thing but means another.) He practically sing-songs at them to run, and to answer his calls in under three rings at all times, whether sleeping or pooping.
He reminds them that other reporters are now the enemy, and we intercut between Hyun-kyu and Il-joo giving minute-by-minute instructions to Dal-po and In-ha as they each race down to the street. They actually arrive outside their buildings at exactly the same time, and Dal-po comes to a screeching halt and asks what In-ha is doing here.
Beom-jo asks if she didn’t tell him that she’s a reporter for MSC now, and introduces himself to Dal-po. Dal-po ignores the outstretched hand and asks for an explanation, and In-ha tells him about Mom and the publicity internship. He looks up and sees the giant banner with mother and daughter advertising honest news from a Pinocchio reporter, and walks away.
Beom-jo grabs him by the arm to say that In-ha isn’t finished talking yet, but Dal-po just twists Beom-jo’s arm around his back and shoves him away. In-ha runs after him, leaving Beom-jo alone to swear angrily. The second he does though, he surprises himself, “Did I just swear? Huh.”
In-ha runs after Dal-po and grabs both wrists before he’ll stop. He shouts back angrily, asking why she wants to be a reporter so badly—did she really want to go back to her mother that much, when all she did was stomp on her pride? In-ha shouts back, “It’s not because of Mom! It’s because of you!”
She tells him that it’s because of that quiz show he went on eight years ago, and the way it felt when their teacher and all their classmates changed their opinions in one fell swoop. She pounds her chest: “That day so wonderfully remains right here. Not one minute, one second will be erased.”
She says that’s the reason she won’t give up on her dream, no matter how much Dad disapproves or how much Mom stomps on her pride. She tells Dal-po that she doesn’t need his support either, and would rather have him disapprove—that way it’ll be easier to stop liking him.
Dad arrives in the distance as Dal-po tries to hold her back to argue. She tells him to go ahead and try to stop her, because she’ll just want to do it more. Dad flashes back to Mom’s visit earlier that day. He asks if she suddenly feels the urge to be a mother, and Mom says no—that’s why she’s here.
She says she knows In-ha, and the more Dad tells her not to do something, the more she’ll want to do it: “Like me.” She asks for him to let In-ha pursue her dream, which is the only way he’ll get to keep her by his side.
So when Dal-po asks how she’ll convince Dad, Dad interrupts them (I love the way Dal-po instinctively sneaks her behind his back all the time), and shocks them both by saying that he doesn’t disapprove. He doesn’t exactly approve either, but he hands her a pair of new shoes in honor of the new job. Aw. In-ha bounces up and down in glee, while Dal-po accepts defeat.
Everyone heads home to pack for their 24-hour news patrol shift, and Beom-jo packs a full suitcase like he’s going on a luxury business trip. Chaebol Mommy worries about him having to sleep at the police station like a common criminal, and she coos at him to give up if things get too difficult. Way to teach him valuable life lessons, Mommy. As if the kisses weren’t hard enough to stomach.
In-ha peppers Dad with kisses too, though their relationship is too adorable for words. She’s bouncing off the walls with excitement over Dad’s show of support, determined to wear the new shoes until the soles disappear.
In the next room over, Grandpa packs Dal-po’s bag and hands him a new pair of gloves he bought for him, and Dal-po worries about him spending so much money when he has so little. Grandpa adorably gives a guilty glance over at Dal-po’s row of piggybanks and lovingly knocks his forehead against Dal-po’s as he agrees that he has no money.
Dal-po’s eyes widen and he rushes over to his precious piggies to find their bellies all split open. HA. Grandpa just walks away and says you make money to spend money, and Dal-po tries hard not to cry.
Things get awkward in the elevator as In-ha and Dal-po head out at the same time, and it gets even more strained when they find out that they’re both assigned to the Han River district. In-ha decides that it’s better this way, since being in direct competition with each other will help her get over him right away, and he lets out a sad little, “Yup.”
She hands him the dream button from her necklace and when he asks why she’s giving it back, she says, “Because I think I’m over you. *hiccup* …I guess I’m not. Sorry, I might have been too hasty.” Hahahaha. That was awesome. She hurriedly says she’ll get over him soon and takes the button back, and waits until he’s out of sight to die of embarrassment.
In-ha begins the competition right away, and steals Dal-po’s cab to get to the police station first. He outsmarts her by taking a different route, and we catch up to the opening scene as he arrives at the precinct. Someone calls out Dal-po’s name, and it turns out to be Chan-soo, his old high school quiz show rival.
Chan-soo is a cop now, and can’t believe how much Dal-po has changed. He ushers him away from the “reporter trash” who buzz around like flies waiting for their next big scoop, and Dal-po has to follow that up with the news that he’s a reporter now. In-ha comes running in too, and Dal-po suddenly frowns to see her looking a little too happy to see Chan-soo.
He takes his two classmates to show them the pressroom where they’ll sleep, and Yoo-rae and Beom-jo arrive just in time for the big reveal. They open the door to a tiny room filled with trash and dirty underwear. One lone reporter sits in the center of the room typing away like a zombie, and killing cockroaches with her bare hands. The rookies shudder in horror.
The clock begins to count down with 48 hours left to go, and their night of relentless buzzing begins. They stop at every cop at every desk to ask if there have been any incidents, and get rejected, and rejected, and rejected again.
Beom-jo is the most shell-shocked out of all of them, and he narrates to Mommy about this bizarro world he’s entered. He wonders where all those events that fill a day’s worth of headlines are hiding, because they can’t be found here. He says that if they don’t find things to report, they get chewed out by their bosses on the hour, every hour.
“I learned it here—that the world is filled with so many different kinds of swear words. In this place, if you cry you get in trouble. If you sleep you get in trouble. If you eat you get in trouble. And if you don’t eat, you also get in trouble. Mother, why have I come to this strange land?” Heh, I’m starting to like Beom-jo now.
In-ha plops down next to him with some food, and he marvels at the triangle kimbap like it’s a new invention. He tells her that he can’t eat egg whites and swaps her for her yolks, which is convenient for her since that’s the way she splits her eggs with Dal-po. But it pings my stalker-dar that he happens to like them the same way. She notes that he doesn’t seem like a typical snotty braggart chaebol heir, and he thanks her for the snide compliment.
Beom-jo continues his narration to Mommy: “There is one guy who’s adjusting to this rough world better than anybody…” Their faces darken at the sight of Dal-po running over, all buddy-buddy with a detective and calling him “hyungnim.” The same detective who earlier refused to throw them a bone offers to help Dal-po out, and they fume indignantly.
The boys stare each other down, and Beom-jo describes Dal-po as a Tarzan zipping through this jungle however he pleases. “Mother, that Tarzan has started to get on my nerves.”
Chan-soo asks how Dal-po managed to get a handle on the precinct so quickly, and Dal-po says it was luck—he spent two nights putting shredded papers back together, and among the pages was a police roster and various open cases at this station. Chan-soo marvels at the fact that Dal-po memorized all that, and tells him about the case he’s working on… the container fire.
Dal-po already knows about the case and says it’s pretty open-and-shut, since they already have a suspect on the run. All Chan-soo can offer is that his gut is telling him something is off about the case, and Dal-po dismisses him offhandedly.
Gyo-dong can’t focus at work, and his mind keeps drifting back to his conversation with Dal-po about his real identity. Dal-po told him about Hyung showing up to claim Firefighter Dad’s remains, but he has no way of getting the contact information from the police because at the time of his adoption, he thought it more important to hide his name and feigned amnesia. Gyo-dong decides to call the station himself to see what he can find out.
In-ha trudges off to the pressroom to catch a nap, and over the course of the night, people come and go and shift positions, until In-ha ends up snuggled up in Dal-po’s arms. Kyaaa. They’re so close, they’re kissing noses!
He’s startled when he opens his eyes, but just lies there watching her sleep with this sweet little smile on his face. He thinks about her confession that she wanted to become a reporter because of him, and reaches over to touch her, but pulls back.
Beom-jo wakes up just in time to see the look on Dal-po’s face as he watches In-ha sleep. Dal-po tucks her in and then locks eyes with Beom-jo, who follows him out into the hallway. “Hey, Choi Dal-po! What was that? That’s not something an uncle does with his niece!”
Dal-po just shoves Beom-jo’s outstretched hand away and says it’s not really his concern, which he can’t argue with. Dal-po tells him he’s overstepping and walks away muttering to himself about how he thinks he knows In-ha, but Beom-jo says he’s known her for quite a long time: “A lot longer than you think.”
It’s twelve hours till go time, on the first day that MSC has moved their news hour to go up against ratings leader YGN in a head-to-head battle. At the city newsroom, Princess is taking bets from all the other stations’ reporters, but Gyo-dong refuses to participate. The bet isn’t very interesting because no one will put their money on MSC, and even Princess bets on YGN instead.
In-ha is getting desperate for something to report to her boss, and begs Chan-soo for a tidbit, calling on old high school feelings to try and persuade him. He shows her his wedding ring and wonders why he ever liked her, but tells her about an accidental death case at a gym, where a woman worked out until she died. In-ha thanks him for the scoop, only to come out and discover Yoo-rae holding a stethoscope to the door. She calls the story into her boss first, and In-ha fumes.
It’s even funnier to watch the events from the lead reporters’ pressroom, because YGN’s Hyun-kyu and MSC’s Il-joo take turns making snide comments to each other about their terrible rookies, only to repeat the exact same ragey outburst when their own minions call.
It goes back and forth like this with both of them feeling the pressure to deliver a story for tonight’s broadcast, but having to rely on a set of clueless newbies to get the job done. Both teams get yelled at to find out more firsthand information and get the CCTV footage of the death.
The boys end up at the health club and the girls go to the hospital, and the petty rivalry escalates on both sides. (I love the look of satisfaction on Beom-jo’s face when he manages to get the elevator doors to close before Dal-po can catch up.) They cobble together some background information about the woman who died, but both teams are lacking the crucial piece—the tape that the gym refuses to hand over.
As they meet back at the gym, Beom-jo notices In-ha’s face covered in soot, and reaches over to wipe it away. But she leaves him hanging, and he awkwardly tries to cover up his embarrassment with a laugh.
Dal-po and Yoo-rae are one step ahead of them, and Dal-po seems close to convincing the gym owner to hand over the CCTV tape. Yoo-rae’s burst of aegyo softens him up (and Beom-jo tries to get In-ha to do the same but she can’t), and when the owner hesitates, Dal-po says it’s okay if he just plays the tape once, much to the others’ dismay.
They watch the playback and take notes, and as they leave, Beom-jo tries to get In-ha to agree with him that Dal-po sucks. She agrees but hiccups, and Beom-jo figures she must still like him. She says it’s harder to get over Dal-po than she thought, and blames herself for hanging on.
Yoo-rae asks if they should head back and try to persuade the gym owner one more time, but Dal-po says he’s already got it—he recorded the footage on his phone while it was being played back for them. Yoo-rae claps and gives him a thumbs-up for being awesome, and they head back in a good mood.
Chan-soo’s boss asks for his report on the container fire case, and Chan-soo voices his niggling doubt about the suspect. The plant manager’s cell phone signal has been caught in various cities with no other trace, just turning on and off for a brief second, as if to purposely make it appear as though he’s wandering around.
We see Hyung taking the cell phone in question to crowded places to turn it on and off, exactly as Chan-soo describes. Uh-oh. Dal-po narrates: “The truth is in pieces spread out here and there, and doesn’t reveal itself whole to us.”
Beom-jo goes over the details of the gym case that In-ha has to report to their boss. They surmise that the woman discovered her ex-husband was remarrying and began an extreme diet leading to her overdoing her workout and a heart attack. In-ha says she can do it but hiccups, and she admits that something about the case isn’t adding up for her.
Dal-po continues his narration that when the thing they find isn’t the truth, the truth sends them little signals: doubt. Chan-soo’s boss tells him it is weird, but it’s not enough to change their prime suspect. Beom-jo agrees that things might not line up perfectly, but that it’s not enough to stop them from calling it in. But In-ha decides she has to go back to check things over one last time.
Dal-po watches the CCTV footage and something niggles at him too, but he ends up sending it to Gyo-dong. He narrates, “The moment you fold that doubt, the real truth hides itself.”
Gyo-dong receives the video and heads out with a little warning to Princess that YGN’s got an exclusive tonight, but a moment later Princess gets off the phone with a smile on his face and says they have one too. He moves his bet over to MSC and heads out. Dal-po (voiceover): “What you see isn’t everything.” The clock counts down, with three hours left till broadcast.
It’s not the most exciting note to end on, since I care much more about our characters’ relationships to each other than which network will win the first of what I’m sure will be many ratings battles. But I do appreciate the fact that we have two competing networks instead of one group of rookies all working for the single station that we’re rooting for. I care very little about the scoop ‘o the week, so having each pair of newbie reporters represent the YGN-MSC battle makes it more interesting on a character level, and I already like the fact that I feel conflicted about In-ha and Beom-jo doing a good job. I want them to become good reporters, but right now they’re serving to make Mom look good, and that’s enough to make me hope they fail. Obviously the end goal is to have her become a better reporter than her mother ever was, but I wonder if that’s something she can achieve while working within the belly of the beast.
I don’t know that Chan-soo had to be brought back as a cop to take the lead on Hyung’s case, because first of all, I know this drama world is the smallest world ever known, but some of the coincidences are totally unnecessary. Honestly, there doesn’t have to be a connection with every single thing. I’d rather the fate/coincidence angle be saved for greater effect when it’s crucial, instead of having so much rely on happenstance. It has little bearing on the heart of the characters’ relationships (which is thankfully undeterred no matter how much random coincidence you throw at them), but it does stretch the plot at times. Anyway, now that Hyung is a killer, I want Chan-soo to be bad at his job. It’s terrible, I know. But when this shit hits the fan, it’s going to be SO BAD for Dal-po. He becomes a reporter just to find his brother, only to find him a killer, and dreams of telling his father’s story, only to end up having to tell his brother’s? Ack. I just want to bury my head in the cute romance sand and pretend those events aren’t inevitable down the line.
Now that the partnerships are established, I feel like we’re settling into Beom-jo and Yoo-rae’s characters a little, though I’m still waiting for Yoo-rae to be given a little more to do. I like her and am by default rooting for her, but I’d like to get to know her better. Beom-jo, on the other hand, has finally broken out of his shell, and I like that he has more dimension now. Granted, he’s still really freaking weird, but it seems to me that he’s just sheltered more than anything, and that he’s quite innocent and sweet.
I think when they announced his character they used the standard chaebol description about a guy who’s never known hardship in his life, which I took as a general line about his buckets of money. But I think it might actually be literal in his case, because he seems confused about why people would be mean or unloving or unhelpful, because he has a mommy who made everything easy. Too easy if you ask me, but that seems to be his character’s uphill battle now that he’s trying to do things out in the real world. It’s a funny set of obstacles to overcome, and now that I see he’s harmless and well-meaning, I can root for him to grow up and learn a thing or two about people. And sarcasm.
His rivalry with Dal-po was surprisingly compelling in this episode, and the appeal stemmed from Beom-jo’s begrudging admiration for Dal-po, who knows how to navigate this weird jungle that he’s unfamiliar with. I love the look on his face when he calls Dal-po Tarzan, because it’s awe mixed with hate, delivered from the perspective of a little boy who wishes he could be that cool. And in that moment I’m really behind In-ha and Beom-jo because they seem like the underdogs of the underdogs, with no clue how to do anything right.
I thought today’s title reference to be pretty apt (and it totally took me until translating this episode’s title to realize that they’d all been children’s literature references the whole way through). Taken from Beom-jo’s perspective, the real world is actually a strange new land, and being a rookie reporter is a lot like being shipwrecked on an island with a bunch of other kids, left to their own devices to survive. He doesn’t understand any of the rules, everything his boss says is the opposite of what he means, and he just wants to go home to his mommy. But I’m glad he’s sticking it through, because he pushes Dal-po’s buttons, and anything that forces Dal-po to show his feelings for In-ha is a good thing in my book.
- Pinocchio: Episode 5
- Pinocchio: Episode 4
- Pinocchio: Episode 3
- Pinocchio: Episode 2
- Pinocchio: Episode 1
- Jung Woong-in reprises serial killer role in Pinocchio cameo
- Pinocchio’s fluffy fantasy posters
- Pinocchio teases small-town high school romance
- Who wants to be a Pinocchio
- First script read for Pinocchio’s newbie news reporters
- Newsroom drama Pinocchio secures rookie reporter cast