Pinocchio: Episode 12
Pain paaain go away, come again another day! Turns out yesterday’s episode wasn’t the worst of the heartbreak, not by a long shot. Our hero decides that he doesn’t deserve to be happy anymore and seems determined to spread the pain around while he’s at it. This plan is good for nobody, I want to tell him, but he’s dead-set on doing things the nobly idiotic way, because he’s a drama hero and it’s a day that ends in “y.”
SONG OF THE DAY
K.Will – “하나뿐인 사람” (One and Only Person) for the Pinocchio OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 12: “The Magic Flute”
The clock winds down to news hour and both networks begin their broadcasts, with Hyung sitting down for his interview at MSC and Dal-po bracing himself in a sound studio at YGN. Yoo-rae peeks inside the room and pouts at how unfair it is that Dal-po gets the big story for his first official on-camera report, and though she’s in the news lineup tonight as well, she guesses her mother will be asleep before her segment ever airs.
Grandpa fumbles with the remote to hurry and record the news just in case In-ha or Dal-po debut, and Dad tells him not to bother—they can do this every night till the cows come home, but the kids aren’t showing up on that TV.
At YGN, Editor Jo thinks Gyo-dong was rather cruel to have Dal-po break the story about his own brother, but Gyo-dong says stoically that it’s what Dal-po wanted. Though he seems worried too.
We switch over to MSC, where In-ha looks on nervously as Hyung sits down at the news desk next to Mom for his live interview. Mom introduces him as a national hero and even brings up the fact that they’ve met before, thirteen years ago when he came to her to do an interview about his father.
She plays the interview—the good parts this time—and Hyung doesn’t miss the chance to point out on live television that she edited it quite differently then and now. He recounts verbatim what she said thirteen years ago about cutting out his entire my-father-is-a-hero plea in favor of the story she wanted to tell. Mom gets flustered and tries to move on to the next question, and Hyung notes bitterly, “It’s funny how through editing, one person can become the devil, and the other a hero.”
Mom can’t bring herself to admit she was wrong or apologize even when faced with her mistake so baldly, and just says that all the networks were misinformed. But she assures him that she and MSC are more mature now, and they’re the ones who corrected past mistakes and reported his heroism, after all.
But he disagrees and says she’s doing the exact same thing today, only in reverse—thirteen years ago she turned a hero into the devil, and today she turned the devil into a hero, because he’s a killer. He then turns to face the camera and says that he’s a murderer, and that they can find out on YGN. Ha, okay not funny, but kinda funny.
With impeccable timing, YGN breaks the story that “national hero” Ki Jae-myung confessed to murdering three people. As the story airs, Chan-soo watches the broadcast and flashes back to the moment that Dal-po gave him the location of the manhole. He told Chan-soo the truth—that Ki Jae-myung confessed his crimes to him because Dal-po is his brother.
Dal-po’s news report includes an interview with Hyung, which he must have done right after outing himself as the informant. He confesses to killing all three plant workers and provides Dal-po with the evidence, and Dal-po reports that Hyung couldn’t live with the public image of himself as a hero and decided to turn himself in.
In-ha watches the YGN broadcast with bated breath, and at the end of his report, Dal-po signs off, ” Ki Ha-myung, YGN News.”
Oh noooo, Dad and Grandpa! Ugh, I can’t believe they’re finding out this way. They gape at the television and Grandpa murmurs numbly, “What is he saying? Why is he not Choi Dal-po, but Ki Ha-myung?”
Mom sits in the dark at the MSC news desk, stewing in rage, and flings her script into the air. Outside, Dal-po stands at MSC’s door waiting for Hyung to come out. A row of police cars lies in wait to take him away, and Dal-po runs up for one last conversation.
Hyung asks if he did well on his report, and Dal-po nods. Agh, his puppy eyes are just stabbing me in the heart right now. Hyung says he stuck it to Song Cha-ok, and Dal-po can’t hold in his tears any longer as they glance over at the officers waiting to arrest him.
Hyung regrets that their time together has been so short, after being apart for so long. That’s what I’m sayin’! We couldn’t have waited two weeks or just one more pizza before the big confession?
Dal-po cries that he’s sorry for not finding him sooner, and Hyung cradles Dal-po’s face in his hands as he says that this is just the beginning for him now, and he has to battle Song Cha-ok on his own. “Show Song Cha-ok, and me, what a real reporter is.”
Dal-po is sobbing by now, and Hyung holds it together long enough to get in a pinky swear, just like the one they shared the last time they saw each other as kids, and rumples Dal-po’s hair. Dal-po clutches onto Hyung and wails into his chest, not letting go, and Hyung finally lets himself cry as he hugs him back.
At home, Dal-po bows before Grandpa, who asks quietly if he’s found a place to live (he’s moving into Hyung’s old apartment), and if he really has to leave. Grandpa says he doesn’t care what his circumstances are, because to him he’s just his son Choi Dal-po, and asks if living here was so hard for him.
Dal-po chokes back tears as he says yes. What. Why would you break Grandpa’s heart like that?? He LIES that he had a hard time living here, all the while thinking to himself the opposite: “No, I was happy, happy enough that I feel sorry to my brother.”
Grandpa’s heart sinks as he realizes how much Dal-po must have suffered, but then he’s even more heartbroken when Dal-po says he wants to reclaim his real name… and asks for Grandpa to disown him. I hate you for making Grandpa cry. They both shed tears, but Dal-po remains firm in his decision and thinks to himself, “I’m sorry Father. I don’t think I should be happy anymore.”
Dal-po packs his suitcase and Dad saunters in, looking pretty chipper about getting his own room for the first time in his life. He casually asks what happens now between Dal-po and In-ha, and Dal-po assures him that he needn’t worry anymore—they’re over.
Suddenly Dad says, “Don’t go.” Omg, I didn’t know I HAD any tears left. He apologizes for the things he said that might’ve hurt Dal-po’s feelings, and asks him not to go. But Dal-po says he’s sorry and resolutely walks out to the door, and bows to say goodbye to Dad.
It’s then that Grandpa breaks down in wailing sobs alone in his room, and that’s when I lose it too. Dad calls out to both Grandpa and In-ha to come out and say goodbye, but they refuse to come out of their rooms, and In-ha cries against her door as Dal-po leaves.
She finds their family photo left behind on Dal-po’s desk, and in his new home, Dal-po unpacks a recent photo of him and Hyung, and puts it next to their old family photo with Firefighter Dad. On Hyung’s desk, Dal-po finds a pen with the inscription, “To my little brother, Ki Ha-myung.”
Dal-po goes to visit Hyung in jail, and Hyung keep a bright face for Dal-po’s benefit and makes sure that he’ll be at the crime scene reenactment, since it’ll be the last time they can see each other on the outside.
Chan-soo’s detective team leader calls Dal-po cruel for turning his brother in for an exclusive, and Chan-soo is suddenly reminded of the rumors he started in high school about Dal-po. This time he rises to the occasion in Dal-po’s defense, and reassures him that he’ll look out for Hyung at the crime scene.
The place is teeming with reporters, and the MSC team sees Dal-po hanging back behind the crowd and turn their camera on him. But the YGN team plays interference to protect their rookie, which is sweet.
Dal-po has a hard time watching Hyung get swarmed by reporters, and they both remember what it was like to be chased down by cameras in front of their home as kids.
But Hyung is comforted by the sight of Dal-po in the background, and gives a little reassuring nod, and Chan-soo tells him that he doesn’t need to answer the reporters’ questions, ushering him past the crowd.
Dal-po can barely stand by the time he returns to the precinct, and In-ha finds him in that shaky state. He heads to the elevator to avoid her, and she runs over to steady him on his feet and ask if he’s okay.
He pushes her away and tells her that he’s fine, and when she tries to stop him again and calls out his name, he pleads, “Don’t call me by that name. I’m fine, so don’t worry about me and don’t comfort me. Don’t do anything. So that I don’t fall apart, so that I’m not shaken, don’t do anything.” All In-ha can do is stand back and watch him go.
She runs into Mom in the MSC bathroom, and Mom asks if In-ha knew that her uncle was a killer’s brother, thinking it frightening. In-ha just looks back at her with an icy cold stare and retorts, “Why, I’m a killer’s daughter. You killed someone with your words.” Dayum.
Song Cha-ok’s name becomes synonymous with “fabricated news,” and netizens go to town making parody posters of her with movie title puns. Yoo-rae puts her sasaeng skills to use in creating an anti-fan club, and uploads a snarky video of Mom’s lecture at MSC, which seen in hindsight is just Mom digging her own grave.
Yoo-rae is mostly doing this because she feels bad that she fought with Dal-po about his hyung’s story without knowing his connection to it, and says she learned that what is just a news item to them is life and death to someone else.
Mom tries not to let all the bad press get to her, but she’s in as many headlines as Hyung is, and she can’t help but be on edge. She spots Dal-po on her way to work and stops in the street to confront him, acting like she’s above it all and totally not ruffled.
But it’s Dal-po who has the upper hand, and he notes that she must be feeling desperate, since she’s answering questions he never asked, and with a shaky voice at that. “Are you afraid of me now?” She denies it, and he tells her not to ever let on even if she is, or to fall apart easily: “Otherwise it’s no fun.”
Dal-po narrates that he was curious to see what would happen to Song Cha-ok, and whether the story would flame out quickly or catch wind. In the ensuing days, the story only grows bigger, and flames get fanned as people dig up old fabricated news stories.
It grows to citizen protest outside MSC, and a third network reports the story of a man who claims that his bus driving business failed because of Song Cha-ok, who falsely reported that one of his drivers committed suicide because of him.
Mom apologizes to her director and admits to reporting the case as a suicide without checking the medical reports, and even he’s shocked at the extent of her rashness. He tells her she’ll have to give up the anchor spot if this story turns out to be true. You’d think he’d pull her off the desk anyway, given how bad things look, but whatever.
She quietly tells Il-joo to investigate the suicide case and report it directly to her, but Princess calls them out on going over his head when he’s the Cap around here. He says that there’s only one way to prove that the truth is the truth, and assigns In-ha and Beom-jo to the case. Mom looks worried, but that’s exactly what Princess wants—for them to figure out what really happened, whether she wants it or not.
Over at YGN, they discuss going after the bus driver story, and Gyo-dong puts Dal-po on it (he’s calling him Ha-myung now—I’ll consider swapping names, but I like just calling him Dal-po). Yoo-rae gives her best puppy pout, so Cap belatedly adds her to the team too.
Dal-po visits Hyung and tells him about the bus driver case, and how it’s a chance to bring Song Cha-ok down once and for all. She won an award for that story, so if it turns out to be misreported, it’s over for her.
The case involves a 40-something bus driver who was fired for embezzling a measly 600 won (Can it really be called embezzling when it’s fifty cents?) and reportedly committed suicide due to depression after losing his job. Dal-po tells Hyung that if the real story is different, it’ll be enough to knock Song Cha-ok out of the news business for good.
Hyung says he’s looking forward to it, and Dal-po asks after his lawyer. They met once but Hyung seems a little unsure, and says that the lawyer seemed a little off. Dal-po doesn’t like the sound of that and asks for the name and number. Is it a public defender? Please be who I think it is.
Beom-jo calls Mommy to tell her about his latest case, though he sounds utterly deflated as he admits that he’s trying to get over his feelings and make a clean break from In-ha, because it’s too hard being in this fight that he has no chance of winning. He intends to tell In-ha the truth about the text messages, in hopes that if she hates him, it’ll make things easier.
Mommy suggests that he give up on being a reporter too, since it’s a job he started solely to be close to In-ha, and he doesn’t put up much of a fight. He turns down an offer for a blind date saying it’s too soon for that, but Mommy insists on sending a picture anyway, and he gripes until he checks his phone and finds a picture of Suzy. HA. He totally considers it for half a second, but tells himself it’s too soon.
He takes a deep breath and holds a palm to his cheek as he looks at In-ha working, and tells himself that it’s okay—he’ll take the hits if she hits him, and the swears if she swears at him. So he sits down next to her and blurts out the truth, and she slaps him so hard that it leaves a welt on his face and knocks him cheek-first into the wall.
That turns out to be his fearful imagination, but it’s scary enough for him to reconsider the confession, and instead he asks meekly if In-ha is still mad at the person who stole her text messages for thirteen years since things might not be so bad between her and Mom otherwise.
But In-ha thinks it’s the reverse—if Mom had gotten those texts, she probably would’ve told her coldly to stop calling. She used to be mad at the text thief, but she isn’t anymore because that person was like her own personal forest, and her diary for thirteen years.
Beom-jo beams to hear that, but then it dawns on him that this wasn’t the reaction he was seeking if he wanted to cut ties with her. He mutters under his breath that he can’t clean up his feelings if she’s being like this, but it’s clear from the look on his face that he wasn’t really about to stop liking her even if she had left welts on his face.
In-ha and Beom-jo head downstairs to ask the bus company CEO for an interview, and at first he’s resistant to speak to anyone at MSC, but agrees when In-ha explains that she’s a Pinocchio. Dal-po and Yoo-rae come up and ask to join the interview, and Dal-po and In-ha realize that they’re on the same story.
He pulls her aside and orders her to drop the case, which seems a little presumptuous. But thankfully In-ha says as much and tells him to mind his own beeswax. He argues that he’s going to tear her mother down with this story, but seeing her makes it difficult for him and he hesitates out of concern for her. See how breaking up didn’t really solve the nugget of the problem, you two? Angst if you do, angst if you don’t.
But she doesn’t back down: “Don’t concern yourself with me. Fight properly, and don’t hesitate.” She says that she thinks the same—that her mother isn’t fit to be a reporter—and plans to show that to the world.
She adds, “I know how hard it is for you. You’re not fine. You cry yourself to sleep every night and you miss Grandpa every second. But because of your brother you’re pretending to be okay. I know better than anyone that you’re not fine, but I’m not going to worry and I’m not going to comfort you! Because more than anything, I don’t want you to fall apart.” I love it when she’s right.
Il-joo reports to Mom that the bus driver did die of a heart condition and not suicide, and that the family members lied six years ago because they were angry at the bus company for his unfair firing.
At the coffee shop, Beom-jo comes up to Dal-po and tells him that he’s on his side, and offers up Mommy’s power in case she can help get Song Cha-ok ousted. Dal-po gives him a funny look and Beom-jo asks self-consciously if that sounded like he was chaebol-bragging, and he swears that he hates that kind of thing but wanted to make it clear whose side he’s on. That’s so cute.
The four of them split up to interview the victim’s family and coworkers, and Dal-po decides to go see Song Cha-ok directly to ask about the story. Beom-jo hands Dal-po his ID tag so he can get inside MSC, and then stops to point out how this is clearly proof that he’s on Dal-po’s side, heh.
Dal-po finds Mom in the cafeteria and rather enjoys asking if she’s having a hard time right now, adding that he understands what it’s like to be oppressed by false rumors. She gets up to walk away and he follows to ask why she’s not suing for defamation since it’d be so easy to clear her name.
She acts as if it’s not necessary to bother with every little false rumor out there, but Dal-po asks, “Can you prove that they’re false rumors?” It’s exactly what she asked Hyung thirteen years ago outside their house. Mom finally loses her cool and shouts defensively that she CAN prove it, and Dal-po baits her by asking if she checked the medical report before reporting it a suicide.
She says that there was plenty of reason to believe it was a suicide, like his will and his family’s statements. Dal-po just keeps repeating the one question, and she erupts, “I DIDN’T NEED TO CHECK IT!” He smiles and thanks her for answering the question, and walks out of MSC with a smile, as Mom gets the word from her boss to step down from the news desk for the time being.
Yay, Hyung’s lawyer turns out to be Cha Kwan-woo (cameo by Yoon Sang-hyun), who complains that Dal-po came to see him and relayed the comment about him seeming spacey. He then opens his case file and cringes to see that he’s brought the wrong one, HA. But he promises Hyung that he memorized the case details already, and that he made sure to give his dog to his little brother too.
I’m so mad at Dal-po for lying to Grandpa and making him cry. Go sit in the corner for a week! I don’t even want to look at you! Guh, I can’t believe that’s the best he thought he could do for the family that loved him all those years and STILL loves him even after finding out his real story. What pains me is that Dal-po thinks it has to be one family or the other, like he can’t be Dal-po and Ha-myung at the same time, or else he’s betraying Hyung. He’s cutting ties thinking that he doesn’t have the right to be loved by both families, but that’s just wrong—he already IS both Ha-myung and Dal-po, and he already loves both families. That’s not cheating; that’s just lucky.
With all the pain he’s suffered, he should be scooping up every ounce of familial love the world has to offer, not denying himself happiness. Atonement doesn’t work that way. Not to mention that it’s totally not even your fault that Hyung killed people! The only reason I’m not flipping a table right now is because I trust that eventually he’ll figure this out and come back to the family that loves him, and realize that he doesn’t have to lose Hyung in the process. It’s just frustrating to watch it unfold, because until the last episode, In-ha and Dal-po were doing so well sticking up for each other and defying the standard your-mother-killed-my-mother (indirectly) angst.
But now they’re denying their own happiness for each other in the name of revenge, which is noble, sure, but maddening in that it doesn’t actually change the fact that they love each other and have the same concerns they did before. I understand the symbolic gesture in freeing each other from everything except their familial obligations, but ultimately it changes very little in a concrete way, which we see today when Dal-po still tells In-ha to drop the story. I much preferred In-ha’s approach in this episode, of just telling Dal-po exactly how it is: You’re not fine, lying liar, but fine, I won’t comfort you, doofus! I may be paraphrasing a little. If it weren’t for her moments of directness, I’d probably blow a gasket. I know, separation angst must be had, blah blah. The cosmos wouldn’t grant them happiness if they didn’t sacrifice their love with pure hearts, blah blah. Yes, but what about Grandpa?? What did he ever do to deserve this, huh? *pout*
The fact that Dal-po and In-ha are apart will likely start to become more interesting going forward, if they end up on opposite sides of the story and In-ha finds herself having to defend her mother against her own wishes. It would be too easy if Dal-po got everything he wanted in the bus driver case, all neatly tied up with a bow; he’ll likely face some ethical quandaries of his own and have to be put to the test to see if he’ll bend the truth to get what he wants, or stay on the straight and narrow even if it means that Song Cha-ok lives to deliver the news another day. I just hope there are more twists and turns along the way, because the bring-Mom-down conflict doesn’t hold a candle to Hyung’s story and the way it guts Dal-po. Thankfully, I don’t think we’re going to stop seeing him just because he’s in prison now—maybe Yoon Sang-hyun’s cameo (wheeee!) will bring the focus to his trial, giving us the chance for one more bro-hug?