Pinocchio: Episode 13
Yay, Pinocchio delivers a sweet, heartwarming Christmas episode, filled with unexpected cheer and warm fuzzies. It’s such a relief, because I was not looking forward to reprising last week’s cryfest. Thankfully for us, no matter how much Dal-po thinks separating himself from the ones he loves is the best he can do, his family’s got a different idea about where he can take his noble idiocy and shove it.
Note: Please expect a delay for Episode 14’s recap. Happy Christmas, everyone!
SONG OF THE DAY
Sung Shi-kyung – “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” [ Download ]
EPISODE 13: “The Gift of the Magi”
After splitting up to each investigate their part, the gang reconvenes at the precinct to make sure that witness accounts line up against Mom in her misreported story about the bus driver who committed suicide. Things are looking good for Dal-po, and Beom-jo asks if he isn’t worried about how In-ha will feel; he replies tersely that he isn’t, and Beom-jo is further shocked to learn that they’re broken up.
Everyone comes back except for In-ha, who texts the group to say that the hospital’s death certificate confirms their suspicions, but noticeably avoids answering Dal-po’s call. Dal-po gets a weird feeling about her text, remembering that it’s her only way to ever lie to people, and heads out to look for her.
We see her walk up to the precinct with the hospital report in hand and a worried look on her face. A flashback to her visit to the hospital reveals that she spoke with a doctor, who showed her that the certificate was a forgery. Aw man, I knew this seemed too easy.
Dal-po comes out just seconds before she’s about to rip up the documents, and In-ha instinctively runs away. Naturally he chases her down the street, and eventually discovers that she’s hiccupping. She knows there’s no way around it, so she has to tell him the truth: The bus company president was lying, and Mom was right after all.
He bemoans the fact that it had to be In-ha who found out, and tells her that it’ll be okay as long as she keeps quiet. Oh nooo, Dal-po, that’s not how we do things around here! But he’s so blinded by his anger and his need for revenge that he says he’s still going to take her mother down, for Hyung’s sake.
Even as she’s hiccupping, In-ha agrees to keep her mouth shut if that’s what it takes. He swears he’ll see this through to the end, no matter what. Guuuys, it’s all useless if you sell your souls in the process!
Dal-po is shocked when he comes home that night to find Dad and Grandpa waiting on his front stoop. Awwww. (And yay, is Dal-po raising Hyung’s dog?) Grandpa heads inside and starts checking the apartment to make sure that it’s livable, muttering all the while that he was originally going to cut ties to spite him, but he decided he didn’t want to be rude like someone. Heh.
Dal-po can barely lift his head or look Grandpa in the eye, and can only answer his questions about the heat and the water pressure and his rice supply with tiny little chirps. Meanwhile, Dad gives the landlady an envelope along with his phone number, in case Dal-po ever gets sick. She asks what their relation is, and Dad says, “We’re brothers. He’s my hyung.” Lol, she looks at him like he’s nuts, but he declares it with a smile.
They leave as suddenly as they came, and Dal-po just follows them out like a puppy, trailing after them no matter how much Grandpa tells him not to. Grandpa turns around to declare that he will not be un-adopting him ever: “No matter what anyone says, you are my son for life!” Best family ever. Dad finally gets Dal-po to stop following them with threats of stopping their visits, and he hangs back and watches them go.
Inside, Dal-po finds a gift left behind by Grandpa—money and a scarf, with a note for him to not be stingy with the heat or skip meals. He hugs the scarf and starts to cry, as he thinks back to In-ha’s words that she knows how much he misses Grandpa and cries himself to sleep every night while pretending to be okay.
At work, Dal-po and Yoo-rae hand in what they’ve investigated so far, and Gyo-dong asks one last time if they’re not finding facts to support a predetermined result. It niggles at Dal-po’s conscience, especially when Yoo-rae answers defiantly that they’re not like Song Cha-ok.
They get sent out to catch Mom on her way to work, just like every other news outlet including MSC. Dal-po glances over at In-ha, who hangs back from the crowd of reporters and protesters, all waiting for Mom to show her face. When she arrives, her car gets swarmed, and she decides to step out. Her chauffer warns her not to, but she says if just takes a few hits, she’ll become the victim in no time.
So she steps out of the car prepared to take her public beating for the sake of the cameras, and the bus company president gets in her face to demand that she apologize. The experience of being in that crowd only reminds Dal-po of being swarmed by reporters as a kid, and when the bus company president eggs Mom right in front of him, he can’t contain it any longer and asks if he forged the death certificate.
That confuses everyone, and In-ha looks up in surprise. Dal-po confronts the man about forging the document, and he caves right away, wailing that he was angry about losing his company. The crowd runs after the conman, leaving Mom to ask Dal-po through gritted teeth what he thinks he’s doing. He says he’s doing his job as a reporter, which is what she should have done thirteen years ago.
He asks why no one believes her even when she tells the truth, or why she doesn’t even believe herself. Is she a reporter? He says he’s going to keep asking her that question, and turns to look at In-ha as he adds, “And until I hear the answer, I will not fall apart.” Woot. In-ha smiles proudly. The high road looks nice on you, Dal-po.
Mom keeps her composure and just cleans herself up in the bathroom like nothing happened, though she mutters under her breath at Dal-po’s impudence.
Back at YGN, Yoo-rae is busy telling the others about Dal-po’s big moment today and how impressive he was, sighing that if it weren’t for her oppa, she’d accept his feelings. They’re shocked when Mom announces on the news that night that she’ll be stepping down as anchor, though she plans to be out in the field like she was before.
Dal-po visits Hyung in jail and tells him about it, and Hyung is proud that Dal-po knocked her down a peg and that he didn’t stoop to her level to do it. Dal-po admits that it was because of In-ha, and that instead of thanking her, he got mad and blamed her for getting in the way. Hyung tells him to say it to her directly.
In-ha and Beom-jo watch as workers take down the giant banner of her and Mom on the MSC building, and she says that seeing Dal-po yesterday convinced her that he’d be able to forget her and move on and do everything he wants to do, and says honestly that it makes her happy because she’d felt guilty until now.
Beom-jo asks her to have dinner because it’s his birthday, and later that night while she’s away from the table, Dal-po calls to apologize, and Beom-jo picks up her phone instead. He tells Dal-po where they are and asks if he and In-ha are really over, and says that he has something to say that Dal-po should hear.
He leaves Dal-po on the line so that he can hear their conversation, and when In-ha returns, he finally confesses the truth about the stolen text messages. He says that at first he did it for fun, which turned into curiosity, which turned to longing. It’s what made him search for her in the end.
Beom-jo knows how she feels about Dal-po, and also how much she wants to erase him: “I’ll help you. Let’s date.” Dal-po hears all this and races toward the restaurant, and In-ha stammers in shock at Beom-jo’s confession.
Dal-po arrives outside and spots them, and makes a move to run inside when suddenly, In-ha replies: “Okay, let’s date.” WHAT.
But then she hiccups, and points that out to Beom-jo, proving that it doesn’t work like that for her—she can’t fool herself. Oh phew. She apologizes and starts to get up, but he keeps her from reaching for her phone and declares that they can start there then—he’ll just be so good to her that she’ll feel so bad that she can’t reject him. Uh, you’re not really thinking this is an effective and desirable way to win her heart, are you?
He adds, “I’m different from Dal-po. To me, you’re not someone who holds me back, or has wronged me.” At that, Dal-po hangs up and turns around. Augh.
What sucks most is that he doesn’t get to hear In-ha’s awesome response. She tells Beom-jo that she’s grateful for his thoughtfulness, but she won’t ever feel sorry enough not to reject him (THANK YOU), and asks that they stay friends and coworkers. She grabs the check to pay for dinner and immediately regrets it when she looks at the amount, and is relieved to hear that Beom-jo already paid.
Beom-jo looks out the window and sees Dal-po watching from across the street, and has a moment of second lead weakness as he leads In-ha out to his car with an arm around her, for Dal-po’s benefit.
Dal-po returns to the office feeling extra grumpy and takes it out on the copy machine. Yoo-rae thinks it weird that he’s starting to look sexy in her eyes, and snaps a few photos while he isn’t looking. Ha, once a sasaeng, always a sasaeng?
Mom packs up her desk for now, and when she drops her things on her way out, In-ha uses the chance to palm her old flip-phone while she helps pick up the mess. In-ha asks about Mom’s relationship to Beom-jo’s mother, and curiously, she seems pretty evasive about it.
On her way out, Mom gets a text from her boss saying, “Don’t worry, I don’t abandon people so easily.” Huh, I wonder if Beom-jo’s Mommy is the mysterious boss she answers to?
Yoo-rae asks Dal-po if he has Christmas plans (meaning a date), and he misses her innuendo as he says rookies don’t get Christmas. She flips her hair and says she’ll give him a present that’ll make him happy then, and he totally misses all her flirty glances.
They run into In-ha and Beom-jo outside the precinct, and Beom-jo holds Dal-po back to apologize for using an underhanded move the other night. But he calls Dal-po out on being pathetic for making In-ha feel guilty while not being able to hold on OR let go. Okay, he has a point.
Dal-po says he’s trying to clean up his feelings, and counters for Beom-jo not to use him or that I’m-being-helpful excuse to dress up his own feelings for In-ha. And then out of the blue, a Santa comes running out of the precinct in handcuffs, screaming like a madman.
He’s headed straight for In-ha, and all she can think to try and stop him from getting away is to throw her shoe at him. That just makes the crazy Santa even crazier, and he picks up a giant sign to swing at her.
She braces for impact, when Dal-po comes flying in between them with a kick. He knocks Santa down and guards In-ha while Beom-jo and the cops catch him. For that brief moment, Dal-po can only think of In-ha’s safety, and he holds her face in his hands as he asks if she’s okay.
Beom-jo joins in with worry, and Yoo-rae looks back and forth between the two boys fawning over In-ha, and asks Dal-po if he just didn’t see her because she’s so small. Dal-po just wonders what she’s talking about, and gets distracted by the sight of a young boy crying after Santa.
Chan-soo asks the group if they could just sweep this incident under the rug, but of course they reply in unison that they won’t. So he sits them down to tell them Santa’s story, as long as they agree to leave out the part where he escaped on Chan-soo’s watch.
Santa is a poor single father who was upset about his son being bullied and left out at school for not having some expensive designer backpack, and took up a short-term job working as a mall Santa. While there, he stole said backpack and gave it to his son.
Beom-jo wonders why he’d steal instead of buying it if it’s just a backpack, but Dal-po argues that to some people, “just a backpack” might not be affordable. It turns out to be ridiculously overpriced, and Chan-soo says it’s become a bit of a problem in schools, because kids are being bullied over this backpack… which happens to only be sold at Beomjo Mall. All eyes turn to Beom-jo.
It’s still awkward as the four reporters sit down to eat, and Beom-jo argues that this isn’t a story. But the others think there’s something there, especially in the marketing and jacked-up price set by his family’s mall. Yoo-rae even says that she got a bit of a scary vibe from his mom, and he’s offended that anyone could think badly of his angel of a mother.
But what really upsets him is that In-ha agrees that it’s a story worth reporting to their station, and he storms out in a huff. She chases after him and he knows she’ll call it in to their boss anyway, and says it’s at least another thing she’ll feel sorry for.
Dal-po watches them go with a sigh, and chides himself for not being able to let go. Chan-soo is there berating himself too, for his Santa mishap that might lead to getting reassigned to the countryside. He asks Dal-po to go out for drinks, and Dal-po scowls at the thought of spending Christmas Eve with Chan-soo, but doesn’t really have better plans.
So they drink beer and sigh at all the happy couples around them, and Dal-po wonders what Chan-soo is doing with him when he has a wife at home. Chan-soo points out that if he goes home on Christmas to tell his wife he got demoted, he’ll be a dead man, and Dal-po just makes cute pouty faces at him.
He admits to feeling sorry about everything right now because of Hyung—he’s sorry that he can drink, walk the streets, laugh, or swoon at the sight of someone. As Dal-po gets drunker and drunker and recounts all the things he’s sorry about, he stuffs his pockets full of the free beer snacks sitting on their table.
By the end of the night, Chan-soo is piggybacking Dal-po home, which is a pretty hilarious visual. In his drunken stupor, Dal-po gives Chan-soo the address to Grandpa’s house, and Chan-soo goes through this long introduction to remind Dad and Grandpa of who he is, and ends up collapsing with Dal-po on his back.
Chan-soo tells Dad and Grandpa about all the things Dal-po feels sorry for because of his brother, and Dal-po suddenly wakes up with a big goofy smile. He reaches into his pockets and scoops out the snacks he stowed away—nuts for Grandpa, squid for Dad, and In-ha’s favorite chips.
He empties them into their hands with the cutest little ta-da: “I gotchoo Christmas presents!” I love drunk Dal-po. Chan-soo realizes that’s why he was stuffing his pockets with random snack foods, and Grandpa hugs him close.
Dal-po wakes up in his old bed and sees In-ha in his room, and she tenderly feels his forehead and tells him he’s got a fever. He sees her wearing the dream button that she gave back to him, and realizes this must be a dream.
She tucks him in and gets up to go, but he grabs her arm: “I can’t hold on to right now. But… don’t go to someone else, okay?” She tells him she won’t, and he reaches up to touch her face: “I don’t want to wake up…”
He does eventually wake with a smile on his face, only to be horrified to discover that he’s been snuggling Chan-soo all night. Hee. Dad comes in to tell them he’s made hangover soup and Dal-po fidgets, not knowing what to do.
He ends up sitting down at the table, and Grandpa feels his forehead to make sure that his fever has gone down. Dad tells In-ha to do something about Dal-po’s hair, and the air gets really awkward when she fixes it like she always used to.
So they eat Christmas breakfast together like a family, and as they head out for work, Chan-soo says it’s a relief to see that Grandpa didn’t collapse in shock over Hyung’s case. He gets a call from “Grim Reaper,” and gets on his knees to beg forgiveness from his wife.
In the elevator, Dal-po says he’s sorry, not about the drunken sleepover, but about asking In-ha to cover up the bus driver’s death certificate. He admits he crossed a line, and she says she was initially disappointed, but was impressed by the things he said to Mom.
She says that seeing him do what he wanted without holding back for her sake made her happy, and now she’s comfortable around him. He starts to ask her something, but decides against it.
Yoo-rae has been sitting in the precinct all night with a giant bow on her head, and pouts that Dal-po never showed. When Dal-po and Chan-soo arrive, Santa’s son is there again, and Chan-soo sighs that it’s too bad Beom-jo’s mother is being such a hardass about Santa’s case.
Everyone else is saying that Santa deserves some pity, but Chaebol Mommy insisted on pressing charges. Chan-soo sweetly puts his earmuffs on the boy and tells him to go home.
Gyo-dong tells Dal-po to stick with the story and get useful footage a different way, so he heads to the mall with a camera crew. Beom-jo is waiting outside and asks Dal-po to take it easy and not transfer bad feelings to his mom, but he grows increasingly agitated as he watches Dal-po storm into the luxury bag department and sneak footage, complete with Yoo-rae’s rich high-schooler cosplay to get the salesperson talking.
Beom-jo finally erupts and tells Dal-po to quit it, and they get in each other’s faces, tempers flaring high. Beom-jo says his mother isn’t the kind of ruthless person Dal-po is making her out to be, and Dal-po says it sure looks like that way to him.
In-ha arrives with the MSC crew and she manages to break up the fight, but Dal-po is incensed when she sides with Beom-jo and says it’s too early to jump to any conclusions about his mom.
Meanwhile, Chaebol Mommy receives a text from Song Cha-ok that she’ll be waiting, and it turns out that she’s been the powerful backer all along.
Dal-po walks away feeling like utter crap, and opens up his wallet with a long sigh. Inside is his dream button where he always keeps it, confirming that his dream of In-ha really was nothing but a dream. He takes it out and goes to throw it in the trash, but can’t quite bring himself to do it.
At home, Grandpa notices that Dad’s shirt looks too big for him, and he says it’s Hyungnim’s… and we see that it’s actually missing TWO gold buttons. Eeeee.
Beom-jo thanks In-ha for taking his side, and she tells him not to misunderstand—she isn’t taking his side. And we see that she’s wearing the second gold button around her neck.
It wasn’t a dream! I was waiting for the necklace reveal at the breakfast table because I was hoping it wasn’t a dream, but then I totally fell for the fakeout when he finds the button still sitting in his wallet. But I love the double whammy of cuteness, in finding that even after he’s gone, Dad seeks out Dal-po’s old shirts to wear like a real little brother, and In-ha has stolen a second button to replace the one she gave back.
I’m a little disappointed in Beom-jo going the way of a classic meddlesome second lead, especially after getting a taste of his possible friendship with Dal-po last week. He still isn’t hateful or anything, since he’s coming from a well-intentioned place; it’s just totally misguided. I dislike the emotional blackmail method he thinks he can employ to win In-ha over. I mean, what kind of relationship would you even get if the girl finally felt sorry enough to cave and date you? It’s mostly sad in a pathetic way since it’s not going to work, but I do like that In-ha shoots him down immediately. She’s so refreshingly matter-of-fact about everything, and I love her more with every calm, reasonable thing she says.
It sucks that Dal-po didn’t get to hear her rejecting Beom-jo, but I suppose it’s worthwhile to have him worry a little about losing In-ha to someone else, because Beom-jo was right about him being unable to hold on or let go. This limbo is just him trying to convince himself that he can move on, even though he’s running to In-ha at the first sign of trouble, or the first sign of another man’s interest. And now that we know his dream with In-ha wasn’t a dream after all, at least his unease and jealousy fueled him to show a moment of weakness and ask her not to go to someone else. It’s still not as far as we really want—he’s still stuck not being able to hold on, but at least he asked her not to go?
I’m just glad he took the high road when it came down to revenge vs. integrity, and that it affirmed for In-ha that this is why she loves him. It has the double purpose of lifting her guilt, because she sees that he can still fight without compromising himself for her. I just don’t know that this whole revenge/guilt setup is as dire as they’re playing it, since he’s managing just fine to be a good reporter who seeks the truth over his personal feelings. That’s what I think he’s doing in the latest case, though it’s interesting to put Dal-po on the offensive when he should understand better than anyone what Beom-jo is feeling as he defends his mother blindly. I’m sure they’ll work it out, though I worry more for Beom-jo in this case, because I think his precious angel mommy is perhaps only an angel in front of him. She probably didn’t become a chaebol CEO by being nice, and we also have her mystery connection to In-ha’s mother to figure out.
But in today’s episode, it’s Dad and Grandpa who stole my heart. You just can’t beat the love of a parent who meets rejection and heartache with just more love. I hated that Dal-po left Grandpa behind and made him cry, but man, when Grandpa showed up at his door and said he won’t let Dal-po stop being his son, the heartache was worth it for that. And coming home for Christmas drunk off his rocker with pockets full of Family’s favorite snacks? So. Great. I’m just relieved that we got a holiday episode of sweet family reunions to break up the sadness parade from last week, which was touching in its own way, but hard on the tear ducts. And it’s mostly thanks to beer, which cracked me up—apparently all I need for Christmas is drunk Dal-po and his finger-guns.