Pinocchio: Episode 14
This episode takes an important step forward with the plot: We’re reminded that everything in this dramaverse is connected, and a string of recent events turns out to lead us right back to the beginning. On the upside, when history repeats itself, our characters have a chance to solve both cases at once, and hopefully save a family in the process.
Note: Next Wednesday’s broadcast of Pinocchio will be preempted for the SBS Drama Awards, but Episodes 15 and 16 will air on Thursday as a double header.
SONG OF THE DAY
Every Single Day – “Challenge” for the Pinocchio OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 14: “Hansel and Gretel”
After In-ha defends Beom-jo and his mother, Dal-po stalks off looking betrayed. Chaebol Mommy hears that her son is here and rushes downstairs to see what the commotion is about. He sits by like an angry guard dog while In-ha and Yoo-rae ask for her cooperation in the Santa backpack story, but to their surprise, Chaebol Mommy is eager to help and seems remorseful that the bags sold in her mall have led to school bullying.
She even returns Yoo-rae’s aegyo finger-guns with ones of her own, and tells Beom-jo not to worry about the negative effects the story might have on their mall—if they were in the wrong, they’ll have to suffer the consequences.
In-ha is the last to leave Chaebol Mommy’s office as the group heads back downstairs, and she notices a familiar earring on the floor. She picks it up and remembers seeing it on her own mother, and then remembers Mom losing her cell phone at Beom-jo’s house thirteen years ago.
Yoo-rae finds Dal-po digging around in the trash, and asks why he never showed on Christmas Eve. He doesn’t think much of it and just tells her he was sick, and she breathes a sigh of relief. Despite Yoo-rae’s protests that Chaebol Mommy seems on the up and up, Dal-po sneaks a stash of shredded papers out of the trash bin.
Chaebol Mommy encourages her employees to comply with the interviews, though they’re pretty much showing off the backpacks like it’s a commercial. Yoo-rae thinks Beom-jo’s mommy is pretty benevolent, and when In-ha agrees, she hiccups and realizes that she thinks something’s off about her.
The story goes out on both networks that night, and Beom-jo texts Mommy another apology. But she doesn’t seem very upset at all, and replies that it’s fine and she’s repenting for her wrongs.
In-ha returns her mother’s earring and asks what kind of relationship she has with Beom-jo’s mother, outing the fact that she knows about the phone thirteen years ago and now the earring. But Mom remains composed and calls them mere acquaintances—she points out that she saw In-ha for the first time in thirteen years too, and In-ha can’t quite argue with that.
Dal-po stays up late at the precinct gluing his shredded papers together, while Yoo-rae makes moony eyes at him. He heads out for coffee and she grabs a handful of papers to help, but immediately falls asleep.
In-ha comes in and accidentally messes up the page Dal-po had almost finished before heading out, and gasps to hear that it was Dal-po’s and he had been working on it for hours. Horrified, she grabs the whole stack and runs over to Chan-soo in a panic.
She asks for his help reconstructing the shredded paper, but he’s already down in the dumps because this is his last night as a detective in the violent crimes unit, all because of that runaway Santa. She declares that this will be a meaningful way for him to spend his last night on the job, hiccups, and immediately says in the same breath, “Never mind, I guess not.” Ha.
Dal-po returns with coffees only to find his stash of papers missing, and follows the breadcrumbs of shredded papers all the way to In-ha, crouched in a corner of the precinct with a glue stick in her hand and a guilty look on her face.
They sit down to work on it together, and In-ha apologizes for jumping down his throat earlier. They both agree that something’s off about Beom-jo’s mother, and In-ha tells Dal-po about Beom-jo stealing her texts for thirteen years, and that it was possible because her mom lost her phone at his house. And then the earring the other day. They guess that Chaebol Mommy is likely not the person they think they know.
Beom-jo’s anger flares up when he sees Dal-po coming out of his mall the next morning, and asks if he came here to gloat and check out how empty the department store is. But Dal-po says it’s quite the opposite—it’s packed inside.
He holds up a purchase order he pieced together, which shows that Chaebol Mommy reordered more bags in anticipation of the news, and says that she used the news story as a marketing strategy.
Beom-jo thinks that’s absurd, but when he storms inside, it’s exactly as Dal-po described—people are mauling the luxury backpack department, desperate for the bag that was on the news. He goes straight to Mommy to ask about it, and she feigns surprise at the result.
He slams down the purchase order and asks if she really didn’t know. We flash back to the moment that Santa was caught stealing one of the backpacks, and even though her employees ask that she be lenient on Christmas (and in front of Santa’s son), Mommy wags her finger and tells them to turn him into the police.
She tells the manager that they have to have an incident in order to get news crews here, and puts in an order for more bags. Back in the present, she asks Beom-jo what’s so wrong about using a news report like that—he got his story and she sold more bags. He looks heartbroken, and as he walks away, Mommy chides herself for letting him become a reporter. This is your big takeaway?
Beom-jo walks out in a daze, and Dal-po says he’s in no condition to drive. He takes the wheel, and after a while, Beom-jo says that he was right about everything, and asks if this is what it felt like for him when he discovered that his brother wasn’t the person he thought he was. Dal-po quietly says yes, and Beom-jo sighs that he must’ve had a hard time.
They arrive at the precinct and Beom-jo cutely offers to buy Dal-po dinner to thank him, though he makes it clear that they’re still rivals when it comes to In-ha. Dal-po has something else on his mind though, and asks if Beom-jo remembers the date when In-ha’s mother left her phone at his house.
Beom-jo remembers it exactly, since that’s the day he received his first text from In-ha: October 23, 2000. Dal-po’s eyes widen—that’s the day after his mother died.
A flashback reveals that Song Cha-ok was there at Beom-jo’s house with her MSC director that day, and that Chaebol Mommy had said to her, “Don’t worry, I never abandon my people.”
It’s what she texted to Song Cha-ok recently, after asking her to step down as the anchor. Some kind of deal happened that day, though we don’t get to hear the particulars.
Chan-soo calls Dal-po after being transferred to his tiny neighborhood police station, and now he’s the one desperate for someone to come by asking for a scoop. Yoo-rae doesn’t think it’s worth the stop, but when Dal-po asks her to come along, she’s happy to mistake that for his crush. He doesn’t correct her, as usual.
They’re surprised that In-ha is already there ahead of them, and Chan-soo eagerly sits them all down to regale them with stories of his terribly unexciting cases in his tiny district, like how he ran to the rescue to put out an explosion from a butane can used to cook ramyun.
They’re about to give up when suddenly both In-ha and Dal-po dart up at the sight of their old classmate walking through the door with two kids. Heh, it’s the girl who had a crush on Chan-soo in high school, and they’re floored to realize that Chan-soo married her and has a son who looks nearly ten years old.
Dal-po: “Why didn’t you tell us?” Chan-soo: “You never asked.” Lol.
It’s only then that they learn that Chan-soo got married so young because they got pregnant right out of high school, and that they even have a third child at home. They promptly get handed invitations for baby’s first birthday, and Chan-soo’s wife asks what their deal is—they like each other, right?
In-ha gets flustered and Yoo-rae scoffs, but Dal-po just answers matter-of-factly, “We dated briefly and broke up.” Chan-soo is surprised and Yoo-rae is beside herself: “WHAT? When? Where? How much? Why?”
On their way back, Yoo-rae trails behind them and watches as In-ha fixes Dal-po’s hood and they chitchat comfortably. She tells herself that it’d be weird for someone who looks like Dal-po not to have had any ex-girlfriends, and that it’s not a problem if they dated briefly.
She wedges herself in between them, but even a casual discussion about Beom-jo moving out of Mommy’s house makes her feel like the third wheel. I’m starting to feel bad for Yoo-rae and her doomed crush.
Beom-jo moved out to get away from Mommy, only to have Mommy appear and start redecorating his new apartment as if nothing were wrong. Beom-jo finally breaks his silence to ask about her meeting with In-ha’s mother thirteen years ago, and Mommy lies that she doesn’t remember.
Beom-jo says he’ll just find out the answer himself if she won’t talk, and when she reaches up to touch his face like always, this time he turns away. She argues that he should be a son to her and not a reporter, and he coldly tells her that he doesn’t need any of the furnishings she wants to add to his new place.
Once Mommy is back in her car, she tells her secretary that Ki Ha-myung is starting to get in her way. Ruh-roh.
Grandpa sits in front of his bowl of Christmas bar nuts from Dal-po and can’t shake what Chan-soo said that night out of his head, about Dal-po feeling guilty about everything because of Hyung.
He decides to do something about it and heads out to go visit Hyung in jail (and aw, fills out the visitor form as “family”). Hyung thanks Grandpa for taking care of Dal-po all these years, and Grandpa says he wanted to tell him about the years that he missed in his brother’s life, asking if he can come often to tell him stories.
Hyung is surprised but grateful at the offer, and Grandpa begins with early pictures of him and Dal-po soon after he rescued him. I love that Hyung’s all, “Er, what’s wrong with his hair?”
Dal-po is surprised when he gets turned away at the prison because Hyung already had a visitor today, and goes to see Chan-soo thinking that he must’ve gone to see Hyung. Chan-soo says it wasn’t him, and their attention turns to the TV where YGN is reporting the story of a chemical waste disposal plant that’s currently ablaze. About thirty people are still missing.
It’s an eerily familiar scene to Dal-po, and Chan-soo is shocked too—that’s the place where he went yesterday because of the small gas explosion.
All the news stations kick into high gear and Dal-po goes to the factory, where the sight brings back all the terrible memories of the fire that killed his father. Gyo-dong assigns Dal-po to look into possible connections between this fire and other chemical waste plant explosions, and hands him all of his old research on the fire thirteen years ago.
Yoo-rae is jealous that Cap plays favorites with Dal-po, but In-ha sees that this fire is really similar to the one his father died in, and Dal-po confirms that that’s why he’s been assigned to look into a possible pattern.
Yoo-rae feels sheepish for complaining, and feels left out again when she sees them so in sync and sitting close together too. She tells herself that it’s nothing to worry about, but doesn’t look all that convinced.
Dal-po sees that there are a lot of similarities between the two fires, and Beom-jo joins them with speculation that both factories contained flammable chemicals—illegal ones. They’re surprised to see him, and he looks at Dal-po to say that someone made him curious about the fire thirteen years ago.
Meanwhile In-ha’s mom goes to meet Chaebol Mommy for lunch. Mommy asks for her help with this chemical plant fire… just like she did thirteen years ago. Eesh, it really is the worst-case scenario: Chaebol Mommy is the one who fed Song Cha-ok the lead on Firefighter Dad back then, with the order to change the news flow.
She does the same now, and passes over a thumb drive with the request that she turn the attention elsewhere. What’s scary about her is that she maintains her pleasant demeanor even when she reveals her dark side.
The rookies go over the old news stories about the thirteen-year-old fire, and find it odd that there are so few articles about the cause of the fire. It’s abnormally focused on only one aspect of the incident: Firefighter Dad.
Dal-po didn’t really notice at the time because he was in the thick of it, but they agree that reading the news stories now, it’s weirdly unbalanced. He suddenly walks out, and In-ha already knows what he’s thinking without him having to say it: He’s beginning to suspect that his father was used to turn the media attention away from the cause of the fire, and has begun to ask why.
He digs through old newspapers and runs to Gyo-dong to ask about it, and Gyo-dong confirms that they were looking into the cause of the fire until the news flow suddenly took a sharp left towards Firefighter Dad. Gyo-dong can only suspect that it was done on purpose at the time, but it’s only a feeling and he has no proof.
Just then, MSC reports an exclusive, and Song Cha-ok comes onscreen to report that a local police officer was called to the chemical plant the night before the fire, and neglected to do anything about a gas leak that could’ve prevented the explosion. Oh no. It’s Chan-soo! You can’t make Chan-soo the scapegoat!
She even has CCTV footage of Chan-soo coming and going in under five minutes that night, and a recorded phone call where he tells Song Cha-ok that he left after five minutes because it was no big deal.
Both In-ha and Dal-po are appalled that Chan-soo’s being accused of something so blatantly false, though Chan-soo watches the same report and starts to doubt himself. His detective team leader calls to yell at him for answering the reporter’s questions and digging himself into a deeper hole, and Chan-soo just asks numbly, “Did I do that? Did I do such a scary thing?”
Dal-po grabs Gyo-dong’s arm and stammers that the cop is his friend, and shouts that this is absurd—Chan-soo went that night and confirmed that a small butane can exploded, which can’t be the source of the subsequent fire.
Gyo-dong is deep in thought as he murmurs that this fire is a lot like the other one—it was the same back then, where everyone was looking into the source of the fire, when suddenly the news flow took a sudden turn. Dal-po asks how people believed such ridiculous lies—did Cap believe them too?
Gyo-dong apologizes and says it might sound like an excuse now, but he thought it was right at the time: “When a dog barks, all the neighborhood dogs bark too, not knowing the reason why. I see it now—that I was just a neighborhood dog.” He balls up his fist in anger.
Dal-po marches over to MSC just behind Cha-ok, who’s arriving after her field report. But it’s In-ha and Beom-jo who reach her first to demand an explanation and argue that the fire isn’t Chan-soo’s fault. Mom just argues that In-ha is blinded by her friendship with Chan-soo, and that at least she has CCTV footage as proof to back up her suspicions—what do they have?
Mom says defensively that she only reported on a possibility and never said it was irrefutable fact, but In-ha argues right back that the problem is that people accept the report as fact, just like they did thirteen years ago. In-ha screams as she asks if this is how she destroyed a family back then too, and Mom rails back at her bring some evidence to back up her defense then.
Dal-po interrupts them and says he’ll come back with evidence then, and prove that Chan-soo wasn’t responsible: “This flow that you’re trying to change—I’m going to put it back in its rightful place.”
In an epilogue, we’re reminded of Dad’s dilemma over a chaebol son-in-law vs. Dal-po, and we see a deleted scene where he asks Grandpa about it in hypotheticals during a game of Go-Stop. Without naming names, he describes one guy as a winning set of cards, and the other as the worst possible hand you could be dealt. But no matter how much Dad insists on the difference between them, Grandpa says that if In-ha likes the losing hand, that’s the guy for her.
Aw man, that epilogue just reminded me that we never got to see Yoon Sang-hyun’s cameo this week, which I guess means that the preview at the end of Episode 12 was an epilogue after all. Boo. That was way too short. I guess I’ll go back and add the epilogue to that recap.
After yesterday’s episode, it was less of a shock that Chaebol Mommy ended up being mercenary and cold to everyone but her son, but she turned out to be worse than just two-faced. We don’t know the extent of her involvement yet or how deep the corruption might run, but if she’s someone who has a connection to illegal explosive chemicals, and neither fire was an accident, AND the fact that workers died in both wasn’t an accident… it’s looking bad. And here I thought that her worst crime would be coddling her son so badly he wouldn’t have a shot at being a functioning adult. The twist works pretty well because it doesn’t come out of nowhere; she can’t possibly be a chaebol CEO without being a shrewd businesswoman, and that doesn’t run counter to the doting mother we’ve seen her be in front of Beom-jo. She’s simply both, and up until now Beom-jo has only ever seen her sweet side at home.
I found it really effective when Song Cha-ok—pretty much our maind villain up until this point (weird, considering that Hyung killed people)—was visibly afraid of her and did exactly as told. And the scariest part is how sweetly she handles all of these shady business deals, with a smile plastered on her face and this mother-knows-best tone in her voice. It’s super creepy because it’s so nice, when the orders she gives leads to the destruction of entire families. And now that Beom-jo’s disillusionment has begun and led him to stick to his principles over defending Mommy, I’m worried for what’s ahead. If he had just chosen to side with her anyway, I could have written him off, but now he’s headed for a world of heartbreak, the poor thing. Doesn’t anyone just get to be a reporter without having to report on the crimes of their loved ones? At least now we know why Kim Hae-sook was cast to play this seemingly peripheral character—our final war is with her.
I’m happy about how Chan-soo was brought into this as well, because at first he was another marginal side character mostly there for exposition and delivering new cases to our reporters, and the Santa case seemed like a stupid reason to be demoted. But we’ve built his involvement in the cases and his friendship with In-ha and Dal-po over time, so that once we get to this crisis, I’m glad that someone we care about is at stake in the second fire. It seemed random to suddenly meet his family (though it cracked me up the way we found out that he married his high school sweetheart), but by the end of the episode my heart sinks just thinking about his three kids. It’s a nice moment when all the threads come together and you realize that nothing is by chance, and that we’ve been working towards this conflict the whole time.
It wasn’t the most eventful episode as far as the central relationship goes (would it have killed you to throw us a cute bone or some button talk?), but I like the new arc we’ve got going, because it complicates what was an otherwise flimsy revenge plot. I want to see Song Cha-ok get what’s coming to her as much as the next person, but that conflict was starting to wear thin (especially in comparison to the more emotionally charged conflict between Dal-po and Hyung). Now there’s someone bigger and badder behind Mom pulling the strings, and it’s made the original fire far more interesting. While the setup is obvious—Firefighter Dad was the scapegoat the first time and this time they get the chance to save Chan-soo by solving both plots at once—it’s still a pretty effective way to bring all our characters together in one big showdown.