Pinocchio: Episode 8
You know you like a character when you see very plainly how everything’s about to go terribly awry for him, but you keep telling yourself that it’ll be okay—through some kind of magic, he won’t be faced with his most devastating heartbreak yet, and he’ll come out on the other side without losing anyone he loves. If we say it enough times, it’ll come true. That’s totally how this works. You’ll see.
Note: Next week’s recaps will be a little late, but I’ll be working hard to get them out as soon as I can!
SONG OF THE DAY
Every Single Day – “Non-fiction” for the Pinocchio OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 8: “A Lucky Day”
As Dal-po is suddenly confronted with the brother he’s been searching for, he looks down at Hyung’s outstretched hand with hesitation. He narrates that he thought he’d run and hug his brother when they finally reunited, that the tears he’d held back all this time would flow like a river.
But things look bad for Hyung, and Dal-po can’t shake what he already knows about the container fire, and the fact that he came here to meet the plant manager’s possible accomplice.
Dal-po (voiceover): “I had the terrible feeling that Hyung might’ve made a choice that shouldn’t be made. I was afraid.” So he answers, “My name is Choi Dal-po.”
What Dal-po doesn’t know is that Hyung turned the plant manager’s phone on just before arriving in the busy square, which brings Chan-soo and a team of detectives out looking for their murder suspect.
Dal-po catches them arriving out of the corner of his eye, and hurriedly drags Hyung into a café. But of course Chan-soo happens to see Dal-po’s face in the crowd and calls to see where he is, only to have Dal-po lie that he’s at the station. D’oh.
Hyung tries to give Dal-po the money back for the bumper, insisting that his coworker accepted it without his permission since he never intended to collect. Dal-po in turn offers a new envelope of more money, and the brothers sit there pushing their envelopes back and forth at each other until Hyung finally says they’ll just take one each and call it even.
Dal-po worries about him getting into trouble at work for the truck not being fixed, but Hyung says it belongs to him—he’s been delivering water for ten years now, and owns the truck outright. Hyung asks about his job, and Dal-po says he used to drive a taxi… but can’t bring himself to admit that he’s a reporter now. He lies that he’s unemployed.
So Hyung jumps up to buy the coffee then, and when Dal-po protests, Hyung asks how old he is and pulls rank: “I’m the hyung, so I buy.” Oof, the way Dal-po looks up at him with stars in his eyes as he says, “Yes, Hyung.” He even copies Hyung’s order and I just want them to hug so badly, it’s making me crazy.
They walk out together, and suddenly Hyung throws his arm around Dal-po and looks at their reflection in his truck window: “Do we look alike?” Dal-po is shocked that he might recognize him, but Hyung says that his coworker said they looked alike, but he doesn’t really see it. Dal-po: “Yes, we do. We look a lot alike.”
Hyung tells him that he’s a good person for leaving his number after hitting his bumper, and when they shake hands to say goodbye, Dal-po holds on a little longer, like he can’t bear to let go. “Hyung… can I call you that?” Hyung wonders when they’d see each other again, but agrees to let him and takes off.
Dal-po quickly gets in a cab and follows him home, and narrates that there were a million questions he wanted to ask Hyung when they finally met—whether he’d lived well, was ever sick, had gotten married. But now, only terrifying questions are swimming through his head, like why he’s on the list of calls last made by the man who falsely accused their father and is now missing.
He wonders if it could be coincidence or something more, and walks up to ring Hyung’s doorbell. But he pulls back as he thinks that the possibility that it isn’t is too frightening and cruel to handle.
Dal-po’s team leader Hyun-kyu is pacing in the halls, his fuse already burnt to a crisp at the fact that Dal-po ran off without permission and isn’t even answering his calls. Editor Jo asks which of his newbies is making him crazy—Sasaeng or Cockfight? Ha. Editor Jo says it’s his fault for not being hard enough on them (really, you’re telling the scary team leader he’s not scary enough?) and Hyun-kyu declares that Cockfight’s going down.
Dal-po comes back to the station and simply apologizes for being late, and Hyun-kyu starts lighting into him. But Dal-po calmly interrupts to say that he has a question, and Editor Jo jumps in to say that this is a time for him to be punished, not ask questions.
Dal-po ignores that and asks anyway what he’s supposed to do if he finds a suspect before the police do, and suddenly both Hyun-kyu and Editor Jo change their tune entirely, and Editor Jo says they’d be able to get footage of the arrest as it happens, practically drooling at the thought. They congratulate him and ask who the suspect is… and Dal-po says he didn’t find anyone. Phew.
Hyun-kyu and Editor Jo stand there agape as Dal-po says he followed every lead like Hyun-kyu taught him and will continue to do so, and walks away. They look at each other and wonder if Cockfight just toyed with them, and Director Lee walks by and says that’s exactly what happened, heh. He looks over at Dal-po, a little impressed.
Over at MSC, Beom-jo follows his team leader Il-joo all the way to the men’s room to beg not to be put on a different team, and over in the women’s restroom, In-ha overhears Il-joo and Princess arguing about whether Mom is helping In-ha out behind everyone’s backs.
Mom happens to be there too, and In-ha follows her out to ask that she defend her, or at least give her credit where credit is due. The boys listen in, as Mom coldly tells her to call her by her title at work, and says that In-ha doesn’t deserve the same treatment as other reporters who got here on their own merits.
The other guys have to stop Beom-jo from running over to interrupt them, and they watch In-ha’s face fall as Mom tells her that nothing’s changed—she still thinks that In-ha isn’t fit to be a reporter.
Gyo-dong contemplates a post-it with Hyung’s name and number on it, then calls Dal-po over and tells him he found his brother. Dal-po grabs him in a bear-hug and thanks him profusely, and when Gyo-dong pries him off in embarrassment, Dal-po just clings to him even harder, and wraps a leg around him. They look like they might be making babies in the middle of the office.
But it turns out to be Gyo-dong’s imagination, and he decides that would be far too mortifying. So he calls Yoo-rae over instead, and tells her to give the post-it to Dal-po. He watches from his desk in anticipation, but then Dal-po takes it and simply gives him a silent solemn nod of acknowledgment.
Gyo-dong is even more flustered at the lack of overflowing gratitude and mutters, “That’s…it?!” Hahahaha. He wants his cuddles!
He follows Dal-po out to the elevators and points out that he used all of his contacts to get him that number, and swears he’s not fishing for credit or anything, but he put a lot of effort into it thinking Dal-po wanted to find his brother.
Dal-po says soberly that he’s a little hesitant about calling now, because he’s scared that this person might not be the hyung he knew. “Thirteen years is a long time.” Gyo-dong watches him go feeling more confused than ever.
In-ha walks out of work still frustrated over Mom’s coldness, and yells at her growling stomach for adding to her troubles. Of course she happens to be standing right outside the restaurant where Dal-po is eating, and she runs off, embarrassed. He calls to tell her to eat, promising not to say anything.
She comes in and finds that he’s already ordered for her, and they swap egg parts like always. She asks why he’s eating alone when he could call his girlfriend, and he finally tells her the truth about Hye-sung Navi. She takes this in with a quiet, “Ah.”
The meal breaks the ice between them, and on their way home In-ha tells him about Mom and admits that Dal-po was right about her creating a Mom fantasy in her head. She says that it’s extra disappointing because she spent so many years building up those expectations, and he says he gets what that feels like now.
She wonders how he’d know, but he just says that he gets it—you wish you could go back to before you reunited, because then at least the fantasy made you happy, whereas now the more you get to know the real person, the more it pains you.
In-ha smiles and says that’s exactly how she feels. She wonders if they’ll be able to go back to the way things were—comfortably chatting as uncle and niece, like this. Dal-po stops in his tracks at that and says, “I can’t do that now.” Whoa.
Dal-po: “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. Can you?” In-ha turns around and says that she can… and hiccups. Eeeeee! She tries to run away, but he follows her into the crosswalk and spins her around to face him, and then leans in for a kiss.
She throws a hand over her lips, so Dal-po just kisses her gently on her hand instead. There are no words spoken between them, but he watches her as she lowers her hand and looks up at him with different eyes.
He smiles and pulls her in for a real kiss—or kisses, as the case may be—sweet and soft and tingly, as the snow comes down around them. Proper swoon.
The heavy snowfall becomes news fodder by the next day, and both stations send reporters out to catch footage of people having accidents on the icy roads. It seems callous to set up cameras just to catch people slip and fall, but I guess this is what reporters do.
In-ha gets her first assignment to be on camera, and dances in excitement as the other reporters at the police precinct look on jealously. She high-fives Beom-jo so hard that he yowls in pain, and she skips off to call Dad for clothes so that she’s presentable on camera.
Meanwhile, Dal-po chases Chan-soo down to ask for updates, and Chan-soo asks if he happened to be out in that busy shopping square last night, because he thinks he saw him there. Dal-po sticks to his story and says he must’ve been mistaken, and Chan-soo lets it go, but we see that he even followed Dal-po and saw him walk away with another man. He wonders now why Dal-po would have reason to lie. Uh-oh.
Dal-po is even more worried when he finds out that the reason Chan-soo showed up there is because the plant manager’s cell phone turned on in that square. Dal-po shakes the gnawing suspicion out of his head: “It can’t be. It can’t be.”
In-ha runs up to declare her big happy news, and pouts that Dal-po’s congratulations aren’t congratulatory enough. So he swoops her up in a hug, and then she’s freaking out that people will see. He just holds on and says he’ll congratulate her, if she’ll tell him it’ll all be okay. She wonders what’s going on with him, but he won’t say, so she pats him on the back and tells him everything will be okay.
Dal-po jokes that he’s jealous she’s the first of the rookies to be on camera, and asks if she’s going to wash herself, since she looks terrible right now. Ha.
She doesn’t argue and says she’s on her way to wash up, which she has to do in the police bathroom sink. Only, the water gets shut off after she’s worked shampoo into her hair, and she looks around in desperation for water… and her eyes land on the toilet. OH. NO. Don’t do eeeeeet!
The next thing we know, she’s drying her hair in the hand-dryer and putting on makeup. You didn’t. Say you didn’t. She walks out good as new and smelling of shampoo, and then the camera pans down to one of the toilets filled with soapy water. LOL.
Dad and Grandpa make their way to the police station with In-ha’s clothes, and Dad complains the whole way there about having to run errands for his daughter for something so insignificant. But the second they arrive, Dad is suddenly asking every single person he sees if they know where he can find, “My daughter Choi In-ha, the very first reporter out of her colleagues to be on camera!” He’s so adorably proud.
They’re shocked when they arrive at the reporters’ hovel, and Dad is especially worried to realize that In-ha sleeps in here with all these other people… including Dal-po. One of the guys says that Dad needn’t worry—they’re all too bleary-eyed here for romance, though he catches himself and says that he might want to worry about Dal-po since he likes somebody now.
Alarmed, Beom-jo jumps in to say that Dal-po likes Yoo-rae, and points her out. Grandpa beams and Yoo-rae stands there wide-eyed, and chides herself for not having noticed allllll of the obvious signs.
She runs into Dal-po and tells him that she’s sorry, but she has zero feelings for him, and doesn’t have any room in her heart for another man, holding up a picture of her idol oppa on her phone. Ha, well, she is a sasaeng.
He has no idea what she’s talking about, and tries to interject that there seems to be some kind of misunderstanding, but she refuses to let him say anything and just says that she’ll respect his feelings and he should respect hers. She says they’ll never speak of this again, and walks away before he can ever correct her. Pffft.
Beom-jo fesses up to making up the lie, which gets Dal-po all riled up, that is until Beom-jo tells him that Dad and Grandpa are here and were seconds away from finding out about him and In-ha. Dal-po can’t exactly argue with that reasoning and shuts up.
In-ha gets dressed and asks Dad and Grandpa how she looks. Dad: “It’s amazing. They make makeup that makes you uglier?” Heh, I love that Dad will only make fun of her to her face, even though he’s so proud behind her back. Dad is particularly excited when he sees Beom-jo’s mommy come by to give them earmuffs and hotpacks, and learns that In-ha’s well-mannered partner is a chaebol heir.
Both YGN and MSC teams head out to get footage of people slipping on icy roads, and it becomes a battle for the best locations. In-ha has a map of slippery spots prepared by her real estate agent father, while Dal-po knows some good spots from his taxi driving days.
As they spread out to scout locations and ask local residents about bad roads, Dal-po ends up back in front of Hyung’s house, and takes the opportunity to peek inside his truck and try to open the door. It’s terrible timing, because Hyung happens to be coming back home in time to see Dal-po there acting suspicious.
The worst part is, a neighbor comes by calling him “Reporter Man,” and tells him about an icy road she just found. Hyung’s eyes widen as he realizes that Dal-po is a reporter, and that he might’ve approached him on purpose. This is bad.
Meanwhile, In-ha finds a great spot with icy stairs for her team to shoot, except that she starts to hiccup when they stand there watching people hobble down the steps, just waiting for them to fall. Beom-jo instinctively helps a man who falls, and In-ha realizes that it’s niggling at her conscience. Their cameraman yells at them to stop helping people, but In-ha can’t stop hiccupping, until Beom-jo finally steps in to save a group of kids from falling.
Back at the station, the MSC director can’t believe they have to scrap the piece because of In-ha’s hiccups, but Mom says she already sent out other teams knowing this would happen, and they have footage from them. The director wonders what use In-ha will be if she can’t even do a simple story like this, and Mom says that she’ll take care of In-ha shortly. Damn, is she already going to get fired?
In-ha and Beom-jo return and get yelled at by Princess, and In-ha can’t even apologize without hiccupping, and admits that she doesn’t know what she did wrong. Is it so wrong to help people?
Princess screams at them that if they want to save people they should go into volunteer work—a reporter’s job is to report the news, and make it seen by people, and lawmakers, and the president. He points out the shortsightedness of only saving those people on those stairs. Because in that time, they could’ve reported the problem on the news and caused the city to make changes on multiple icy roads. Dang it, he has a point.
In-ha finally understands and apologizes, and asks for another chance. She gives up doing the on-camera report, and just asks for another shot to get footage of falls. Princess gives her one last shot, and Mom tells him that if In-ha doesn’t come through this time, he has to fire her.
Dal-po and his team return to the station, and when Yoo-rae slips on her way out of the car, he stoops down to help her up, and she makes a big deal of refusing his help. He seems to have given up trying to explain himself by now, and just lets her think whatever she wants. It turns out that Hyung has followed him all the way back, and he watches warily as Dal-po heads back to YGN.
Princess waits by his phone, nervous about In-ha after raising a big stink, but is delighted to get the report that she’s doing a great job and even getting interviews with locals. Princess makes a point of repeating all that loudly in front of Mom, and points out that they needn’t fire her anymore.
Mom isn’t so sure and wonders if Princess is trying to pick a fight over this, but he says he learned something from In-ha today—that a reporter should have those concerns and crises of conscience, because that’s what sets them apart from tabloid news. He thinks that In-ha will become a good reporter someday.
Dal-po and Yoo-rae head back out to return to the precinct, and Yoo-rae asks to take separate cabs because all this closeness makes her uncomfortable. He just complies and lets her take the first cab, and laughs to himself.
But when he’s alone, he turns to find Hyung standing there glaring at him. Hyung asks if he’s a reporter at YGN, and why he lied about it, and what he was doing snooping around his place. Dal-po backs up, a little frightened, and says that he happened to be in that neighborhood and saw Hyung’s truck.
Hyung slams him up against a tree and screams, “Don’t ever call me hyung again! Don’t come near me! All reporters are horrible and disgusting!” Ugh, it’s the same thing that Dal-po once said to Gyo-dong, but to hear it directed at him from his own brother is so heartbreaking. He storms off angrily, leaving Dal-po crushed.
A drunk driver gets caught at a checkpoint, but stupidly decides to try and make a break for it in his big truck. Great, we have a truck of doom and a drunk idiot behind the wheel? What could possibly go wrong?
In-ha and her team are set up to shoot an intersection and agree that they’ll just spend ten more minutes before calling it a day. In-ha asks their cameraman if he never had their doubts, and he says of course he did. It’s just that you do this enough times and find yourself even hoping for the unthinkable—for something terrible to happen right before your eyes. Well, you had to go and say that. Now you’ve jinxed us.
Hyung’s truck happens to stop at that very intersection, where he’s stopped at a red light and up ahead, a little boy is slowly hobbling across the street with a crutch. The cameraman shoots in the boy’s direction in case he slips and falls, but then they start to hear sirens blaring in the distance. Oh no.
What’s terrible about this is that everyone can see what’s happening from a mile away, but there are so many things going on at once. The high-speed chase comes closer and closer, as the drunk driver gets more and more reckless trying to outrun the cops. They start to come towards the intersection head-on, and Hyung looks over at the little boy and all he can see is his little brother Ha-myung.
The boy tries to hurry across the street but trips and falls, and the truck comes barreling down the street and suddenly swerves, which sends it toppling over onto its side. BUT it’s at the top of an incline, and the icy road sends it sliding down the hill right at the little boy. Ohmygod.
The reporters are frozen in place and the little boy braces for impact… when suddenly Hyung’s truck shoots out and careens into the oncoming truck, bringing both to a dead stop.
The cops pull the drunk driver out and Hyung stumbles out of his truck. I don’t even know how he’s still walking, but he comes over to the little boy and asks if he’s okay, calling him Ha-myung. He’s relieved to find that the kid is safe, and then collapses on the boy’s shoulder, bleeding from the head.
Wait, Hyung can’t die, can he? That would be too mean. Even if he killed those people and went dark, there has to be a chance for Dal-po to regain that relationship, even if it takes a lifetime of visits to the penitentiary. Right? Agh, if Hyung dies before Dal-po gets to say everything he didn’t say, I’ll never forgive youuuu! I honestly don’t think Hyung can die, because Dal-po has yet to face his biggest conflict—whether or not to come forward with his increasingly intensified suspicion that Hyung is a murderer, and what to do about that story as a reporter.
It’s already such a crackling conflict when Hyung finds out what Dal-po does for a living, and spits the same vicious words back at him that he used to say about reporters. And because he lied, Dal-po has no defense and can’t even backtrack to the truth because Hyung has already decided he isn’t trustworthy. I have no idea how Dal-po can salvage this, but I swear, if I don’t get my sobbing brotherly reunion, I’ll take back every nice thing I said about this show. I will! I’ll do it!
One of the things I’m enjoying about this drama is the stuff in the periphery—side characters from both stations who make me laugh in the two seconds they have onscreen, the rookie partnerships, the wacky but adorable parents, and the everyday problems of living ’round the clock at the police station and having to wash your hair in toilets. *shudder* Up until now, Beom-jo and his mommy had the most personality, but Yoo-rae has become more interesting in this episode, as well as Princess and the MSC staff. Of course, he still doesn’t beat gruff-on-the-outside, marshmallow-on-the-inside Gyo-dong. C’mon, Dal-po, all the man wants for Christmas is a bro-hug!
The title of the episode is a reference to a 1924 Korean short story, about a poor man who never had a lucky break his whole life. Despite his wife’s protests he goes out to work and has a fantastically lucky day and makes a lot of money, only to return home to find that his wife has died. So I sort of knew going in that there’s no such thing as a lucky day, and that any luck that befell our characters would come back tenfold in bad luck… but still I didn’t expect this. I must’ve been distracted by the kiss halfway through—it made me forget that I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
In all fairness, it was a very distracting kiss. I like the easy chemistry between our leads, and the way that scene progresses with tiny looks and changes in expression. What really works for me in this relationship is that In-ha is so likable that when Dal-po looks at her like he’s over the moon, I get it. It did surprise me that he suddenly went from barely being able to touch her, to a backhug with empty excuses about being cold, to sudden kisses, and perhaps that overarching progression feels a little like we’re skipping some steps.
But I won’t complain about a romance that barrels along at a zippy pace, and it’s made possible by the fact that In-ha can’t hide her feelings in any way. Maybe Dal-po couldn’t handle pretending that he didn’t hear her hiccupping confessions any longer. It’s also sort of refreshing that the obvious angst (their complicated family dynamic) isn’t enough to stop them from expressing their feelings, though I do get the sense that Dal-po is just burying his head in the sand for now. It’s bound to come up when Dad and Grandpa find out, but after today, I’m with him on this one—let’s keep it a secret for as long as possible.