Pinocchio: Episode 16
Back to cute! We get a heaping dose of romance and comedy today, because we’ve been good little beans. In place of denial comes a refreshing wave of honesty and understanding, and a nice growth spurt for our rookie reporters too—when they speak up for what they believe in, they find that they might actually make a difference in the world.
SBS announced that in light of canceling the double-header last week, Pinocchio will air three episodes next week to make up for it. Next Wednesday they’ll air both Episodes 18 and 19, leading up to the finale that’ll air as scheduled on Thursday. I don’t really have a plan for how I’m going to churn those recaps out, but I guess I’ll get there when I get there. Thanks a lot, SBS. I’ll send you a bill for the cloning machine and the heavy drinking I’ll be doing in the meantime.
SONG OF THE DAY
Younha – “뜨겁게 나를” (Warmly, Me) for the Pinocchio OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 16: “The Emperor’s New Clothes”
After Dal-po finally confesses that he can’t give In-ha up with a kiss, she stretches up on her tip-toes to kiss him back with the simple answer: “I’m the same as you.” They smile sweetly at one another, no other words needed between them.
The high of the romantic moment soon gets replaced by freezing winter, In-ha’s bleeding heels, and their inability to find a taxi, and Dal-po worries that In-ha’s in too much pain to keep walking.
He suggests going to his place since it’s nearby, and In-ha crosses her arms in a big X and stammers no like he’s just invited her to his den of sin. He finds her reaction amusing and accuses her of thinking dirty thoughts, and she says defiantly that she IS not… and then hiccups. Heh.
He swears his intentions are innocent (uh-huh), since he just wants to treat her wounds (suuuuure), calling her no different from a stray cat right now. She agrees to just five minutes then, and mutters that any longer than that would be too steamy. He picks her up and piggybacks her with a giant grin on his face.
At his apartment, he really does just clean and tape up her bloody ankles, insisting on doing it all himself. He even leads her out in five minutes as promised, only when they get to the door, the doorbell rings and Grandpa and Dad call out for Dal-po. EEP. Run! Hide!
They throw each other panicked looks, while Dad and Grandpa call out repeatedly, having heard voices inside just a minute ago. Dal-po thinks that maybe this is for the best and they can go ahead and tell the parents about their relationship, but In-ha’s eyes widen and she counters that she wants to tell them, but not like this, when they’re going to jump straight to the wrong conclusions. She’s not wrong about that.
So by the time Dal-po opens the door and lets them in, he’s stuffed In-ha in his closet. She barely gets out of sight in time, though he hadn’t counted on her hiccups. She clamps a hand over her mouth and Dal-po runs over to blast his stereo while Dad stocks his fridge.
Dal-po is busy talking to Grandpa and doesn’t notice when Dad peers at something he’s discovered on the floor: one long strand of hair that most definitely does not belong to Dal-po. He doesn’t say anything about it for now, but as they walk out, he gives Dal-po a pointed look.
With the dads gone, Dal-po runs over to free In-ha, only she’s fallen asleep. He gapes at her for sleeping at a time like this, then carries her to his bed and sits with her for a long while, gazing to his heart’s content.
In the morning, she wakes up feeling embarrassed and tries to sneak out unnoticed. But Dal-po comes out of the bathroom and tells her that five minutes passed long ago, so she might as well wash up and eat breakfast.
Now it’s her turn to gape and she wonders why them spending the night together isn’t weird for him, and he counters that they’ve eaten, washed up, and farted under one roof for thirteen years—it’s weirder for her to be making a big deal out of it.
She has no argument for that and goes to wash up, and then the second she’s out of the room, Dal-po lets out the breath he’s been holding from all the awkward tension.
Dad shares his suspicions about Dal-po having a girlfriend with Grandpa over breakfast, and complains about him bringing a girl home when he lives alone. If you only knew which girl.
Grandpa says that’s perfectly normal for his hot-blooded age, but that just gets Dad riled up more and he shouts, “It hasn’t even been that long since he broke up and he’s already dating a new girl?! You can’t do that! How can love change?”
Aww, he’s more upset that Dal-po’s moved on! Grandpa just shoots him a glance and points out the irony of a divorced man complaining about love not being everlasting, and Dad silently stuffs his face.
In-ha frowns at the sad little breakfast Dal-po has put together and decides she’ll make him something better. He just adorably flirts with her while she cooks, and she fills the table with warm food. As they sit down to eat, she notices the family pictures on his desk—of him and Hyung, of them with their parents when they were little—and starts to hiccup.
She’s still hiccupping as they finish breakfast and walk out, and Dal-po bears the awkwardness to ask her about it. In-ha admits that she can’t really reconcile all of their family issues yet, like having to hide from Dad and feeling bad towards Hyung and not being able to cut Mom off completely.
She decides that what she needs is time, to get Mom to apologize to Dal-po and his brother, and then she’ll be able to stop feeling guilty and just be free to be with him. He figures that him saying it’s okay won’t make her feel any better, and agrees to give her all the time she needs.
At the precinct, In-ha lights up when she sees Beom-jo and tells him excitedly about Dal-po sharing the blackbox footage with them, completely missing the giant cloud hanging over him. He leaves her hanging on the high-five she wants, though he mostly seems mad at himself for the things he said last night to Dal-po.
Gyo-dong gives Dal-po instructions on how to proceed with the new evidence in the chemical waste plant fire, and when Song Cha-ok happens to arrive just a few feet away, Gyo-dong gets super loud and gloaty.
Dal-po follows suit, and Cha-ok puts up a good implacable front as always, thinking it unlikely that they’ll manage to grab the attention they want with new evidence this late in the game. But once inside, the first thing she does is delete Chaebol Mommy’s phone number.
On their way into the office, Dal-po teases Gyo-dong about seeming pretty friendly with Cha-ok (whom he called sunbae), and Gyo-dong snaps that that’s an insult. They’re interrupted by Yoo-rae, who zombie-walks past them still singing Seo Taiji’s “Victory” on an infinite loop: “I was thrown away. I was thrown away.”
Dal-po asks who threw her away, and she just glares at him, “You did,” and keeps singing as she walks away. They stare at her like she’s crazy, and Dal-po asks what’s up with her. Gyo-dong contemplates it for a long beat, and then: “You must’ve done something wrong.” Ha.
They find Hyun-kyu practicing his Russian all of a sudden, and he tells them that he’s being dispatched to Sochi to cover the Olympics (since our timeline is before then). That’s cause for alarm, because it means both stations are ready to stop reporting the fire and turn all their attention to Olympics coverage.
In-ha is met with resistance at MSC, and at YGN, Gyo-dong argues with his director that they can’t let the Olympics bury the fire story. They get the same response—that they’ve turned the evidence over to the police and the real culprit will be caught now, and their focus needs to shift to the Olympics.
Dal-po storms out and stops in the YGN lobby to stare at the giant screen, remembering that it was exactly the same thirteen years ago. When the story was breaking news, people’s rage burned hot and his family had to bear the brunt of that. But by the time those responsible should’ve been brought to justice, people’s interest and anger had subsided and gotten buried under newer, bigger news.
As he narrates this, Dal-po turns into Little Ha-myung staring at the screen, and he says in voiceover, “And to change this flow, I am, as ever, young and powerless.”
In-ha confronts Mom in the cafeteria, and asks why she isn’t fessing up to her mistake. She pleads with her not to bury the story and let it be forgotten just like thirteen years ago, and hopes that the CCTV cover-up really was a mistake, otherwise Mom’s opportunity to apologize disappears altogether.
Mom wonders why In-ha is so fixated on this whole apology thing, and In-ha answers honestly, “Because it has to do with the person I like. I like Dal-po very much, so I would like it if he heard an apology from you.” That surprises Mom, and at a nearby table, Beom-jo hangs his head as their cameraman sunbae wonders how such a thing is possible.
In-ha goes with a heavy heart to the funeral of the latest victim of the fire, and is surprised to see that Dal-po is already there. He bows in apology and the widow pleads that if he’s reporter, he needs to tell her husband’s story.
Dal-po and In-ha sit dejectedly, and In-ha sighs that this story is going to get buried and they’re powerless to do anything about it. She’s surprised to hear that Dal-po’s on his way to meet his team for drinks, because she’s meeting her MSC team too, and at the same restaurant. Ha, I love their competitive team dinners.
Sure enough, the YGN team arrives to find MSC already seated in the private room they reserved, and the manager apologizes for the double booking. She ends up seating them side-by-side with nothing but a flimsy cubicle wall between them, and In-ha and Dal-po arrive together, further fanning the awkward flames.
Hyun-kyu is still really amped up because he gets to go to Russia, and on the other side, the MSC director leads his table in a cheer for all their hard work and the happy lighter Olympics news ahead of them. In-ha conspicuously doesn’t join in, and the cameraman sunbae points it out, wondering why she’s being a downer and dressed like she came from a funeral to top it off.
In-ha replies matter-of-factly that she did come from a funeral—one more person just died because of the fire, but no one came with cameras this time. Il-joo tells her she did a good job by going, but she argues that as a reporter, she had no answers for the victim’s family, and asks what it is that she did well.
It brings the whole room down, but over on YGN’s side, Gyo-dong pipes up in agreement that these are exactly the kinds of questions a reporter should be asking. Cha-ok in turn counters that it’s not useful to be harping on old news when there’s news people want to see. I love that no one is expressly talking to anyone specific, but it’s become one large discussion.
Yoo-rae does her characteristic cough-insult at Cha-ok in response, earning a thumbs-up from Gyo-dong. That finally puts a smile on her face.
In-ha argues that seventeen people have died and the person responsible hasn’t been found—how is this old news? “It might not be news people want to see, but it’s news people ought to see.”
Cha-ok wonders who decides the difference, and calls it didactic to ignore what viewers want in favor of something they “should” see. Gyo-dong asks Director Lee what he would choose: news you want to see, or news you ought to see? Director Lee hems and haws, but says that if forced to choose, the news people want to see comes first.
That takes the wind out of everyone’s sails, and Director Lee grimaces when MSC’s director heartily agrees with him. The room falls silent, then Dal-po cheerily addresses Hyun-kyu to say that he has two things he needs to tell him—does he want the good news first, or the bad news?
Hyun-kyu prefers the good news first, so Dal-po tells him that another sunbae dropped off tickets for an idol concert, and Hyun-kyu practically busts out in dance right there to hear that he’s going to see girl groups live in concert. He asks what the second thing is, and Dal-po says his health test results came in, and he has cancer.
The YGN team is near tears, and everyone looks at Dal-po and asks why he didn’t say so right away. Hyun-kyu shouts, “You should’ve told me that as soon as you knew!”
Dal-po doesn’t skip a beat and asks why—the cancer news isn’t the news he wanted to hear, so why should it come first? Ha, that’s pretty ballsy to school your director so publicly, but Gyo-dong and Editor Jo totally snicker.
Dal-po apologizes for lying about the cancer, and says he was just curious about which is more important—news you want or news you need—and looks right at Director Lee while thanking Hyun-kyu for the answer.
Hyun-kyu curls up in a ball and cries that Dal-po just toyed with him again, but Director Lee swallows his bitter pill and says no, he’s the one Dal-po’s toying with. Damn straight, boss. I love Gyo-dong’s proud little smirk. In-ha smiles proudly too, and gives Mom a cold stare.
Director Lee agonizes over Dal-po’s words, and finally comes back around to his senses. He tells Gyo-dong to focus his team entirely on the fire story, and they look over at Hyun-kyu pitifully because his winter Olympics dream bubble is about to burst.
Hyun-kyu puts on his giant fur hat in the middle of the office and screams that he can’t go to Sochi anymore because of Dal-po and his big mouth, and Dal-po tries not to freak out when Hyun-kyu mime-skis up behind him and warns of all the suffering he has in store for him.
Hyun-kyu and camerawoman Jae-hwan head out and run into Il-joo from MSC outside, and Il-joo picks at Hyun-kyu’s Olympics scab, laughing at his outfit (Hyun-kyu calls it his “was-gonna-go-to-Sochi-style”) and how his rookie wiped the floor with him last night.
But suddenly Hyun-kyu’s attitude turns around and he says that up until thirty seconds ago, he was upset about Russia, but now he thinks Dal-po was right: “You know why? Because! YOU! ARE ALWAYS! ALWAYS! WRONG!” Hahahaha.
He thanks Il-joo for making him see clearly (in Russian), and Jae-hwan proudly offers him a high-five. He high-fives her… and then suddenly interlaces their fingers right then and there for Il-joo to see, and she holds his hand right back. How. Cute. Il-joo’s pained look of jealousy is just the cherry on top.
While all the other networks air the same Olympics coverage, YGN alone chooses to stick with the fire story, relentlessly reporting it every day and digging up more about the people responsible.
That lights a fire under every department investigating the case, and it’s not long before the assemblyman who owns the chemical waste plant gets prosecuted for his illegal toxic waste dumping. It’s a big win for the good guys, and Beom-jo seems taken aback when he sees the face of the assemblyman in question on the news.
Chaebol Mommmy pitches a fit while watching YGN’s coverage, finally losing her pleasant façade and screaming at them for ruining her carefully laid plans. She answers a call from the assemblyman to say that she’ll do whatever she can, but already thinks of him as a lost cause, sighing to herself that another one of “our” politicians is lost.
As Director Lee’s voice narrates on the nightly news that they won’t stop reporting this story until all parties responsible are brought to justice, Dal-po stands over the wreckage of the chemical plant and thinks of his father.
Little Ha-myung appears next to him this time, and says that it would’ve been nice if this had happened for his father’s accident too. Dal-po agrees, and Ha-myung looks up at his grown-up self and says he really didn’t want to become a reporter and wished they didn’t exist, but he’s glad now that he is one.
Ha-myung asks if it’s all over now, and Dal-po says no—it’s just the beginning, because he still has so many questions to ask. That makes Little Ha-myung smile at him proudly, and then the vision fades away.
In-ha ducks for cover when she sees Dal-po arrive at the precinct, mostly because she’s embarrassed that MSC is just phoning in the same old Olympics coverage while he’s making a difference, and feeling sorry about it all. He clamps her lips shut and tells her she can be sorry to anyone but him, and she agrees.
The coming days aren’t any better for her, as she covers fluff pieces day in and day out. Chan-soo arrives with his family at his old precinct to thank the reporters for clearing his name, and Yoo-rae points out that really only the YGN reporters deserve his thank-you tangerines.
Dal-po defends In-ha and MSC, but that just gets Yoo-rae riled up even more, and she calls him out on bringing his feelings into this, and storms off in a huff. Everyone wonders what’s gotten into her, and Dal-po just shrugs, “I dunno. I’m often afraid of her.”
In-ha says she’s right and apologizes to Chan-soo, but he says that because of Beom-jo he’s got no hard feelings towards MSC, and his wife tells them that Beom-jo gifted them an enormous sum for their baby’s birthday.
Beom-jo drives home deep in thought, his brow permanently furrowed ever since he saw the report about the assemblyman. Every little piece of the puzzle—from this fire and the one thirteen years ago—is starting to come together and eat away at him.
He confronts Chaebol Mommy about his suspicions that it’s no coincidence how similar the two fires are, and how she met with Song Cha-ok both times before she used the same tactic to turn heads and aid in the cover-up. He remembers the assemblyman, whom he used to call ajusshi, and can’t help but link his mother to these incidents.
Mommy’s voice goes from pleasant to icy cold, and she warns Beom-jo not to be a reporter with her. She says she’ll answer all his questions if he gives up being a reporter, and takes off seemingly unfazed. But she immediately gets on the phone to tell Cha-ok they have to be careful, and to erase any history between them.
Dal-po narrates that the only thing they have the power to do is ask questions, but despite how powerless those questions appeared to be, they began to move those with secrets to act—and those actions to keep their secrets hidden only served to uncover the truth.
We see Cha-ok dig through her drawer of old phones for the millionth time immediately after her call with Chaebol Mommy. When Beom-jo returns to the station, he overhears Princess and Il-joo talking about it—how she seems to have lost something lately because she keeps digging around frantically. She finally remembers dropping her things while moving desks and sidles up to In-ha to ask if she happened to take one of her old phones.
In-ha admits to it readily, saying that she was curious about Mom having those old text messages of hers. Beom-jo eavesdrops on their conversation and picks up on Mom’s urgency about the phone, as she asks In-ha to return it first thing tomorrow.
Beom-jo waits until Mom is gone before approaching In-ha, and asks to see the phone first. In-ha wonders why everyone suddenly can’t wait to get their hands on that old phone, and Beom-jo admits that he thinks there’s a connection between their mothers and both fires… and that there might be evidence of that on that phone.
In-ha goes home and contemplates Mom’s phone, realizing that Beom-jo is right about it being wiped of all call logs and text messages other than the ones from In-ha. She decides to take it to a data recovery center, where they say it’s possible to retrieve the data… so long as she’s the registered owner.
Thankfully the legal owner isn’t Mom anymore but Beom-jo, and In-ha calls him to the center sheepishly, and he’s annoyed that she did this without him. She says it’s because this has to do with his mother too, and she didn’t want to hurt him unnecessarily. But Beom-jo tells her that he’s not as fragile as she thinks.
Meanwhile, Dal-po visits Hyung in jail and rattles off the long story about the fire, but Hyung interrupts to say that he watches the news from in there too. He joshes Dal-po about being a little stiff on camera and showing his rookie-ness, but then says sincerely that it’s a good thing that Dal-po became a reporter.
Hyung says he’ll be able to trust the news that Dal-po reports, and points to his heart, “Because this is hot,” and then to his head, “And this is cold.” He calls it the opposite of Song Cha-ok, and Dal-po smiles.
In-ha gets the call from the data recovery center that they emailed her and Beom-jo the call and text log, and she runs in to read it with Beom-jo. She looks at the list and wonders who “President” is, and Beom-jo says shakily, “That’s my mother.” It’s her old phone number.
They brace themselves and In-ha tells him to click on her texts. Gack, now I see why Mom was so antsy about getting that phone back. Chaebol Mommy texted her instructions like, “Impact over fact… you understand what that means, right?” and, “We must shield that person. Make sure [he/she] isn’t brought up as the person responsible.”
She says it’s lucky that a Pinocchio witness came forward and tells Mom to use it, and then in another text, she says, “We need a place to turn everyone’s gaze. Frame Firefighter Ki Ho-sang negatively and highlight that. If needed, the family too…” and, “Raise as much public anger as possible.”
Damn, it’s what they suspected, but to see it so baldly in black and white. Angry tears roll down her face as In-ha gets up, and Beom-jo just sits there with his eyes fixated on the screen, lip quivering as he sheds a tear.
Yeesh, that’s a double mommy whammy for ya. Poor kids. I’m sure that despite how evil Mom has been to In-ha’s face, she still had hopes that Mom was simply an egotistical reporter who refused to admit her mistakes, not the outright puppet of corruption that she’s discovering now. And even still, it has to be worse for Beom-jo, whose mother is both more evil and better at hiding it under such a tender mask. It’s a tiny lint-piece of consolation, but I’m glad they’re finding out together instead of shouldering it alone. I fully expect them to do what’s right and bring this evidence to light, which means that having one other person who knows how it feels will mean a lot in the process. Ugh, in one sense it’s satisfying to know that there’s one person to blame completely for orchestrating the things that happened to Dal-po’s family, but it’s horrible to read it in such plain words. It’s almost unbelievable how a few lines could destroy a family like that.
I feel bad for the guilt that In-ha and Beom-jo will carry with them, but I’m hoping that she won’t retreat into the same breakup cycle with Dal-po, only because we’ve already done that in the story (even though it would make more sense now, but that’s not an invitation, Show!). I much preferred this episode’s version, where they admitted their feelings AND their reservations openly, and In-ha just asked for time to figure things out.
For their relationship’s sake, I think she has to be the one to make Mom face her actions and own up to them, because right now her guilt is outweighing Dal-po’s. I wouldn’t mind some overdue guilt relief on Dal-po’s side while we’re at it, because I feel like Hyung’s being wasted on the occasional social call when he could be telling Dal-po not to deny himself happiness because of some misplaced penance. No one can stop him from punishing himself except for Hyung, who’s not really seeing any of that because they only talk about work.
I really enjoyed the return of the traditional YGN/MSC rivalry and comedy (with a side of idealism, of course), and felt that we got a good balance of lighthearted material today without sacrificing the weight of the heavier storylines. Of course it’s always nice when we just start off with the romance and cute family hijinks right away (how I’ve missed you, Family!) and remember to pause for cuteness and random acts of skinship, just because. I’m most excited about Dad finding out about Dal-po and In-ha now, especially after seeing his disappointment that Dal-po’s love could be so fickle.
Nothing really tops the Dal-po/Little Ha-myung moments though, which echo his earlier confrontations with his more idealistic and exacting past self when he failed to live up to his own standards. This time Little Ha-myung starts out illustrating his feeling of powerlessness when he realizes that even now, he can’t do anything to stop the world from burying the truth. But after sticking to his guns and asking the right questions and finally accomplishing something real, it feels so rewarding to have Little Ha-myung actually look up to him with this sense of pride.
He finally lets himself believe that he did the right thing in becoming a reporter, and more importantly, proved to himself that it’s possible for someone to stop the kind of thing that happened to his family. That means so much more than revenge, because revenge is a dead-end street with a predetermined ending; Dal-po clearing Chan-soo’s name and not letting the story die before the real culprit was caught has purpose and a future. A bright one, too, especially with In-ha by his side. (How badass was she at the not-quite-joint-dinner? So great.) The best part is that because it’s his younger self giving him that seal of approval, it felt like Little Ha-myung forgave Dal-po for trying to bury the past and move on without him. Maybe there’s a chance he’ll let himself be happy after all.
- Pinocchio: Episode 15
- Pinocchio: Episode 14
- Pinocchio: Episode 13
- Pinocchio: Episode 12
- Pinocchio: Episode 11
- Pinocchio: Episode 10
- Pinocchio: Episode 9
- Pinocchio: Episode 8
- Pinocchio: Episode 7
- Pinocchio: Episode 6
- Pinocchio: Episode 5
- Pinocchio: Episode 4
- Pinocchio: Episode 3
- Pinocchio: Episode 2
- Pinocchio: Episode 1