Pinocchio: Episode 18
This episode is our big windup before the final pitch, where all our characters choose sides and reveal their true colors. Some are more conflicted than we might’ve anticipated, while others are far more principled than we gave them credit for. Well, when you start the show a soulless vulture who feeds off of other people’s tragedy for news fodder, there’s nowhere to go but up?
Pinocchio aired both Episodes 18 and 19 back-to-back, so I’ll be plugging away at the next episode as soon as this recap goes up. I’m doing my best to keep up before the finale comes barreling along, so please be patient; they’re coming, I promise! *chugs coffee*
SONG OF THE DAY
Noel – “목소리” (Voice) [ Download ]
EPISODE 18: “The Red Shoes”
Once Dal-po passes the evidence—and the burden of reporting the big story—to Song Cha-ok, she leaves in tears and locks the incriminating envelope away in her desk. She regains her composure, but then two seconds later, In-ha returns to the newsroom to get her job back.
Princess and Il-joo are adorably happy to see her, and assure her that she’ll have plenty of opportunities in the future to make her voice heard if she keeps quiet about Mom’s shady dealings with Chaebol Mommy.
But In-ha corrects them—she’s not here because she’s going to keep her mouth shut. She’ll be doing the opposite, in fact, and says she respects Princess and quotes verbatim the big speech he gave her about a reporter’s duty to make news heard. He pretends not to remember, but she just says cheerily that she trusts him to do the right thing.
Over at YGN, Gyo-dong can’t understand why Dal-po would hand over their smoking gun, and senses that he’s being overly confident in his plan to ignite Song Cha-ok’s conscience. But Dal-po admits that he has a contingency plan too: He’s got an informant. It’d better be Beom-jo!
He keeps the informant anonymous, as requested, but we cut over to Beom-jo walking out of Chaebol Mommy’s office, where he runs into Song Cha-ok on her way in. She tells Chaebol Mommy that the evidence was turned over to her and destroyed, so they can rest easy.
But when Chaebol Mommy requests to meet with In-ha, Mom comes up with the excuse that they no longer need her, and gets up to leave. Chaebol Mommy remains eerily pleasant, as always, and notes pointedly that this is the first time that Song Cha-ok has denied her a favor. Gulp.
When Mom returns to MSC, she tells Princess that she won’t be attending their pitch meetings anymore, and Princess pumps his fists in geeky glory, finally declaring the room his. Except, of course, he’s just exchanged Mom for Daughter, and In-ha becomes the loudest voice in the room as she pitches the exposé on Mom and Chaebol Mommy.
No one is keen on the idea of ratting out their bosses, and Il-joo puts it to a vote. In-ha is the only one to raise her hand… but then Princess raises his ever so slightly. As soon as people notice, though, he chickens out and goes with the majority.
After the meeting, Princess complains that In-ha keeps poking at his conscience and it’s driving him crazy. He decides to do go ahead and pitch the story up the chain, knowing that Mom will just shut it down immediately. That way, he gets to do the right thing but not lose his neck.
Except… Mom tells him to go ahead and chase the story. Princess gapes as she just calmly tells him that she’ll be reporting it herself, so they need to do a good job. He slumps over at the table in shock, and calls his wife to tell her to pack up their life abroad because he’s about to lose his job.
Il-joo watches this latest development with a wary eye, and then spills the beans to their director, who immediately calls Chaebol Mommy. Dammit, I knew you couldn’t be trusted! She doesn’t even seem surprised that Song Cha-ok has turned against them, though the question is what she’ll do in retaliation.
Dal-po walks In-ha home that night and asks after Grandpa’s health with concern, though he stops short of going inside. Whhhy. Go visit Grandpa!
She starts to head home when suddenly a motorcyclist whizzes by nearly running right over her, and Dal-po pulls her back at the last second. In-ha doesn’t think much of it, but Dal-po looks worried. Uh-oh, has In-ha become the target to scare Mom straight?
When Dal-po gets to his apartment, he finds Beom-jo waiting outside for him. He says he’s here to give him that answer now, and we flash back to when Beom-jo first discovered the skeletons in Mommy’s closet. He came to Dal-po and told him he would be quitting his job and returning to his mother’s side… in order to get the answers that they need.
Dal-po invites him inside and Beom-jo looks around the studio apartment in wonder, amazed that it’s possible to fit everything in one room like this. He asks for wine and Dal-po shoots him a look before grabbing two cans of beer, and then makes this impish face before shaking Beom-jo’s can furiously. HA.
They sit down for a serious chat, and Beom-jo admits that he’s having a really hard time. At least to him, his mother was always the kindest, sweetest person in the world. As suspected, Beom-jo has been recording every conversation with Mommy since the day he confronted her.
(It looks like he was prompting the recorder on his phone while pretending to call and quit his job, though his intention to quit doesn’t seem like a lie—he might’ve had a separate conversation with Princess.)
He tells Dal-po that he might not be able to keep his promise, and Dal-po says he has no intention of pressuring him, since he knows how hard this must be. That alone seems to comfort Beom-jo, and he asks with a smile if Dal-po finds him annoying and hateful. Dal-po reminds him that he’s always thought so, heh.
Beom-jo asks after In-ha, and Dal-po says she seems to be under the impression that Beom-jo has gone to the dark side and become a mama’s boy all over again. Beom-jo sighs that maybe she’s right.
He finally pops open his can of beer, undercutting his moment of reflection with a giant foamy explosion in his face, and he accuses Dal-po of shaking his can on purpose because he dislikes him. Dal-po just gives this hilarious smirk of satisfaction and continues to drink his beer.
Outside, the motorcyclist stalker who nearly sideswiped In-ha lurks near Dal-po’s apartment. And in the morning, the same young man arrives at YGN carrying a box, and poses as a deliveryman with a package for Dal-po. He’s directed to the newsroom and finds Dal-po sitting at a table with Gyo-dong and the rest of the team.
Motorcycle Boy suddenly rips open the box and takes out a humongous nail gun, and starts firing into the room like a madman. Eeeeek. Everyone scrambles for cover except for Dal-po, who looks for a way to disarm the attacker. But! The flying nails!
Dal-po flings an empty bottle at Motorcycle Boy, which gives him enough time to sneak up on him and get the nail gun out of his hands. They fight and Dal-po gets him pinned down, but Motorcycle Boy wrestles free and pulls the fire alarm, using the confusion to make his exit.
Over at MSC, In-ha is busy digging through old reports on the assemblyman that Chaebol Mommy was backing, and she’s shocked when Mom comes by to help.
Now that the dust has settled at YGN, everyone wonders who the attacker was and what he wanted. Dal-po doesn’t recognize the attacker’s face, but he remembers the jacket, and it suddenly dawns on him that this was the motorcyclist from last night who came after In-ha. He runs out in a panic.
Yoo-rae looks down and yelps when she sees blood on her hands, and Gyo-dong tellingly gets all worked up worrying about her. He checks and re-checks her for injuries even though she says she’s fine, and the others are all, “Uh, we’re fine too.” None of them are hurt, which means that the blood must be Dal-po’s.
Sure enough, as Dal-po runs from YGN to MSC, we catch a glimpse of the trail of blood seeping down his arm. He’s already a step behind, because Motorcycle Boy has already made his way inside MSC’s newsroom with a knife this time. He screams for Song Cha-ok and In-ha, who are locked inside one of the editing rooms.
Mom wants to go out if the attacker is asking for her, but In-ha refuses to let her out of there. Dal-po runs through the lobby and jumps the security gate, but upstairs, Motorcycle Boy discovers Mom and In-ha and shatters the window to the editing room, breaking his way inside.
He pries the door open and lunges at them… when Dal-po slams into him with a running start. Whew. As they fight, In-ha manages to knock the knife out of the guy’s hand, giving Dal-po a chance to pin him down until the security guards arrive.
The first thing Dal-po does is make sure that In-ha is okay, and then he passes out on her shoulder.
She and Mom wait in the hospital as Dal-po gets surgery for his torn arm, and Gyo-dong and Princess come running in together to check on them. They wonder what Mom, In-ha, and Dal-po have in common that would send an attacker after the three of them, and nobody seems to guess the obvious except for Mom, who thinks back to Chaebol Mommy’s passive-aggressive warnings.
Ha, the YGN and MSC teams run into each other on their way to cover the other station’s attack. Il-joo thinks that this is some kind of message that they shouldn’t be sticking their noses into dangerous business, but Hyun-kyu and Jae-hwan argue that that’s exactly what they should be doing as reporters. This time Jae-hwan throws her arm around Hyun-kyu and they walk off to find someone else at MSC to interview.
Motorcycle Boy gets booked down at the police station, and Yoo-rae texts the detective chief to speak up so she can eavesdrop properly outside the door. I love that he complies on cue, awkwardly repeating and over-enunciating everything.
Yoo-rae finds out that Motorcycle Boy is the son of the bus company president who tried to scam Song Cha-ok, and that he was on a mission to avenge his father. Beom-jo watches the news report of the attacks with a dark face, and wrestles with what to do about his recordings of Mommy.
In-ha and Dad wait until Dal-po comes out of surgery, and Dad tells him that he’s coming home with them because he can’t be using his arm, doctor’s orders. Yay, thanks Doc.
Dal-po finds it suspicious that the bus company president’s son would attack them like that, and over at YGN, the bosses wonder the same thing—isn’t the timing off and the reaction a little strong compared to the weight of the story?
Gyo-dong wonders if it’s something else entirely—a message, a warning to keep their mouths shut about the Chaebol Mommy story. Thank goodness one of you has a brain.
Yoo-rae and her sidekick try to listen in on the meeting, but can’t really hear anything. Sidekick wonders if maybe Gyo-dong really does like Yoo-rae, judging from his reaction after the attack, but this time Yoo-rae is the one to declare that she won’t be jumping to any more conclusions where romance is concerned.
Director Lee sees them pressing their ears up against the glass and chides that the sasaeng is at it again, but Gyo-dong jumps to her defense, calling it a reporter’s instinct. Uh-huh.
Song Cha-ok goes to see Chaebol Mommy and says that it’s awfully coincidental how the attacks were aimed at the three people who are in Chaebol Mommy’s way, but she feigns ignorance, as always. But this time she adds that IF it were a message, then it would mean that their relationship had gone awry, in which case Song Cha-ok ought to do what she can to mend those bridges.
Beom-jo asks Mommy if she sent Motorcycle Boy after Dal-po and In-ha, and she admits that she did. She says it wasn’t hard to find someone with a vendetta against them to use, and that it was a warning for them… and also for Beom-jo. Ruh-roh.
She turns to him and says she knows her son better than anyone, and takes the cell phone out of his hand. I knew he’d been recording her too conspicuously. She takes the phone and says with tears in her eyes that she knows how disappointed he must be in her, but asks if they can’t go back to the way things used to be, when she took care of all the dirty things, and he had a carefree life.
Dal-po comes home with In-ha, and Dad and Grandpa are waiting with dinner at the ready. It’s so cute how Grandpa and In-ha compete to put kimchi on Dal-po’s spoon. He just smiles sheepishly at all the attention he’s getting.
In the morning, In-ha sees him struggling to shave with his left hand, and offers to help. He’s nervous that she’s going to draw blood, but they start to become aware of how close they are, and suddenly shaving turns into a romantically charged moment between them. God bless incapacitating arm injuries!
Dad jumps when he sees them looking cozy together in the bathroom, but decides he’d rather not know what happens next and runs away. He approaches Grandpa carefully and says he had a crazy dream last night, about Dal-po asking for permission to date In-ha.
Grandpa hits him in the face with a pillow and says that’s ludicrous even for a dream: “Dal-po is my son and In-ha is your daughter! That can never happen!” Dad agrees nervously, knowing exactly what’s going on in the bathroom just next door. Oh dear, I hope Grandpa doesn’t faint or something.
At MSC, Song Cha-ok is more determined than ever to go through with the news report on Chaebol Mommy, and tells Princess to prep everything so that she can swap the story into the nightly news at the last second.
He worries even more when she tells him that the attack was a warning to stay silent, but she counters that reporting the news is the safest thing they can do—silencing one or two people is easy, but once ten thousand people know, how will they be silenced? Princess stares at her gobsmacked, wondering when she became like this. You’re not the only one.
But their plan comes to a screeching halt when they both get reassigned to new departments, effectively squashing any chance that they’ll ever get this story on the air. In-ha asks Princess if his demotion is because of her, and he finally tells her about Mom’s plans, and her suspicions that Motorcycle Boy’s attack was a warning for them.
Mom calls In-ha over and makes her a cup of coffee, noting that she takes it sugary and creamy, just like Dad. She passes In-ha the evidence envelope and tells her to give it back to Dal-po, only this time, she’ll be the whistleblower.
In-ha meets with Dal-po to return the evidence to him, and says that Mom was planning to report the story herself, but can’t anymore. Mom plans to make the truth known a different way if she can’t do it from behind a news desk, and tells In-ha that the fourteen-year-old fire isn’t enough (because the statute of limitations has run out on any crime that Chaebol Mommy could be charged with).
Mom tells In-ha to have her friend Chan-soo sue her for defamation, so that she’s investigated and questioned about where the orders came from. At Dal-po’s request, Chan-soo does exactly as asked.
Mom says that she’ll tell the police the truth about everything, from fourteen years ago until today, and she and Chaebol Mommy will be indicted. That’s when it’s up to In-ha and Dal-po to report everything as it is, and tells In-ha not to be swayed by anything else. Mom warns her that Chaebol Mommy will use whatever means necessary to escape punishment, so it’s up to them to make sure that she can’t weasel out of this.
In-ha spills tears and worries that this’ll be the end for Mom—she’ll lose everything she worked for. Mom puts on a brave front and says she’s tired anyway and won’t regret losing it all. She wipes In-ha’s tears away and tells her she has to stop crying so that Mom feels confident leaving the story in In-ha’s hands, and In-ha clutches her hand.
She asks Dal-po if this is how he felt when he had to report his brother, and asks how he endured. He just tells her it was hard and still is, and puts an arm around her and lets her cry on his shoulder.
He tells Hyung the news, and Hyung notes that Dal-po doesn’t look as happy as he should. Dal-po admits that he’s having a hard time watching In-ha, because he experienced the same things when having to report Hyung’s crimes.
Hyung chides Dal-po for blaming himself again, and admits that he originally planned to end it all the night of his live interview with Song Cha-ok. He was going to kill her and kill himself, but it was Dal-po who saved him because he proved that he was different and wouldn’t hide the truth. “You made me want to live. You saved me.”
Chaebol Mommy isn’t even ruffled when she gets news of Song Cha-ok’s police investigation, since she’s already prepared with countermoves. Regardless, Song Cha-ok walks into the police station for questioning and waits patiently as all the reporters swarm around her. But she hilariously lectures them on their terrible irrelevant questions, and tells them she’ll return after her police interrogation so that they have time to prepare better ones.
That brings a small smile to In-ha’s face, and Mom gives her a little nod before heading upstairs to face the music. She runs into Dal-po on her way in, and he promises to have questions for her on her way out.
Remembering their first encounter, she stops to ask if he’s figured out what a reporter is now. He says he has, so she turns to him with a smile, “Then bark all you want. I’ll answer everything.”
There weren’t any particularly surprising developments in this episode, but I do prefer this new plan over Dal-po’s. While it might’ve been effective to have Song Cha-ok report the story herself, I’d rather see the two moms face whatever minimal criminal charges await them. It seems unlikely that they’ll corner Chaebol Mommy without some kind of contingency for their contingency, but I expect that Beom-jo will come through somehow. I’m glad that his phone got taken, because frankly he was being too conspicuous with it, and it would’ve made their case too easy.
Is it too unlikely that he kept a second phone in another pocket the whole time? Whatever their plan is, I hope he gets more time to bond with Dal-po. Plotwise, I do think it’s silly that they’re just passing the same envelope back and forth and back and forth, though I suppose the intent is what matters. It’s just becoming a bit of a rake gag at this point. I think we’ve milked all the self-sacrifice that we can out of it, so hopefully they’ll be putting the evidence to use now.
It’s interesting, this common thread between Dal-po, In-ha, and Beom-jo: Each of them has a morally dubious, law-breaking family member, and it happens to fall on their shoulders to do what’s right and turn them in. And in most cases they’re also the ones to spread their infectious idealism upward to the older generation. Clearly it worked for Hyung, who was saved by Dal-po doing the difficult thing (though would it have killed you to spend a few more episodes letting us SEE that play out instead of hearing about it from jail after the fact? Hello, missed opportunity!). And in the end even Song Cha-ok is affected by In-ha and Dal-po enough to own up to her mistakes and face the music.
I just don’t know that we necessarily needed the theme to play out three times over, since it’s literally the same conflict from character to character. But it is rewarding to see them force a radical change in Mom, to the point where she’s willing to risk her entire career, which to her is her entire life. You can see why she clings to it too, because if she doesn’t have that enviably successful career as a star journalist, sacrificing her daughter all those years ago is all for naught. But they basically shamed her on her own turf, in the only language she knows, and I like that it pushes her to change without getting a lobotomy. It’s enough that we get the satisfying exchange at the very end of the episode, when she acknowledges that Dal-po has earned the right to call himself a reporter and challenge her.
The nail gun attack was way too convenient a device, but if that’s what it takes to break Dal-po’s arm and get him back in the house with the family, I’ll take it. Why didn’t we break his arm six episodes ago? Then we could’ve avoided that silly denial phase and skipped right over to shaving cream foreplay. Priorities, people! Just think of all the help he’ll need into and out of his clothes! This is very important business, you know.
- Pinocchio: Episode 17
- Pinocchio: Episode 16
- 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