Pinocchio: Episode 4
Okay, I seriously love this episode. I swear it’s not even because our hero finally gets a makeover (even though that’s worth a round of applause in and of itself—fare thee well, Mop of Shame!), but because the family stuff hits all the right chords. It’s an episode about fathers, and the kind of love that’s so steadfast that sometimes a reminder is a shock to the system—a poignant, tear-filled, affectionate shock.
SONG OF THE DAY
Tiger J.K – “첫사랑” (First Love) for the Pinocchio OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 4: “Romeo and Juliet”
We rewind a little to see that Dad finds the kids on the rooftop and hides out of sight, just in time to watch Dal-po try to stop In-ha’s day-long bout of hiccups, over having to lie that things went great with Mom and she’s totally fine giving up on journalism altogether. In-ha knows that Dal-po gave up college for her, and says she can’t live off of his taxi-driving income forever.
But Dal-po stops her from burning all her books by declaring that he needs them now, because he’s going to become a reporter too. Just like that, her hiccups stop, and fireworks explode in the distance.
As they head back down with her suitcase full of books, In-ha offers to give Dal-po her precious notes that she spent three years compiling. She worries about Grandpa finding out that Dal-po isn’t dumb, but he’s not concerned at all, since he plans to keep his cabbie job and just study intermittently because he’s positive he won’t be hired. Ah, okay, this helps me understand your whim a little better. He says there’s a zero-percent chance that a taxi driver will get hired as a reporter, and she corrects him that their chances are the same: fifty-fifty, pass or fail. For her sake, he agrees.
At home, Grandpa helps them put her books back, and In-ha’s already on edge just dreading the inevitable blowup with Dad over her breaking their contract. Grandpa wisely tells them that there’s no forcing someone to think your thoughts, parents and children alike.
When Dad comes home In-ha rushes out to greet him, but just as she draws in a big breath to blurt it out (while hiding behind Dal-po, heh), Dad cuts in to ask Dal-po for a chat. They leave In-ha and Grandpa behind, wondering why she’s being left out of a conversation about her career.
Outside, Dal-po starts to try and sway Dad on In-ha’s behalf (and when they’re alone, he’s back to calling him Ajusshi). He says that In-ha can’t give up on her dream, and haltingly quotes Grandpa’s advice about not being able to control your kids and all that. But Dad isn’t here to talk about journalism—he confesses that he saw them up on the roof earlier, and Dal-po immediately tenses up. This is a conversation about that other thing.
Dad’s a straight-shooter as always, and asks Dal-po if he has feelings for In-ha, or if he has the wrong idea yet again. This time Dal-po doesn’t bother trying to deny it, and admits that he does. He says he doesn’t know since when: “Just that it’s been a long time.”
Dad doesn’t raise his voice or show any signs of anger, and just explains honestly that In-ha is his only daughter, so to him, she’s the most beautiful and precious girl in the world, and no man will ever be good enough for her. Dal-po cuts in to say it himself—that he’s severely lacking, and that he knows he overstepped. Ugh, I love them both, so this conversation hurts no matter which way you look at it.
Dal-po assures Dad that he’s never once been greedy about his feelings and won’t be in the future either. Dad keeps trying to interject but Dal-po doesn’t let him, and I’m dying to know what he would say if given a chance. Dal-po: “The thing you’re worried about won’t happen—to me, this family comes first. I won’t ever do anything to break that.” He says he’ll clean up his feelings, and Dad thanks him.
When they get back home, In-ha runs out of the bathroom mid-toothbrushing, and spits out her prepared speech at Dad while foaming at the mouth. Dad has this hilarious moment where he stands there looking at In-ha while hearing his own words playing back in his head, about how she’s the prettiest girl in the world and needs to be protected.
He shoves her back into the bathroom and calls her embarrassing, and he’s so focused on that that when she asks in between if she can stick with journalism, he tells her to do whatever she wants. I love that he can’t even look Dal-po in the eye, he’s so embarrassed of her.
Hyung’s supervisor at work takes pictures of his dented bumper and tells him to get some money out of the other guy to fix it. Hyung just says that bumpers are meant to be bumped, and asks again for the supervisor to help him get a side job on the crew that’s demolishing a nearby factory. Oh, is this the factory Firefighter Dad died in? The man asks if he isn’t afraid, since the factory is rumored to have ghosts, and Hyung just thinks to himself that even in ghost form, he’d like to see him.
In-ha shows Dal-po the open call auditions for one last network this season: YGN. Woot! She says they actually have a shot at this network, since they’re only looking at skills and not education, and plans to keep her Pinocchio syndrome hidden this time, unless asked directly.
She gives Dal-po a stack of books to start with, and figures it’ll take him a month to study them. He scans the stack and says he’ll be done in a week, and reminds her of his crazy speed-reading and memorization skills. Dal-po seems much more guarded around In-ha now, gently extracting himself if she links arms, or catching himself staring at her and shaking the thoughts away.
He sits down at his desk and begins to study, and wakes up at the crack of dawn to go around the apartment complex and read the neighbors’ papers and take notes. He has to hide when Grandpa comes by, but doesn’t notice when Grandpa comes back out to peek at him. As suspected, he seems to have known all this time that Dal-po isn’t a dummy, and he smiles to himself to see Dal-po hard at work.
In-ha and Dal-po spend their days at the library (where he sits by the window just to keep the sun out of her eyes), and she coaches him on his enunciation, which is so frustrating that she resorts to stretching his mouth sideways just to get the right sounds, heh.
Grandpa sneaks into Dal-po’s room late at night while he’s slumped over at his desk, and opens up all his comic books to find their guts replaced with journalism books. Funny how most kids spend high school doing the reverse.
Grandpa pets him sweetly, and seems to make up his mind about something. The next morning, he’s a man on a mission, and goes to the bookstore to buy the latest hip men’s magazine. The bookstore clerk tries to tell him that’s for the young’uns, and Gramps is like, Yeah duh.
He calls Dal-po out and drags him kicking and screaming into a beauty salon, where he whips out his magazine and starts quoting verbatim the “dandy block haircut” in “ash brown” that he wants. Hahaha. I love it—we get a makeover, and it’s forced on him by Gramps.
Dal-po just squirms and asks why they’re not at the barbershop like always, and Grandpa just shushes him. Next they go shopping, and again Grandpa quotes the F/W trends right out of his magazine, and demands a “charcoal gray minimalist two-button suit.” He waits in anticipation as Dal-po tries it on, and we finally get the big reveal…
Okay, that was worth waiting four episodes for. So pretty. Even Grandpa is shocked, and he grins from ear to ear: “Who are you?” Dal-po feels so awkward that Grandpa has to coax him to smile while he takes pictures for his resume, but eventually he loosens up.
As they head toward the bus stop, Dal-po stops to look at his reflection and asks, “Father, are you okay? Looking like this… it feels like I’m not your son.” But Grandpa just laughs at him and says, “You are my son. See, you look just like me!”
Grandpa takes the opportunity to tell Dal-po that he doesn’t have to keep lying for his sake, and Dal-po looks over at him in alarm as Grandpa finally admits, “I know that you kept yourself hidden for my sake, to be my son.”
Dal-po hurries after him onto the bus and kneels by his seat, fraught with worry and eyes filling with tears. Grandpa tells him that he knew after only one year together, but kept it hidden because he thought that In-ha’s dad would kick him out if he let on that he knew the truth.
Dal-po’s tears spill out, and Grandpa says that at first he did it because he felt bad for Dal-po, “But now it’s because of me, because I want to keep you by my side.” Could there be anything more heartwarming? Great, now I’m crying.
Grandpa tells him to stop hiding himself from now on, and to live as impressively as he was meant to. He pats Dal-po on the head and tells him that he’s okay now. All Dal-po can manage to say the whole time is, “Father…” and he just buries his face on Grandpa’s shoulder to cry. Grandpa hugs him close: “I’m sorry, Dal-po. Thank you, Dal-po.”
When they get home, Dad comes to greet them with a quizzical look on his face: “Who…?” HA, he actually has no idea that it’s Dal-po. Dad still doesn’t believe it when Grandpa tells him it’s his hyung, but In-ha recognizes him right away and run up with her jaw on the floor.
Grandpa says Dal-po is smart and handsome because he takes after his father, and winks at Dal-po to play along. Dad is doubly floored, especially when he sees that his “precious beautiful” daughter is standing there wearing her hoodie backwards (to use the hood as a snack pouch—genius!), looking like a complete slob next to shiny new Dal-po.
He yells at her to throw away those ugly rotten sweats, and she counters that Dad’s the one who bought them for her. “Yeah, but I didn’t know you’d wear them for a thousand days!” She reminds him that he told her she was prettier than Miss Korea, and Dad says he must’ve been drunk. I love these two.
Dad’s logic is hilariously backwards, and he argues that if she keeps looking like a slob, Dal-po will think he has a shot with her. (Right, because if she’s pretty all the time, that’s going to stop him from crushing on her?) In-ha finds the whole thing ridiculous anyway, and says that Dal-po’s never once seen her as a woman, and she’s never once seen him as a man.
She means it too, since she doesn’t hiccup afterwards, and Dal-po listens from his room with a long face. Aw. But he doesn’t overhear the last part, where she turns back around to get one thing straight with Dad: Dal-po isn’t just someone he can belittle, because no matter how much it aggravates her, he’s smart enough to do in one month what she couldn’t in three years.
She says he’s got everything—looks, brains, and personality—though of course she’s quick to add that she does too. Dal-po takes the false comic book covers off of his books and gets back to studying, and In-ha goes to her room wondering why it’s suddenly so hot in here, blaming Dad for saying crazy things.
One month later. YGN’s “blind” auditions for broadcast news reporters gets underway, and our future rookie foursome assembles for the first time among the hopefuls. (Yoo-rae we met while she was auditioning over at MSC, so it’s natural she’d also apply here, while chaebol Beom-jo is probably here for the sole purpose of finding his Pinocchio, I’d wager.)
As the audition process gets reported as a special news feature, the staff over at MSC calls it a cheap ploy to get ratings… but then wonders what they can do to out-maneuver them. Mom notices In-ha among the group and takes it in with silent disapproval.
As they wait for the camera test portion, Dal-po asks In-ha to sell his dream back to him and return the button necklace, since it was bad luck on her last audition. But she counters that it also led to them passing the written rounds and getting this far together, and refuses to give it back.
They get called in for their camera test in a group of five, and both Yoo-rae and Beom-jo are in their group. Yoo-rae recognizes In-ha as that weirdo she ran into at MSC, while In-ha doesn’t remember her at all.
The more disconcerting thing is the way Beom-jo keeps looking over at her and smiling, and Dal-po is the first to notice and find it uncomfortable. Has he already found Pinocchio?
We go back to earlier that morning, when Beom-jo heads out for his audition and Chaebol Mommy calls to check on him and worries that he won’t be able to find Pinocchio this way. He assures her that he’ll recognize her in a heartbeat (since In-ha texted “Mom” pictures of herself over the years).
Mommy asks if he wants her to check if she passed the written test and will be among the final applicants, since otherwise he needn’t bother trying to become a reporter. What? These two are so weird; it’s a wonder that a mama’s boy like this even became a functioning adult, though I guess that part remains to be seen.
He agrees, until he stops at a red light and notices In-ha on the bus and recognizes her right away. He opens his convertible top to try and get her attention, and Dal-po asks if it’s someone she knows because he keeps staring at her. She has no idea who he is, and when Beom-jo winks at her, Dal-po scootches her behind him like a guard dog.
Back at the audition, Dal-po doesn’t like the way Beom-jo keeps looking at In-ha and steps in between them. Beom-jo remains sunny and clueless, and the lineup gets reordered so that he gets to stand next to In-ha.
The judges arrive, and YGN’s reporter-turned-PD-turned-section-chief Gyo-dong is among them. His bosses Director Lee (the same principled boss who argued against jumping to conclusions about Firefighter Dad back in the day) and Editor Jo nag him to shave once in a while, though they figure it’s a victory that he even managed to put on a suit.
Dal-po recognizes him on sight, and mutters under his breath, “Of all the people…” Gyo-dong doesn’t even look up at them initially, but once he finally does, a flicker of recognition crosses over his face. Does he recognize Dal-po?
The camera test begins, and the five reporters are shown a clip of an event that they are to report on the fly. The fact that it’s the same clip five times does give the last person a huge advantage over the first person, and Dal-po happens to be first. It’s a clip of a bird attacking a cat and getting killed in the process, and Dal-po gives the dry, facts-only version of the events. Yoo-rae goes next and adds more color, including some interpretation of the cat and bird’s behaviors, and an adage that it reminds her of.
The third guy changes it up dramatically with a sympathetic angle, and says that the reason for the bird’s attack was in defense of its nest, and the mother bird died protecting its young. In-ha’s turn is next, and everyone expects her to build on the last guy’s report. But to their surprise, she reverts back to Dal-po’s dry facts-only version.
She looks disappointed, and Gyo-dong asks why she chose to report it that way, and she says that she thought the last report was a very good one, but she couldn’t repeat it because she can’t lie. They ask why she can’t lie, and both Dal-po and Beom-jo chirp in unison, “Because we’re reporters!”
Dal-po speaks up and says that they’re supposed to report the truth, and based on the video clip, they can’t know what the bird or cat was thinking, or whether or not there’s a nest offscreen that motivated the attack. In-ha finds her confidence and chimes in to say that a reporter’s job is to only report confirmed facts. Director Lee presses, “Even if it leads to a broadcast accident?” She deflates and lets out a small, “Yes…”
Last up is Beom-jo, and he goes even further to say that he won’t give a report at all, because he deems the clip inconclusive and therefore not newsworthy. He says he agrees with In-ha that a broadcast accident is better than reporting something false.
The judges go over the applications after the camera test, and express frustration at the blind part of the process (background, education). They heard that there’s a taxi driver and even a saseng fan (someone who stalks idols) among the hopefuls, and wonder if they were eliminated in early rounds.
They shrink back when Yoo-rae presses up against the glass wall behind them, stalker that she is, desperate to listen in. Editor Jo laughs that it reminds him of Gyo-dong back in his rookie days, and Gyo-dong coughs awkwardly.
Dal-po and In-ha wait on pins and needles for the announcement to be made, and In-ha worries that she’ll have brought Dal-po down with her. He says that’s better, since he only wants to make it if they both do, but she argues that at least one of them should go on, whichever one of them it is.
He takes issue with her wording, implying that she’d be fine to continue on without him, and traps her against the wall so she can’t scurry away. She artfully tries to backpedal but knows she’s been caught, but I can hardly process what she’s saying because it looks like he’s going to kiss her.
She sinks to the ground and he slides all the way down the wall with her, and tells her that at least for him, it doesn’t work that way—if she doesn’t make it, he’ll drop out too. There’s a long moment where they just stare, and she finally looks away and wonders why it’s so hot in here.
Beom-jo comes up and pouts to see them looking cozy, and shouts as loud as possible that the results of the camera test are up. They all run over to the screen, and of course the four characters we care about have all made it to the final round.
Grandpa is delighted to get the news, while Dad tenses up to realize that In-ha and Dal-po could be hired at the same station and go to work together every day. It’s funny that it hadn’t occurred to him until now, and he starts to imagine the kids getting ready for work in the morning like a couple.
Dal-po makes sure that In-ha eats breakfast, and In-ha pops a wedge of toast in her mouth as she fixes Dal-po’s tie. Dad starts to sputter in protest, as Dal-po says coyly that he finds tie-tying such difficult work, and leans in to take a bite of her toast with it still hanging in her mouth.
Whoa. How come I never knew toast was sexy until now? Thanks for the visual, Dad. He gets so worked up that he hurls a pillow at his own waking nightmare, only to hit Grandpa upside the head. Pffft. Gramps gives him a pillow beating in return.
The final test at YGN is a survival roundtable debate, and the director turns on a news broadcast of their topic for discussion. Dal-po is in good spirits… until he turns to face the screen and sees the report of the fire that tore his family apart thirteen years ago. Gack, of all the topics.
It’s a reel of the various outlets’ reports, including footage of In-ha’s mom at MSC. Dal-po can barely hide his anger, and swallows back his tears. Director Lee says that it’s an old case but one that remains controversial especially in how it was presented in the media, and asks the group to discuss how they would report it today.
As they begin the debate, Yoo-rae raises her hand to ask what happened to the missing firefighter—is he still missing? Gyo-dong finally looks up for the first time, and says that Firefighter Dad’s skeletal remains were just discovered a few days ago. Omg. This is how Dal-po finds out his father is dead? Yikes. We go back to the plant demolition a few days back, where Firefighter Dad’s remains are dug up in the process. Hyung is there on site, and breaks down when he sees the final confirmation that his father has been dead all these years.
The debate begins, and Dal-po looks like he’s having a panic attack, and loosens his tie to just keep breathing. Yoo-rae argues that the press handled the story badly, while Beom-jo counters that they only reported what the police determined to be true. Yoo-rae thinks that a good reporter should dig for the answers herself instead of relying on secondhand information.
In-ha says that the Pinocchio witness is the key to this tragedy, and that it’s because the reporters and police all believed the Pinocchio’s statement. She argues that they had no choice but to believe him though, since there is no testimony as certain as one from a person who can’t lie. She says it’s a tragedy that the firefighter died, but calls it simply a case of bad luck.
Dal-po’s blood boils as she speaks, and he can’t help but see flashes of her mother as she talks—the same confidence behind her words, convinced that she’s right. He finally speaks up to ask her directly if she really thinks that there’s no one responsible for this, and gives her an ice-cold stare.
He says that people believe that Pinocchios and reporters only tell the truth, and Pinocchio and reporter alike should have known that—the weight of their words, accepted as truth. He explodes as he shouts that it’s their mistake for not being careful with their words: “That carelessness destroyed one family! And they should be held responsible.”
She fights back and says that the Pinocchio witness only told what he believed to be true. Dal-po calms down and says coldly, “I see now why a Pinocchio can never be a reporter.” Ouuuuch. He continues, “How dangerous it is for a person who disregards the fact that they could be wrong to become a reporter, how scary it is to talk carelessly without knowing the weight of your own words—I get that now.”
In-ha grits her teeth and tries not to betray how hurt she is, as she asks if he’s saying this to her. He doesn’t look away and says yes. The panel catches on and they ask her directly if she’s a Pinocchio, and she has to answer yes. She starts to cry and gets up to run away, but can’t manage to open the door. Beom-jo stands up to say that he’s leaving too, and opens the door to walk out with her. Aw, is she giving up?
It’s only after this that Gyo-dong places Dal-po’s face as the quiz show kid who railed at him eight years ago. Director Lee asks if he’s left an impression on him too, and Gyo-dong says it’s not that—he’s met that kid before.
Beom-jo just silently follows In-ha into the elevator, and then asks if she’s upset because that guy betrayed her. She says no, since it was a debate and Dal-po is totally free to have a contrary opinion. It’s just… she knows it’s irrational but she just wanted Dal-po to take her side, because he’s Dal-po. That alone makes her angry at herself, and she wonders why she’s being like this.
He asks if she likes this Dal-po guy, and she says indignantly, “No, not all!” *HICCUP* Eeee! She’s more shocked than he is, and thinks she’s crazy. She swears it isn’t true, but just keeps hiccupping.
Dal-po throws up in the restroom and heads outside for some air, but just falls to his knees in tears, crying for his father and pounding his chest in agony.
In-ha is still hiccupping when she gets to the lobby, and whirls around to say that this can’t be happening—Dal-po is her uncle, and he even has a girlfriend. She starts pounding her chest too, and says, “That’s not it. It can’t be. It can’t be! If it is…”
If it is, we have a drama on our hands. Actually, the turn that I love even more than her budding feelings for Dal-po is the new wedge driven between them. The debate scene is the first time I went, Ooooh, now we have a conflict! and felt tension in the central romance (because try as he might, sweet ol’ Dad isn’t enough to make their love seem impossible—hell, he’s even helping the fantasy along). Dal-po’s animosity for In-ha’s mother was pretty dormant for thirteen years, and his feelings for In-ha became stronger than his hatred for Mom… that is, until they stepped foot inside a TV station and dug at his old wounds, making them fresh and bloody.
I still can’t believe he had to find out about his father that way. I certainly can’t blame Dal-po for losing his cool when he’s just found out that to top it all off, the reporters were wrong about his father in the end. I’m just relieved for both brothers now that they know the truth about Firefighter Dad, and hope that each of them digging into the truth will lead them to each other. Before, Dal-po seemed older than his years and more like a protective uncle than a peer, but now he seems suddenly very young, and exactly the excitable and hotheaded day-old puppy that Mom said he was. It makes him more of a loose cannon, but I like the tension that builds into his relationship with In-ha, not to mention with Gyo-dong, who I’m sure will become his boss. As expected, the setup feels a lot like You’re All Surrounded now (which, go figure, reminded me of I Hear Your Voice).
What makes it interesting now is their ideological split, and I like that In-ha isn’t someone who backs off on her own opinion because it’s challenged. What hurts is that she expected that Dal-po would always take her side, because that’s who he’s been her whole life. But in his experience, the truth is often hidden and thwarted and twisted, while to her, veracity is the measure of everything, and truth IS black and white. Because she either hiccups or doesn’t, and it’s that simple for her. That setup is going to yield some great stuff for them as they continue to butt heads over the job (well, that is, if she still has a job), and I MUCH prefer this dynamic where they’re at odds, because there’s a meatier story in play, and it adds a nice layer of conflict to their romance. It’s perfect timing for her to fall for Dal-po, when he’s so disillusioned and ragey, and finds her naïve perspective frustrating. Now with the tables turned, she gets to feel the fluttery one-sided feelings, which should be fun.
By far the best thing in the episode was the focus on the fathers, who took turns being funny and sweet and so freaking touching. Fairy Godfather Gramps takes the cake, and I cried when he told Dal-po on the bus (This writer has a thing for emotional scenes on buses, doesn’t she?) in such simple words that he lied at first for Dal-po’s sake, and later for his own sake, because he didn’t want to let him go. It was just the perfect thing to assure Dal-po that being himself wouldn’t make him lose his family, and of course makes Grandpa’s love for Dal-po all the more poignant, since he’s known for twelve years that they aren’t blood-related. But their love for each other is so genuine, and I believe Dal-po when he tells Dad that he’d never do anything to jeopardize the family. I don’t want him to have to choose, so I’ll just sit here and wait patiently for Dad to come around. In the meantime, more of Dad’s nightmares will do me just fine.
- Pinocchio: Episode 3
- Pinocchio: Episode 2
- Pinocchio: Episode 1
- Jung Woong-in reprises serial killer role in Pinocchio cameo
- Pinocchio’s fluffy fantasy posters
- Pinocchio teases small-town high school romance
- Who wants to be a Pinocchio
- First script read for Pinocchio’s newbie news reporters
- Newsroom drama Pinocchio secures rookie reporter cast