Pinocchio: Episode 10
It’s our heroine’s episode to shine, and she steps up admirably to the task—as a girlfriend, a daughter, and a reporter—without losing an ounce of herself and her integrity in the process. I sometimes wonder how this show manages to make an episode where all of the shit hits all of the fans in one big emotional tornado so enjoyable, and I think the answer is: Choi In-ha. Because she’s fearless about being in the eye of that shitstorm, for the person she loves.
SONG OF THE DAY
Park Shin-hye – “사랑은 눈처럼” (Love Like Snow) for the Pinocchio OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 10: “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”
After finding out Dal-po’s real name and what her mother did to his family, In-ha breaks down in tears as she confirms that he’s Ki Ha-myung. She cries over and over, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry…”
Dal-po crouches down and holds her hand, and gently tells her that it’s okay. He narrates that she cried like that for over an hour, and they just kept repeating the exact same words to each other: “I’m sorry,” and “It’s okay.”
After a long while, he wipes away her tears, and she stands up with determination. She asks for his story and promises to listen to all of it. Dal-po narrates that he told her his whole life story, and she listened—sometimes with tears, at other moments fired up with anger.
It’s nighttime when he’s done telling her about his past, and she sniffles back a few more tears as she guesses that he must’ve hated her quite a lot throughout the tears. He says matter-of-factly that he did, and she starts to cry again in earnest, as she guesses that he doesn’t even want to look at her anymore, and she’ll just go ahead and disappear.
He practically rolls his eyes and sighs like she’s being a melodramatic teenager, which is maybe the best reaction to noble idiocy ever. He tells her to stop crying because she’s ugliest when she cries, and complains that she’s been bawling for hours and he’s going to freeze to death trying to comfort her, pfft.
He tells to stop blubbering so they can go inside already, and says definitively that when he was Ki Ha-myung, he did hate In-ha and her mother. He always intended to leave when Grandpa got better, but that’s not the case anymore: “I’m Choi Dal-po now, and I have no intention of throwing that name away.” That reassures her, and her tears finally stop.
She starts in on one last question, but stops herself, though the hiccups just give her away when she tries to deny that she’s curious about something. She asks why he’s keeping his identity a secret from Hyung, and Dal-po asks if she can keep a secret. She immediately says not to tell her then, because she can’t keep secrets and he knows it. It’s adorable that she’s sorry he can’t share the burden with her.
They head back down, and In-ha starts to leave for the station, knowing that if she goes home like this, Dad and Grandpa will just grill her with questions and she’ll end up spilling everything about them and Mom and Dal-po’s past. But Dal-po insists she eat dinner at home, and says he’ll make it so that they don’t ask her anything.
So In-ha comes inside five minutes later and joins the family at the table. And just as Dal-po promised, Dad tells her gruffly to eat and says he won’t ask her a single thing. Grandpa shows off his brand new high-def TV, and Dal-po wonders where he got the money, realizing halfway through his sentence that he got it where he always gets it—Dal-po’s piggies. He runs to his room in a panic and all we hear are his cries from the next room.
On their way back out to the station, In-ha asks what Dal-po said to keep Dad and Grandpa from asking her anything, and he says it’s not a big deal—he simply told them she was on her period and super irritable, and would bite their heads off if they asked her stuff. HA. Okay, I see now why dating your not-an-uncle is a bad idea.
She’s pissed, but he points out that they got to eat in peace, and she agrees begrudgingly that it was a good tactic. I love that their tone is still argumentative as he sticks out his hand for her to hold as they walk away.
But uh-oh, Dad comes out just behind them to take the trash out, and sees them walk off holding hands and smiling starry-eyed at each other. And then he gets extra worked up when he sees Dal-po sneak their hands into his jacket pocket. Notably though, he seems peeved at the behavior, not shocked at the show of feelings.
The minute Dal-po walks into YGN, Gyo-dong stops and asks for the tie pin recorder. Dal-po says a little too urgently that he’ll return it himself, even blocking Gyo-dong’s hand as he reaches to unclip it. That just makes Gyo-dong more determined, and he yanks the tie pin off. Crap.
Over at MSC, In-ha can’t hide her disillusionment and refuses to get into an elevator with Mom. And in the background, Hyung is there again, still stalking her every move.
Mom turns to her cameraman to ask what he said to her earlier that day, and he spills the beans about telling In-ha what happened thirteen years ago, in an effort to warn her about how dangerous Ki Jae-myung is to her mother. But Mom is just angry that he told her anything, and refuses to listen to his fears about Jae-myung.
Gyo-dong listens to the tie pin recording, and says that it’s not evidence that Hyung killed the plant manager, but it’s motive, and enough to get the police to start an investigation. Dal-po panics and blocks the door, and Gyo-dong notes that he seems to have made his choice already.
Dal-po asks why they can’t bury it—the world thinks Hyung is a hero, so why can’t they just leave that alone? Gyo-dong surprises him by handing over the tie pin, but says that it’s not because Dal-po is right. He’s giving him some time to figure out that the truth will always come out in some form: “And watching that with open eyes, whether pretty or ugly, is a reporter’s job.” He’s a good boss.
At home, Dad is lost in thought as he remembers Little Dal-po vehemently refusing to search for his parents. And in that conversation he had with Dal-po about his feelings for In-ha, Dad had asked one more time about his past, saying that he’s not nervous about Dal-po because of his lack of money or education, but because he doesn’t know about the family he came from. But again Dal-po had refused to talk about it.
He sighs now, wondering what to do. He asks Grandpa what should be done if a family member keeps secrets and won’t talk, and suddenly Grandpa takes a 50,000-won bill out of his pocket and fesses up to taking it. HA. At this point, it’s really everyone else’s fault for leaving their money lying around so temptingly for Sticky Fingers Gramps.
In the morning, Dal-po finds Yoo-rae with her stethoscope on Chan-soo’s door, and they listen in as Chan-soo presents his case to his boss. He says he’s connected the dots between Hyung, the missing plant manager, and Firefighter Dad, and suggests that Hyung could’ve kidnapped the manager, or worse.
That makes Dal-po gulp, but for now, Chan-soo’s boss says it’s a flimsy reason to start a dangerous investigation into a hero of the people. This could end in nothing but embarrassment for their precinct, so Chan-soo is warned to leave it alone until he’s got something more definitive.
Yoo-rae asks Dal-po why Cap gave him Ki Jae-myung’s phone number the other day, and Dal-po glosses over it, saying it’s nothing. She hilariously chooses to pry it out of him with her feminine wiles, and offers to eat a meal with him if he talks, and when he turns her down, she upgrades to a selca. He turns her down again and she scoffs, thinking that he’s trying to play her hot and cold.
Dal-po takes a moment alone, as Chan-soo’s suspicions, Yoo-rae’s questions, and Cap’s warnings swirl in his head.
In-ha and Beom-jo spend the day manning the tip line at the station, and after taking a million prank calls, Beom-jo declares that the dirty precinct is better than this. When Mom comes by, Beom-jo reports that they have nothing except a bunch of pranksters and callers asking for apologies, and In-ha says she ignored the requests for an apology thirteen years ago too.
Mom points out that she did apologize, and repeats the line she said in her broadcast after Hyung became a hero. In-ha asks bitterly how a person could apologize with so little sincerity, and says that Ki Jae-myung’s anger is understandable.
Mom grits her teeth and asks defensively, “What did I do that was so wrong?” Hm, that question sounds familiar. She asks if she reported the story with some kind of personal vendetta, and shouts, “I didn’t ask because I was curious! The whole nation was curious, so I asked in their place! Why do I have to apologize for that?” Wow, it’s actually more frightening that she thinks she wasn’t wrong.
Both mother and daughter reel after their confrontation, and curiously, Mom has an entire stack of black flip-phones on her desk. That can’t be coincidence—was she searching for her old phone all this time?
Downstairs, Beom-jo’s mommy comes by to hand him a few more cell phones and asks why he’s working so hard to smooth over In-ha’s relationship with her mother. He says that he stole those texts for thirteen years, and wonders if maybe things between them might be different if her mother had received those texts. He feels like owes In-ha a debt, and that’s why he sought her out in the first place.
Mommy says that’s a relief, because she wondered if maybe he had feelings for In-ha. She knows that In-ha likes someone else, and doesn’t want Beom-jo to get hurt. But Beom-jo asks what if he’s already hurting—at first he was just curious about In-ha and it didn’t concern him if she liked another man, but now it’s starting to hurt.
That brings Mommy near tears, as she asks what on earth Dal-po has on her perfect Beom-jo, but he says that Dal-po is the person who makes In-ha laugh and cry. It’s funny that he seems more mature about this than Mommy, who pouts like it’s unacceptable.
So next thing we know, Mommy marches over to see Dad at his real estate office, and he nervously serves her a cup of tea, wondering why she’d come to see him. She cuts to the chase and says that Beom-jo likes In-ha, and when Dad says he didn’t know, her tone suddenly shifts, and dramatic music cues the inner makjang chaebol mother-in-law to come out.
She throws her tea in Dad’s face and asks how he could sit by and let his lowly daughter look up at her perfect son, and throws money in his face to take care of it.
Dad blinks in terror… only to have Mommy repeat her first question. Ha, he imagined it all. Dad’s fantasies are the best. To his utter shock, when he assures her that he’ll talk to In-ha and keep her away from Beom-jo, Mommy cries that he can’t do that—she came here to ask for his help in getting them together.
He goes home with this goofy smile plastered on his face, wondering if he’s going to become in-laws with the president of a shopping mall. But suddenly the vision of In-ha and Dal-po walking away hand-in-hand brings his dream to a screeching halt, and he decides to call In-ha to ask her directly.
I love how blunt this family is. He just calls and asks if she likes Dal-po, and she looks over at Dal-po sitting next to her, and just answers into the phone, “Yes, I do.” Dad clarifies that he meant, as a man, and In-ha says very clearly, “I like Dal-po. As a man.” Omo.
Dad just hangs up, and then immediately texts Dal-po to meet him tomorrow. In-ha wonders how Dad found out, and says that she’ll meet Dad instead and explain everything herself. But Dal-po just pulls her chair close (rawr) and says he’s going to meet Dad and do all the explaining, so she needn’t worry.
The next day, Dad preemptively shovels shaved ice into his mouth on a freezing cold day, because his insides are boiling. He asks again about Dal-po’s birth family, reiterating that the only reason he’s against Dal-po is because he won’t talk about it. Dad says that if he tells him, he’ll think about giving him and In-ha his blessing: “That’s not an approval! I said I’d THINK about it!”
So Dal-po finally tells him that his father was a civil servant and his mother was a housewife, but then he lies that he’s an only son. He says that his parents died in an accident and other relatives didn’t want to take him in, and that’s the reason he didn’t want to find his family. I feel like it’s a bad idea to lie when Dad’s being so open-minded, but okay.
Dad seems reassured after that, and starts his speech about In-ha, but Dal-po cuts him off to say that he knows—In-ha is his precious only daughter and he wants her to be protected and happy. Dal-po has memorized this speech forwards and backwards, and Dad nods that it’s okay as long as he knows that. Aw, is he giving his approval?
Dad can’t help but regret the other option though, and whines that Dal-po should know what enormous thing (chaebol in-laws) he’s giving up right now, heh. He doesn’t say it out loud and just gulps down more shaved ice, and Dal-po’s grateful smile just makes him more upset. He adds quickly that he did NOT give an official approval—he’s thinking about it. I luff Dad.
Dal-po narrates that the cost of staying silent about Hyung was sweet… at first. Hyung remained a hero of the people, and Dal-po got to be happy with In-ha. We watch as they sneak hugs in the halls of the precinct like adorable little lovebirds. “But that happiness was slowly disappearing…” We cut to Hyung staring at the flyer he took for the special broadcast news lecture that Mom is giving at MSC.
The YGN news team heads out for a company dinner, and they happen to be seated right next to the MSC team in the same restaurant. MSC loudly toasts to their success as the ratings leader, and the YGN team stews impotently.
All their attempts to counter get shut down by Director Lee, but he does perk up when Gyo-dong loudly declares that he won’t be attending the special lecture by Song Cha-ok (that Director Lee wasn’t asked to do this year) because he doesn’t need to learn how to make news out of scandal. The YGN team toasts to doing news their way, and bitterly order the cheap samgyupsal as MSC orders more prime beef.
In-ha asks if Dal-po is coming to Mom’s lecture today, and he says that all the rookies were ordered to attend. As she fixes his hair to look presentable, she tells him to say what he wants to Mom, and he says he already said everything during their YGN interview debate. She recalls with a wince and wonders if he’s reminded of her mother when he looks at her, but he just pinches her cheeks and says her face makes him laugh.
Hyung takes his dog to his coworker and asks the ajusshi to take him in, because he’s moving far away. Uh-oh, you’re planning something really stupid, aren’t you?
At MSC, the cameraman who’s worried for Mom’s safety remembers seeing Beom-jo wrist-grab Mom out of the elevator the other day and mistakes that for a crush. He looks Beom-jo up and down and feels up his biceps, deciding that a smitten bodyguard might do some good.
So he tells Beom-jo that Hyung might come to today’s lecture and do something dangerous to Mom, and asks for his help. He’s planning to tail Hyung today just in case, but can’t drive. Beom-jo’s got that covered, and takes him to his garage filled with cars all for his personal use.
They wait outside Hyung’s apartment and watch as he’s greeted by fans, and Beom-jo wonders why a hero would do something dangerous. But the cameraman says it’s dangerous to judge a person by only the ten minutes that they’ve seen, and orders him to follow. It doesn’t take long for Hyung to notice that he’s got a tail, and he calls his ajusshi friend for another favor.
Dal-po arrives at MSC for the lecture, and comes face-to-face with Mom. She remembers him and admits that she didn’t expect a taxi driver to become a reporter, and tells him to bark all he wants if he’s the wolf he said he’d be.
He tenses up and balls up his fists, fire in his eyes… but then he spots In-ha standing just behind her and holds back. He says he’s here today to learn, not bark, and even bows.
Yoo-rae arrives at the lecture hall proudly sporting her YGN jacket, prepared to cut Mom down to size because she’s still bitter about failing the MSC interview. She sees In-ha in front of her and apologizes, but In-ha tells her to do her best.
Hyung stops during his water delivery route at his coworker’s house, and in the car, Beom-jo hears the rest of the backstory from the cameraman. He’s much more alarmed when he realizes that Hyung could be a danger to In-ha too.
Just before the lecture begins, the higher-ups at YGN start sneaking in with turtlenecks pulled up to their eyes, and discover their colleagues all sitting nearby doing the exact same thing. Gyo-dong: “I was just passing by!” Uh, you work in a building thirty feet away.
Mom begins her lecture on Fact and Impact, and gives examples of how most other stations like YGN report the straight facts in the dullest way possible, while her strategy at MSC is to keep the facts but change the way the headline is crafted for most impact, which she calls adding seasoning.
Meanwhile, Beom-jo stays on Hyung’s tail even when he gets on the highway headed down to Busan, determined to keep In-ha safe. But as suspected, it’s Hyung’s coworker behind the wheel of his truck, and when we return to the lecture hall, Hyung is already sitting in the audience.
Mom turns to the floor for questions, and everyone nudges Yoo-rae to go ahead and cut her down with a direct question instead of just coughing up snide remarks from the peanut gallery. So she stands up and proudly introduces herself as a YGN reporter, and then asks if Mom has gotten Botox. Wah waaaaah. The YGN execs shrink in their seats, mortified at the question, and Mom thanks her for a prime example of fact-less and impact-less news.
She looks right at Dal-po as she says that it might be one thing if they didn’t know what a reporter does, but now that they do, it’s hard to just bark without any basis. His lips curl up in anger, and he looks like he’s about to blow. Do it! Stand up!
In-ha turns around to look at him and sees how much he’s holding back, and raises her hand for a question. Omo, is she going to challenge her mother in Dal-po’s place? She takes the mic and asks if Mom has ever ignored fact in favor of impact. Oooo, them’s fightin’ words.
Mom lies through her teeth that she’s never done that, and In-ha just sits back down. But then her hiccups start, and she pointedly says she can’t seem to understand her answer, when she knows that thirteen years ago, Mom ignored the chances that Firefighter Dad died in the line of duty in favor of breaking the news that he was alive.
She continues to say that Mom chose to edit interviews with the family members to exclude fact and change the story, making them outcasts, and leading a mother to end her and her son’s lives. She calls it a perfect example of how dangerous it is to report news with impact, without fact. Hyung’s eyes fill with tears as he listens to In-ha’s words.
Mom is ruffled, but she says that she did nothing wrong, since all she did was believe the Pinocchio witness. In-ha is reminded of giving that very same excuse in the debate, and what Dal-po had said to her in response. She says Dal-po’s words now to her mother:
In-ha: Someone once said that people believe that Pinocchios always tell the truth. And people believe that reporters only tell the truth, just like Pinocchios. Pinocchios and reporters alike should have known that, and should know that their words are more frightening than anyone else’s. That is what you did wrong—your carelessness destroyed one family. Therefore, you share responsibility in this tragedy. You experienced that thirteen years ago but are still promoting impact—I see that you’re the same trash reporter* you were then.
Slow clap. I know they were Dal-po’s words, but wow do they feel different coming out of In-ha. [*The “trash reporter” is a bit of jargon they learned at the precinct that mashes “reporter” and “trash.” The word is less harsh in Korean, but the way In-ha means it now is as scathing as it sounds.] Mom is stunned and has absolutely nothing to say in defense.
Dal-po crouches with In-ha in the hallway afterwards, and she wonders if she’ll be fired before she ever becomes an official reporter. She asks if YGN might take her instead, and he deflates her with a no. He asks why she did it when even he was doing a good job of holding back, and she says it’s because he was holding back—she could see that and she knew she’d hiccup if she didn’t say something.
He asks if she’s okay, and when she tries to avoid the question by running away, he traps her with his arms like before. She admits that she’d like to say yes, but she can’t because that’s her mother, no matter how hateful. But she hates even more that saying that will just make Dal-po worry about her. She asks him to just say what’s on his mind to her mother when he wants, instead of holding it in. He gives a little nod.
Mom tries to remain placid on the surface, but she erupts and throws her lecture notes to the ground, finally showing some signs of human emotion.
The YGN foursome crosses the street back to their station, and Director Lee wonders why In-ha’s words sounded so familiar. Gyo-dong says it’s what Dal-po yelled at her during their debate, and that it seems that the words have been delivered to their intended target at last. The rest of them wonder what he’s talking about.
It’s only when they arrive at a rest stop that Beom-jo sees the ajusshi come out of Hyung’s truck, and he calls Dal-po in a panic to ask where In-ha and her mother are, and warns him about Hyung. Dal-po runs back inside MSC… just in time to watch Hyung take the elevator up just seconds behind In-ha, staring up at her the whole time. Ack, ruuuuun!
In-ha gets off the elevator and takes a call from Dal-po, but Hyung grabs her and pulls her into a storage room before she can say anything. He slams her up against the wall and asks how she knew about those things she said in the lecture, naming the details she added like his dad’s promise to see fireworks and his mother being ostracized in the marketplace.
He says that no one but his family knew those things, and demands an answer. In-ha is terrified, but says she can’t tell him how she knows. He screams at her to tell him, just as Dal-po runs up and slams into Hyung.
Dal-po gets up to check on In-ha (Can’t we run first, check later?!) and Hyung slams him up against the other wall. Dal-po begs, “Hyung, please.” Hyung growls at him not to call him that, but Dal-po finally says, “It’s me, Hyung… it’s Ha-myung.”
A tear falls as he says his own name, and Hyung just stares back, numb with shock. He says it again: “I’m your brother, Ki Ha-myung.”
He said it! AaaaaAAAaaah! I can’t wait to find out Hyung’s response. Is this the tearful brotherly reunion I’ve been waiting for? It’d better be. I’d like to think that In-ha’s incisive questions were the thing to stop Hyung from doing whatever terrible thing he attended the lecture to do. Because he had to have felt the same sense of justified anger and satisfaction to watch Mom squirm on that stage that I felt. And it wasn’t just in the words that In-ha repeated, but in her delivery—burning up from the anger she feels for the wrongs done to Dal-po, as if they’d been done to her. Because it’s personal to her, the words ring with the same urgency as the time Dal-po said them during the debate, and in this case, there’s an added jab for Mom to hear them coming out of In-ha, the one person who might possibly get under her skin. In making In-ha the mouthpiece, Mom was forced to hear what was said. So while Dal-po did cry wolf—he failed to show up as the wolf that he promised he’d be—his bark had much more bite coming out of In-ha.
My favorite thing about In-ha is that she unequivocally takes Dal-po’s side as soon as she learns the truth, without a moment’s hesitation. She runs up to that roof to say that she’s sorry and never once lets him think that she’d choose anyone’s side but his, as if that’s a given. So instead of two people each shouldering a burden for two on their own and spending multiple episodes being noble and alone, they simply hold hands and share their burdens and become each other’s support. And in the end, In-ha shows us that when Dal-po’s problems are her problems, she can step up and be his white knight.
The icing on the cake was Dad, because the heavier storylines would’ve been plenty of plot movement alone, but it’s an extra treat to stop for Dad’s discovery of In-ha and Dal-po’s romance. I really love the funny relationship between Dad and Dal-po, and how Dad is actually not nearly as disapproving of Dal-po as he’d like to be. It’s as if his own affection for Dal-po is betraying him, because his words are stern but his soft underbelly is written all over his face, and he knows deep down that no one would treat In-ha more preciously than Dal-po would. Even though he’s not really giving anything up (because let’s be real—Beom-jo doesn’t have a shot in hell), it’s so touching that he would give up having a chaebol son-in-law for Dal-po, no matter how grudgingly he’d do it. I expected Dad to put up more of a fight, which made his reaction all the better for the twist.
What’s refreshing about this show is that In-ha might be the only one who’s really forced to be honest, but her character actually drives the people around her to be honest in response, and the result is that we get frank conversations when we want them most—right away, come hell or high water. It makes the drama feel amazingly fast, even though the events themselves aren’t that surprising, because what any other drama character might sit on for weeks, In-ha spits out in two seconds, has a good cry about it, and gets in her cuddles. That’s my kinda girl.