Pinocchio: Episode 11
I wish I could tell you that learning the truth meant that everyone got a happy fluffy holiday reunion, but that would be a big fat lie. It’s time for our hero to face the music about everything he’s been dreading and denying about his past, even if it means waking up from the dream that he never wanted to admit was a dream in the first place. Sigh, what’s so great about the truth anyway? Can’t we live in denial just a little bit longer?
SONG OF THE DAY
Taesabiae – “그 거짓말 역시 거짓말” (That Lie Is Indeed a Lie) [ Download ]
EPISODE 11: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
It’s the moment of truth. Dal-po finally tells his brother who he really is: “I’m your brother, Ha-myung.” Hyung screams that his little brother is dead, and calls Dal-po a liar. With tears streaming down his face, Dal-po cries: “No, YOU LIED! You said that Dad would come back, that the misunderstanding would get cleared up, and that he’d take us to see the fireworks show. That we’d go back to the way things were. You promised!”
They’re the last words Hyung ever said to his little brother, and he recalls the moment that he made that promise and swore he wasn’t lying. He stands there frozen and speechless, and Dal-po pounds Hyung’s chest over and over, crying, “But what is this? What happened to you?”
He buries his face in Hyung’s chest and wails, and Hyung finally reaches up to hug him back. I just want this scene to go on foreverrrrrr.
Hyung and Dal-po relocate to a family pizza restaurant, and Hyung puts a slice in front of Dal-po with this expectant face that kills me: “You said it was your life’s wish to eat an entire pizza by yourself…” And then he realizes that eons have passed and that’s probably not his wish anymore. Still, Hyung is amazed at how tall Dal-po has grown when he was always such a pint-sized kid, and asks eagerly how he’s lived all these years.
Dal-po tells him about his adopted family while ignoring repeated calls from In-ha, who’s back at the precinct and pacing with worry. Beom-jo finally returns from his Busan detour and asks what Hyung did to her. She’s sporting a bruise on her neck but refuses to talk about it, so Beom-jo says he’s just go ask Dal-po then.
She suddenly slams the door and tells Beom-jo not to dare ask Dal-po, and Beom-jo’s face falls at her harsh tone, and in Dal-po’s defense no less. He storms out and tells himself that it’s over—he’s going to stop going down this stupid one-way highway.
Dal-po and Hyung are interrupted by a barrage of fans wanting Hyung’s autograph, and Dal-po watches his brother play the hero with a sad smile. He apologizes for pretending not to recognize Hyung in the square when they first met, but Hyung says he did the right thing and that he should continue to live as Choi Dal-po and pretend he doesn’t have a brother.
Dal-po asks the question he’s been dreading all this time: “Why… should I?” Hyung’s face suddenly twists up as he struggles not to cry: “I think you’ve already guessed the answer…” Ugh, say it ain’t so, Hyuuuuung. “I… killed someone.”
Worst. Christmas present. Ever. I can’t believe you dashed my baseless and unfounded hopes like that. It takes a moment for the truth to sink in for Dal-po, and he just shuts his eyes as he lets out a shaky breath. Both brothers shed a silent tear at the table, surrounded by happy families all around them.
In-ha braces herself before going into the station, and she’s met with whispers all along the corridor about Mom’s moment of public humiliation at the hands of her own daughter. Her team leader Il-joo is prepared to give her a stern lecture (and win brownie points in front of Mom in the process), but when she walks into the office, Princess pulls rank and yells at her very loudly that what she said was right, but there’s a time and a place for that kind of thing.
He tells In-ha to report to him directly from now on and leads her away, and quietly tells her to take the rest of the day off. She asks quizzically if this is her punishment, because it doesn’t feel like it, and Princess makes it clear that he totally agrees with the stuff she said to Mom during the lecture. She’s grateful that someone’s on her side and calls him an awesome boss, and he turns back to ask specifically how he’s awesome, heh.
Over at YGN, Gyo-dong leads a staff meeting for new story ideas, and Yoo-rae pitches a story on Hyung (all she knows so far is his connection to the plant workers who died, and the plant manager’s cell phone pattern that Chan-soo is chasing). Dal-po freezes at the mention of his brother, and to his shock, Gyo-dong tells her to run with it.
Dal-po chases Gyo-dong down and asks for more time. But Gyo-dong knows that he’s already made his decision about Hyung, so he’s taking the story out of his hands. In desperation, Dal-po says he’ll do whatever it takes to get Hyung to turn himself in, and Gyo-dong’s eyes widen at that.
He leads Dal-po into the conference room and asks what that means—is Hyung a murderer? Dal-po confirms that Hyung admitted as much today, and Gyo-dong asks if he heard that and still plans to cover this up. Dal-po swears that he won’t, but begs for a chance to convince Hyung to do the right thing.
Yoo-rae presses her ear against the wall to try and eavesdrop on their conversation, but phew, she can’t hear anything. Gyo-dong comes out and reassigns Hyung’s story to Dal-po, and she fumes impotently at having her first juicy report stolen out from under her.
In-ha sighs as Dal-po ignores another of her calls, and she heads to a pojangmacha to polish off a few bottles of soju. She thinks back to Dal-po’s tearful reunion with his brother, wondering what he meant when he lamented the state he found Hyung in. She’s surprised to find Yoo-rae a few tables over, drunkenly grousing at her food as a stand-in for Dal-po. They’re both adorably drunk and happy to see each other.
Dal-po waits outside Hyung’s apartment, which is still decorated with hero banners and flowers from fans. Hyung brings him inside and tries to give him some of the fan gifts, but Dal-po ignores all his questions and just says quietly, “Turn yourself in.”
Dal-po asks him to stop his revenge here, but Hyung gets steely-eyed and asks how he’s supposed to do that when their mother died because of Song Cha-ok. Dal-po counters that it’s partly Hyung’s fault too, and asks why he abandoned them. It’s only then that Dal-po learns about Hyung’s interview with Song Cha-ok and how he ended up having to spend the night in jail. Hyung: “If you were me, would you be able to stop now?”
Dal-po walks home in a daze and remembers his adamant refusal to search for his family when he was a child. Riddled with guilt, he tells himself, “It’s because of me. I should’ve found Hyung. If I had, then he wouldn’t have killed anybody. I made Hyung a murderer.”
Both In-ha and Yoo-rae are happily drunk by the time they open up about their problems, and Yoo-rae skewers a piece of egg as a stand-in for Dal-po as she describes how there’s this egg that likes her but stole her news story and made her feel like a speck of dust today. (I’m simultaneously amused and grossed out that Yoo-rae’s solution to feeling ill is to hook a plastic bag around her ears as a handy puke bucket.)
In-ha says she totally understands and skewers a second piece of egg to say that there’s this egg she likes, and he’s having a hard time right now but it’s because of her, so there’s nothing she can do to fix it or make him feel better, and it makes her feel as useless as a speck of dust. They cheers with more soju, none the wiser that their eggs are the same egg.
Many more bottles of soju later, In-ha is passed out at the table, and Yoo-rae stumbles away. Beom-jo and his coworker happen to pass by and see her sleeping there, and at first Beom-jo pretends not to care, but eventually ditches his partner in the road to turn back for her.
He berates himself for being right back where he said he wouldn’t be, and calls Dal-po to come pick her up. They don’t exchange any words when he arrives, and Beom-jo leaves Dal-po to piggyback her home.
Dad is appalled at the sight of his drunken daughter, and as they put In-ha to bed, he reminds Dal-po that he ought to be on better behavior because Dad hasn’t given them his blessing yet. Dal-po apologizes quietly, and Dad starts in on another of his My Daughter Is Delicate and Precious speeches, only to be interrupted repeatedly by In-ha’s vomit reflex. Ha.
Dal-po caresses her face with a wistful smile, and then cries himself to sleep that night.
In the morning, Dad is looming over In-ha’s bed wearing a frilly apron, wondering what he must’ve done in a past life to spend his morning making hangover soup for his daughter. She thinks he’s overreacting, until he tells her to look in the mirror and adds that Dal-po piggybacked her home.
She wipes the crusty drool off her face before shuffling out to the breakfast table, and sheepishly tells them that she doesn’t remember anything from last night. Grandpa asks if she drank because she was upset about something, and she hiccups when she says no. Dal-po cuts in to say that she was upset about being grilled by sunbaes at work, and lies that she complained about it the whole way home.
She takes his word for it and feels relieved, but then she remembers a quick flash from last night: Dal-po telling her to forget it all, because she always forgets when she drinks. She asks Dal-po if they talked about anything last night, but he brushes past it as if nothing happened.
In-ha is surprised to learn that Yoo-rae wasn’t with her by the time Dal-po picked came and she wonders where Yoo-rae ended up. Cut to: an entire newsroom full of station caps, staring at a drunk Yoo-rae sleeping on their couch and swearing at Gyo-dong in banmal. Pfft.
She sleeps the morning away on the couch and crawls away when she wakes up, but on the way she picks up an interesting tidbit: MSC is going to do an exclusive interview with Hyung, and In-ha’s mom is going to conduct it herself.
She brings the news straight to Dal-po, who runs off in a panic when he realizes that Hyung might murder In-ha’s mom on live TV. On his way, he receives a disturbing anonymous tip via text, from someone claiming that they witnessed Hyung kill the plant manager. There’s even a picture of the manhole covered with bricks to prove it. Ack.
Dal-po runs in front of Hyung’s truck to bring him to a screeching halt, and begs for him to rethink the interview tomorrow. But Hyung is so far gone that he wonders why he can’t just kill Song Cha-ok for the world to see, claiming that he’s come too far to waste his chance for revenge. And when Dal-po tells him about the anonymous text, he’s crushed when Hyung asks him to cover it up.
No matter how much Dal-po begs, Hyung just pushes him away and tells him not to call him hyung anymore. Dal-po asks if he can’t entrust the revenge to him now, and says he’ll bring Song Cha-ok down in his own way—as a reporter, with the truth.
But Hyung already knows how Dal-po feels about In-ha, and asks how he plans to carry out that revenge. He tells him to live as Choi Dal-po, and be loved… and leave the revenge to him. He punches Dal-po in the face and drives off, ignoring the cries.
In-ha is bothered all day by the feeling that something important happened last night, and decides to retrace her steps to try and jog her memory. All the pojangmacha ajumma can tell her is that a guy showed up to carry her home, and she saw them sitting nearby and talking for a long time, and In-ha looked like she was crying.
So In-ha wanders over to a park bench that starts to feel familiar, and suddenly Past In-ha and Dal-po come into frame as the memory plays out in front of her. Dal-po puts her down on the bench as they wait for a taxi, and he takes her hand as he tells her that he was with Hyung all day and couldn’t answer her calls, “Because I’m the one who turned my brother into a murderer.”
Present In-ha gasps as if she’s hearing this for the first time, and Past Dal-po confesses that he purposely didn’t search for his brother because he thought Hyung had abandoned him, because he wanted to stay by Dad and Grandpa’s side, and by her side. He says he could’ve stopped all of this if he had just found Hyung, and he hates himself for it—for not being able to leave her.
He says that even now in this moment, he’s hesitating because of her, and he hates himself for that too. He admits that the more sympathy he feels for Hyung, the more he hates her mother, and no matter how much he wants to cry alongside his brother and take his side, he can’t because of In-ha.
It’s crazy how these words come out like a sweet confession of love, but they do: “I want to tell Hyung to leave the revenge to me and rest, but I can’t… because of you.” In-ha tells him with a smile that he can hate her all he wants and he can leave her too, but he reaches up to her face and gets choked up with tears: “How can I… when it’s you?”
He brushes away his tears and says he’s not in his right mind and tells her to forget everything he just said, knowing that she will anyway because she’s drunk. The memory fades away and In-ha breaks down in tears as she wonders what they’re supposed to do now.
Dal-po is surprised to find In-ha waiting for him at YGN, and she pulls him aside because she has something to say. She cuts to the chase and says she remembers everything he said last night, and doesn’t let him try and lie his way out of it this time.
She says she knows how much he’s held back because of her, and she knows now that this is too big for him to keep repressing everything… so she’s decided to let him go. (What. NoooooOOOooo.) What kills me is that Dal-po can’t argue, because he knows she’s right.
She puts the dream button he sold her back in his hand and says she’ll be able to get over him, so he should stop hesitating and fight her mother with everything he’s got. He asks if she means it, and she does—sans hiccups to prove it.
She’s barely holding back her tears though, and tries to rush off. But Dal-po blocks her with his arms, and this time she pulls him in for one last kiss, as they both shed tears and say goodbye with a silent look. This is where that voiceover comes from—the one that narrated the scene with the traffic cone hats when we first discovered Dal-po’s feelings, which is the moment he thinks back to now.
Dal-po (voiceover): When I look back, that was the moment I should have left. From the start they were feelings I shouldn’t have had, and a person I shouldn’t have met. I thought that this thumping in my heart would quiet after time, and that once it did, I could leave. But that was childish misconception, and an excuse to linger by her side.
Inside that misconception and excuse, I was really happy. Even if that happiness was a lie, I thought that if I insisted a thousand times, it would come true. I thought that if I insisted a thousand times, dream would become reality. But even when I closed my eyes and shut my ears, no matter how much I argued, the truth remained as it was, in its place.
Dal-po marches into Gyo-dong’s office and hands over his phone and the tie pin, determined to stop hiding the truth. He goes to meet Hyung with a grim look of determination on his face, and says he’ll answer Hyung’s question now. He admits that because of In-ha, he held back on any thoughts of avenging his family. But he’s given up on In-ha now and is prepared to go to war.
Dal-po argues that Hyung became a killer because of him, and says he’ll take over getting revenge in his own way. Hyung says Dal-po wouldn’t have been able to stop him either way, and doesn’t put much stock in Dal-po’s idea of revenge.
Dal-po admits that he’s no different from Song Cha-ok right now, because he only saw what he wanted to see, and hid the truth when he found out about Hyung. “But I plan to become different from now on.”
He says he’s already handed over everything he has, and he’s on his way to meet that informant. And if what he says is true, he’s going to report… He gets choked up with tears as he has to say the words out loud: “That you’re a murderer. Forgive me. But that’s my answer, Hyung.” Hyung calls after him, but Dal-po doesn’t turn back.
It’s D-Day, and Dal-po steels himself as he reads over his report one last time. Over at MSC, Hyung sits down at the news desk next to Song Cha-ok for his live interview, as In-ha watches nervously from behind the cameras.
We flash back to Dal-po as he leaves his meeting with Hyung. The informant calls and he picks up, only to find that it’s Hyung on the other end—it was him all this time, and he says this was his way of turning himself in, to Dal-po. Hyung wanted to know what he’d do, and says tearfully that he thinks he can entrust their revenge to Little Bro now, and tells him to do it in style while he’s at it.
As Hyung’s interview at MSC begins, Dal-po watches as Chan-soo and his team of investigators unearth the manhole, and takes a deep breath before facing the camera to begin his report.
Ugh, my heart can’t take it when Dal-po cries. It was a rough hour, even though I know I asked for the sobbing brother reunion and everything. I am gratified that they had the chance to share at least half a meal before talk turned to murder. It’s just more than a little horrifying that Hyung doesn’t think he’s in the wrong though, or perhaps it’s that he doesn’t care about being wrong if he can feel satisfaction in his revenge. I don’t know if I’m supposed to cheer Dal-po on to take up the avenger’s mantle like it’s a good thing, because that seems wrong, but then he is doing it the right way, reporter-to-reporter, no body count to speak of.
I do bristle at the two brothers’ extremes though, because while Dal-po remains consistent, Hyung swings pretty wildly from coldblooded killer to goodhearted brother. How can he be SO good and SO bad at the same time? Even if that can be explained by his singular love for his family driving both extremes (which is true), I found it most unrealistic that he’d let Dal-po take over and get revenge, when up until a minute ago, he was ready to kill Song Cha-ok on live television. While I understand the last-minute attempt to redeem him by making him his own informant, I feel like Hyung is plenty sympathetic without that, and it’s far more realistic for him to think that his little brother’s noble attempt to fight fair and square is too idealistic to work. If he had that much faith in truth and justice, why would he have resorted to burying a man alive in a manhole?? And if meeting Dal-po is what changed his mind, I wanted to see that change, because right now I have Hyung-induced whiplash.
I knew Dal-po would think he’s to blame for his brother’s actions, which is a new kind of terrible, and it twists my heart twice as much when he reverts to being a kid brother after reuniting with Hyung, all tiny squeaky voice and big puppy eyes. (I find that the best thing they did in casting Hyung was to find someone taller than Lee Jong-seok, so he can look up at him the way he does.) But I was surprised at the resulting confession to In-ha, because while the subject of conversation was murder and guilt and revenge, it came out like a heartfelt confession of love. It’s strange how the words, I’m supposed to hate your mother and get revenge but I can’t because of you, end up sounding romantic. And I loved his matter-of-fact response that he could never hate her, because it’s her.
But then they had to screw it all up with their damned noble idiocy, which seems entirely unnecessary. It’s not like I don’t want to see In-ha’s mom get knocked down in her own court, but c’mon, are they actually going to stop loving each other while Dal-po gets his revenge? His big vengeance scheme currently consists of: Become a good reporter. It’s hardly a thing to turn their romance into the forbidden love of all time. If Dal-po had failed to stop Hyung and he killed Mom in cold blood, that’d be one thing. I’m pretty sure doing the right thing isn’t going to be a strong enough reason to keep them apart for long. Fine, you get your moment of noble self-sacrifice today, but one of you had better take it back soon.