Pinocchio keeps toggling light and dark with equal aplomb, not to mention sucking the wind out of me with each episode ender getting more and more intense. That makes sense as the story heads into the central world of network reporting and all the conflict and complications it entails. I appreciate In Ha’s candor more than she does because it’s a detriment to her that she’s not allowed even the luxury of a little white lie. But in dramas where so often characters lie for no reason other than fear, In Ha is the breath of fresh air of transparency where we see her admit her feelings for Dal Po and yet try to work through it.
The drama loves to torment Dal Po and this is one love confession that’s going to eat him up even more rather than ease his heartache. There are a million reasons for it not to work between Dal Po and In Ha and both are equally aware of it. Beyond the romance aspects of the story, the anger and resentment burning up both Dal Po and his hyung Jae Myung manifests itself in starkly different ways in this episode leading to a shocking moment of no return. I’m sad that the Ki family tragedy continues on when it appeared so close to wrapping up after the discovery of the fire captain’s remains. It goes to show that one wrong word can have far far reaching consequences that morph beyond recognition.
Episode 5 recap:
Dal Po goes to the police station to claim the remains of his dad only to hear that a family member has already taken the ashes. Dal Po identifies himself as also a family member and the person who took the ashes first could be his hyung so Dal Po wants his contact information. The officer needs identification from Dal Po otherwise he can’t divulge personal information.
Dal Po sadly leaves the police station with neither his dad’s ashes nor any way to find his hyung. Hyung places dad’s ashes in the memorial altar and cries that he’s finally all alone now. Except now Dal Po has confirmation that his hyung is alive and is happy not to be the only person left in the family anymore.
Dal Po speaks with his deceased dad asking for how he’s going to find his hyung? He gets a text from YGN informing him that he’s been hired as a reporter. He grimaces to remember what happened earlier, from his dreams of becoming a reporter with In Ha to destroying her dreams during the final test round. Now Dal Po has his own goal in life, he wants to find who is responsible for the tragedy inflicted on his family and find the only other person alive in this world who feels the same way, his hyung Jae Myung.
Dal Po gets dressed in his new suit for the first day on the job, looking more like a male model than a rookie reporter, rawr. In Ha gets dressed in casual clothes to head out and she still can’t stop hiccupping.
They run into each other in the living room and there is an awkward silence that’s broken up when Dad points out that Dal Po is going to work while In Ha is just going to her part time job at the convenience store. Dad thinks they finally look like uncle-niece.
Grandpa pops out wondering why neither is eating breakfast and doesn’t buy their unconvincing claims of not being hungry. He can tell something is off between them and wonders why they are fighting again. Dad thinks it’s normal for them to fight since one got accepted and the other didn’t. Now Dal Po went from a taxi driver to a reporter and is likely the first person in Korea to do so.
In Ha follows behind Dal Po as they head downstairs together and chattering nonstop about how she’s happy he got accepted even if she didn’t. She thought she would be envious but she’s not, she’s not upset at all. Dal Po points out her hiccupping which clearly indicates she’s lying but In Ha can only say that she’s not hiccupping because of not getting the job. Dal Po asks what she’s hiccupping for but In Ha can’t bring herself to explain.
In Ha takes the initiative to let Dal Po off the hook for what he said in the test. It was normal for them to have different points of view and he must have had a good reason to say what he said. Dal Po hardens his heart and declares that he doesn’t think In Ha should become a reporter so that is why he said that. This is what he really feels.
In Ha’s face falls and presses him for why she shouldn’t become a reporter? Dal Po brings up that he told her the reason during the test already. Dal Po reminds her that even her mom told her that a person with Pinocchio syndrome can’t become a reporter.
Dal Po thinks to himself that he doesn’t want In Ha to become a reporter because seeing her as a reporter will make him think of her scary mom. In Ha keeps asking why Dal Po asked to become reporters together before? Was he lying then? Dal Po walks away from In Ha as she screams about whether he’s been lying to her all this time. She throws her shoe at him which makes him stop in his tracks.
Dal Po believes that if In Ha becomes a reporter, he won’t be able to face her anymore and he’s scared of that happened to himself. Dal Po continues to walk away from In Ha without looking back.
In Ha is working at the convenience store and can’t stop hiccupping. A customer gives her advice on how to stop which makes In Ha scream that her hiccupping can’t be stopped. The customer thinks she’s still a student which makes In Ha cry even harder as a reminder that she graduated years ago and is a reporter wannabe who can’t get hired. She cries to students that she’s failed 36 interviews so they need to study hard and not become like her. She cries to a male customer about how unfair her uncle got hired after one month while she still can’t become a reporter.
In Ha says to the next customer that she has to confess her feelings to get her hiccups to stop. The person she likes is……the customer turns out to be Bum Jo and he finishes her sentence with “Choi Dal Po.” Bum Jo offers to hear In Ha’s woes since he has plenty of time.
Dal Po arrives at YGN studios and wonders if he’s too early when he sees no one around. He notices all the other rookies are huddled in a circle off to the side and pokes his head in to ask what they are doing? Turns out they are all exchanging info about the sunbae reporters and section chiefs at the network. Reporter Jang yells at them all and orders the rookies to follow him.
Yoo Rae finds her initial relief at not getting off on the wrong foot with Reporter Jang evaporated when she’s called to task for what she was reading earlier. The other reporters watch from the conference room laughing at the usual hazing going on and think Reporter Jang is going to have it out for the rookies holding their arms high in punishment. PD Hwang doesn’t think so, he thinks the tall one (Dal Po) will get in trouble first since he’s argumentative and thinks all reporters are crap and hates networks.
Yoo Rae starts to cry and is called out for it and claims she was just yawning even though her mouth was closed. Reporter Jang finds Dal Po staring and demands to know what he’s looking at? Dal Po says the punished rookies had it coming which gets Reporter Jang mad at him for being so heartless to his own rookies. He orders Dal Po to raise his arms and Dal Po immediately does it. The other reporters wonder if Dal Po is totally toothless and doesn’t believe he’s could have argued with PD Hwang before.
Reporter Jang announces that he’s going to lead the rookies for a week of on-the-job training.
Dal Po is giving Grandpa his usual back rub while Grandpa marvels at how handsome his Dal Po looks in his YGN employee badge picture.
In Ha runs to the bathroom to brush her teeth and listens to Grandpa asking when Dal Po will get on air. Dal Po is just a rookie and won’t be on air any time soon. In Ha gets angrier and angrier brushing her teeth and remembering how mean Dal Po is to her. She takes his toothbrush and swirls it around the toilet as payback before putting it back.
Dal Po goes to the bathroom to brush his teeth and almost puts the dirty toothbrush in his mouth but In Ha softens her heart and runs back in to throw it away before huffing off.
The factory trio are celebrating the fact that the team leader managed to pay them back for the money he borrowed. Talk turns to how the missing firefighter’s remains from 13 years ago was finally discovered. All three are even more relieved that he can’t ever come back and refute their false testimony now. They cheer only to have a drunken person bump into their table. The guy turns out to be Jae Myung who clearly has been stalking these three.
Reporter Jang takes the rookies on a tour of the broadcast floor during Anchor Lee’s broadcast. The report is about how YGN leads the national polls on trustworthy news reporting while MSC is in the middle of the pack but dropping in percentage.
The MSC news team are in a conference to discuss their falling numbers and how to bring up their trustworthiness level. Cha Ok hears that their rookie reporter pool has thinned recently as some of the accepted rookies couldn’t hack it in training.
In Ha bitches to Bum Jo about how weird Dal Po has been, first wanting to become a reporter with her and then later changing his mind and saying she can’t become a reporter and explaining his reasons. Bum Jo murmurs sympathetic agreement and keeps listening. In Ha also wants her hiccupping to stop but Bum Jo quite likes it. He finds it cute and points out it could be worse, she could fart every time she tells a lie. That gets a laugh out of In Ha to finally see her hiccupping as not the worst thing ever. She thanks Bum Jo for listening to her, it’s like confessing to a priest. Bum Jo tells In Ha that he likes listening to her as well.
Cha Ok arrives at convenience store and is surprised to see In Ha smiling and in good spirits, she thought In Ha would be demoralized at yet another rejection. Mother-daughter sit down to talk and Cha Ok dives right into the reason she’s here – she offers In Ha a job at MSC since the network is short on rookie reporters. In Ha wonders if she’s a substitute but Cha Ok wants In Ha as good publicity. MSC is low on trustworthiness so having a Pinocchio syndrome reporter is good for selling the newscast to the public. It’s just an internship for now but if In Ha does well then she can become a regular employee.
In Ha turns down the offer even though she has no better option before her. Cha Ok wonders if In Ha’s pride is that important and reminds In Ha that her dream of becoming a reporter doesn’t afford her the luxury of prioritizing her pride and reputation. That’s why it’s a choice, to get someone one has to give up something else. In Ha asks what her mom gave up to become a reporter? Cha Ok admits she gave up In Ha to get here and she did regret it before but how she has no time for sentimental regrets anymore. She leaves her card with In Ha and tells her to come if she changes her mind. But first In Ha needs to fix her hiccupping fit.
In Ha looks at her mother’s card and sighs that she thought her mom came today because it was her birthday. Bum Jo stares at In Ha and looks down at present in his hand which shows that he came to see In Ha today because he knew it was her birthday.
Bum Jo tells Mommy Dearest to share the news that In Ha might join MSC. His Mom can’t believe In Ha will still go to MSC after her own mom treated her this badly. Bum Jo hugs his Mom who no other mom can possibly compare. He’s curious why In Ha won’t give up on her reporter dreams, why her mom turned out to be so cold, and what will happen if a Pinocchio did become a reporter. Mom points out that Bum Jo is odd lately being so curious about things.
In Ha is thinking in her usual way, upside down doing a headstand at work before changing shifts with the arriving employee. Dal Po passes a bakery on his way home and pauses before growing frustrated. He gets on the bus and sighs while staring at the birthday cake in his hand. He notices a little boy staring at the cake and gives it to the grandma with the little boy.
Dal Po finds In Ha waiting for him outside the building and when they get into the elevator, she changes their destination to the roof as she wants to talk to him. In Ha nervously fingers her button necklace while Dal Po impatiently tells her to hurry up since its cold. In Ha once again tells Dal Po that she doesn’t resent him getting hired as a reporter while she was rejected, the reason her hiccups started was when she tried to deny that she liked him. That shocks Dal Po and he asks In Ha to come again so In Ha just says outright “I like you.”
In Ha tried to stop it but she can’t because this is how she really feels. Dal Po turns away from her and claims she’s lying and this can’t happen. In Ha walks over to look at him and reminds him that her hiccups stopped because that wasn’t a lie. It’s the truth that she likes him, but she knows this is just her one-sided crush. The answer is also evidence since he’s her uncle. But she has no choice but to confess to him otherwise her hiccups won’t stop.
In Ha tells Dal Po not to worry as she’ll resolve her feelings alone and not bother him with it. She’ll call him uncle properly and even try to date other men. She’ll do all she can to get over him so can he please forget what she just said. Dal Po agrees and In Ha thanks him before walking away. Dal Po stops her and asks what will happen if she can’t stop it? If she tries hard and does everything she can’t but her feelings remain the same. What will happen then?
We see Dal Po is crying silently but he wipes the tears away before turning around to face In Ha. She doesn’t think it’ll come to that as they will always be a family. Plus she’s not at that level yet in her feelings so he needn’t worry. She’ll quickly fix her feelings and they will be fine going forward. In Ha leaves the roof while Dal Po stares sadly at her as he murmurs that she at least is lucky to be able to work through her feelings.
In Ha goes back to the apartment and finds Dad and Grandpa cutting a cake for her on the table. Dal Po walks in and is surprised to see it’s the exact same cake he gave the little boy and his grandma. Dad explains that it got it from a grandma who Dad often helps, so LOL at the same cake making a full circle back to In Ha. FATE!
In Ha grabs a slice with her hands and shoves it in her mouth in bliss. Dad and daughter bicker over how uncouth she while Grandpa orders them to stop fighting. In Ha is so happy with her favorite strawberry cake and wonders if that grandma is an angel to know what she loves, unlike her family who all forgot about her birthday. Dal Po quietly eats his cake and says nothing.
Dal Po stares at the Choi family portrait and thinks back to In Ha saying they will always be a family. He flips the picture down on the table. In Ha finishes another headstand thinking session and makes up her mind and calls her mom.
Reporters Lee and Kim are at MSC studios discussing two new rookie reporters parachuting in today. They get into the packed elevator and continue discussing now Chief Song is bringing one in and the other is from another connection. Reporter Kim is especially annoyed and wants to expose this anonymously on social media.
The elevator door opens and both reporters step out followed by In Ha and Bum Jo. Both interns greet Cha Ok and another network bigwig standing there. Cha Ok introduces the two parachuting interns to the two reporters who they will be working with. Reporter Kim immediately changes his tune and compliments the interns are great additions to the team. Afterwards Reporter Lee snarks and wonders why Reporter Kim isn’t looking to cause waves anymore.
In Ha sits next to her Mom to get their make up done and is handed a portfolio for her first promo which will happen immediately this week. Mom correctly figures In Ha didn’t tell her Dad the truth that she is now working at MSC. In Ha plans to tell her Dad later. Mom notices her sensible flats and lets her borrow her fancy pumps to record her promo segment.
Reporter Jang leads the rookie team everywhere to get them accustomed to all types of reporting environments. He even leads them to the morgue to watch an autopsy and Yoo Rae faints despite trying her best to hang in there.
In Ha slowly walks home and reads a text from her Mom asking if she told her Dad yet? In Ha goes home and finds Dad and Grandpa setting the table for dinner. She’s about to tell them about working at MSC when Dal Po walks in and she doesn’t say anymore. Dal Po gets queasy when he sees dinner is intestine hot pot after witnessing the autopsy earlier and he has to hold back his retch reflex.
Dal Po eventually runs off to the bathroom to throw up while Dad makes a joke about how guys can suffer morning sickness. After washing up Dal Po goes back to his room to find In Ha left him some medicine for his upset stomach. Later Grandpa also brings Dal Po medicine and worries that he’s working too hard which is why he’s gotten sick. Grandpa’s concern for Dal Po makes him smile. Finally Dad comes by with medicine for his “hyung” as well and gruffy tells him to drink it.
Dal Po sits at his desk and stares at the three packages of medicine each of the members of the family got for him. He picks up the family picture again and strokes it with a sad smile.
In Ha finds Dal Po waiting for the bathroom in the morning and Dal Po takes a deep breath before turning back to face In Ha with a smile. He’s back to his usual teasing way with her and won’t let her cut in front of him to use the bathroom. Both shrink back at the smell from the bathroom when Dad opens up and comes out. He warns them it’s not a good idea to go inside right now. They now try to push each other inside before Dal Po picks up In Ha and deposits her inside. Ahahaha.
Reporter Jang’s new torment the rookies task of the day is for the entire team to glue back together a giant bag of shredded documents to look for anything newsworthy. The team digs into the tedious task.
Jae Myung’s colleague urges him to get the repair fee from Dal Po and he agrees to call. Jae Myung calls Dal Po who answers from the conference room as the other rookies are grumbling that they will never finish. Jae Myung wants to meet today so Dal Po agrees and ducks out asking the other rookies to cover for him.
Dal Po leaves YGN to go meet Jae Myung and we see the brothers driving to the meeting. Dal Po arrives to and calls the person he’s supposed to meet and turns out that he is meeting Jae Myung’s colleague. It was the colleague who called Dal Po because Jae Myung is too nice to call. Dal Po smiles and is happy to pay for it.
Jae Myung drives to meet the factory team leader who was the person he was on the phone with. He stole the guy’s wallet when he bumped into their table and is claiming to return it to lure him out. Jae Myung tells the team leader to go with him as he left the wallet at work. As they are walking off, Jae Myung asks the borrow the guy’s cell phone claiming his is out of battery. The team leader falls into an open hole in the ground that Jae Myung covered with newspapers as a trap.
Dal Po runs back to YGN and finds a furious Reporter Jang waiting for him in the conference room. Reporter Jang tells the rest of the rookies to go home while Dal Po has to stay and finish the task. The rookies thank Dal Po for saving them. Yoo Rae can’t help but smile thinking that Reporter Jang has his eye on Dal Po now so she won’t get assigned to his team.
Bum Jo and In Ha leave work together and he hands her a snack that is her favorite. In Ha starts to wonder how come she keeps running into Bum Jo and he also so much about her. In Ha’s attention is then captivated when her promo plays on the big screen in the lobby. Bum Jo smiles at In Ha staring at her first step to becoming a reporter and thinks it doesn’t matter why he knows In Ha as long as they met.
PD Hwang goes to the conference room to confront Dal Po on why he’s so submissive towards whatever Reporter Jang is dishing out? That’s not Dal Po’s style as PD Hwang still remembers him from 8 years ago. Why did Dal Po come to the dirty network he loathes so much? Dal Po smiles and initially doesn’t want to answer until PD Hwang closes the conference room door and tells him to be honest. He wants to know why Dal Po became the reporter he so hates?
Dal Po turns to face PD Hwang and admits reporters are still all dirty and he can’t breathe well here. But he did it to get his name out there one day. When he takes the microphone he will be able to reveal his real name. PD Hwang asks what Dal Po’s real name is? Dal Po takes a deep breath and says “Ki Ha Myung.” The son of Captain Ki whose remains were recently found.
Jae Myung tells the team leader that he will die alone out here because this place is abandoned and no one will hear him scream. Jae Myung reveals that he’s the son of Captain Ki, the man wrongfully accused of being derelict in duty and a coward. The team captain will die alone here, and will be held accountable for killing his two factory colleagues, who we see laying in the morgue all badly burned and dead. The team leader begs for his life but Jae Myung is unmoved and plans for the world to remember him as a killer who ran away and his family will live in shame as well.
PD Hwang is stunned and hears that Dal Po lost his parents and hyung and his real name, all because of the press. Plus he learned a few days ago how much wrong was inflicted on his dad’s reputation. That’s why he wants to become a reporter, to find someone and also learn how a person can do something like that. Dal Po became a reporter because he plans to learn everything it takes to do this job.
Thoughts of Mine:
Count me in with the group that’s stunned at how dark Jae Myung went and the fact that the drama wanted to go there. If Jae Myung killed those other two factory workers then his fate is sealed regardless of whether the team leader he has imprisoned in the manhole ditch ends up dying or not. I could tell Jae Myung was as angry and resentful as Dal Po is but unlike Dal Po he doesn’t have a replacement family to keep him surrounded by love and grounded. Jae Myung is like a walking time bomb and running into those two factory workers set him off. I thought he blamed the Pinocchio eye witness but now he’s channeled all his vengeance on three cowards who shirked the blame but didn’t create the tragedy alone. I don’t particular like this turn of events since it decreases the chances of a happy brotherly reunion down the road. Homicidal Jae Myung also lessens my pity for his plight because he’s just blindly continuing the cycle of pain. I guess it’s understandable since he thinks his entire family is dead. Sigh, this tragedy just seems to go on and on.
I continue to love In Ha more and more as her character presents both a sensible and emotional anchor that balances nicely. She’s happy Dal Po got accepted even if she didn’t but she can’t figure out why the sudden change of view from him. She strikes me as very grounded and the way she approached her mom’s offer to work at MSC is equally pragmatic. Her pride can’t land her a job so why not try swallowing the pride and seeing if she earns the right after getting her foot in the door. I never understand why dramas like to write characters as morally superior as if ideals can feed one’s hunger. In Ha’s mom is still completely unlikable and it irks me that the story needs to paint her as an ice queen to accomplish her reporter dreams as if it’s not possible to have both a family and career accomplishment. I’m just happy that In Ha has stopped idealizing her, and in a way it’s also good that In Ha can no longer expect Dal Po to always have her back. I get her frustration and disappointment with him but she’ll understand soon why he’s so bipolar around her lately.
Dal Po really came into his own in this episode as he struggled to reconcile his feelings for In Ha, her feelings for him, and the whole reporter-career-mom obstacle that forever stands between them. He could bridge it as family with her, but the more she inches closer to becoming just like her mom the more Dal Po’s resentment will bubble forth. Becoming a reporter will probably be the best way for Dal Po to work though his anger at the profession because he’ll be placed in the very hard spot soon and understand what it’s like to make decisions under pressure from both ratings and the evidence. Jae Myung doesn’t have an outlet for his pain but Dal Po has both an outlet and a comforting security blanket in his second family. Their concern for Dal Po maybe being sick is the stark reminder that he already has a family regardless of how things stand between him and In Ha going forward. As Dal Po struggles between the lingering ties to his real family and how to toggle the delicate ties of his second family, becoming a reporter might actually help him realize that his life’s unfair tragedy may have given him the chance with In Ha that would have never existed otherwise.
Click here to watch Pinocchio.