By all that is holy in dramaland it’s going to be a painful week to endure until the next episodes of Pinocchio. If this drama was already quite good, this week’s episodes vaulted it into truly excellent storytelling level. The quality isn’t necessarily award winning but what it does is just as hard by balancing the entertainment value with the thoughtful message. In Ha’s reaction and aftermath to finding out the truth of Dal Po’s parentage and past was more satisfying than I expected, taking all her love for him and opening up an even greater arena for their love because she knows all of him now, including what he’s worked though just to love her.
If Cha Ok’s redemption comes in the form of a genuine mea culpa that might not be impossible for me to swallow. Ultimately she was but one cog in creating the Ki family tragedy rather than the lynchpin, but she needs to fully accept her role otherwise the bigger problem is that the same thing could happen again. Dal Po and In Ha being even more in sync delivers so much cathartic breakthroughs that leaves all the characters equally playing catch up, but the dynamic duo can only go so far and much remains beyond their control. Such as Jae Myung, Dal Po may be able to stop his hyung and delay the consequences, but the truth that has set their past free will soon become the noose that will knot their future up again.
Episode 10 recap:
Dal Po stands on the roof contemplating the potentially incriminating recording of his hyung from their conversation at the memorial altar. In Ha finds him and confirms that his real name is Ki Ha Myung, which means he’s the younger brother of Ki Jae Myung and also a victim in the Ki family tragedy that her mom had a hand in creating. In Ha sinks to her knees crying while Dal Po kneels down to join her but he’s surprisingly calm.
In Ha keeps apologizing to Dal Po and wonders what how to go forward, feeling so guilty towards him for what her mom did. Dal Po takes In Ha’s hand and thinks that In Ha cried for an hour like this while saying “I’m sorry” over and over while he kept responding “It’s okay” back at her.
In Ha finally stops crying and asks to hear everything from Dal Po about what happened. He explains that it’s a very long story but she wants to hear it, all of it. Dal Po tells her as In Ha listens and feels rage for what happened.
Night has fallen by the time In Ha hears the whole story and she can only imagine how Dal Po must’ve hated her in the past. He admits there are times he didn’t like her, and she thinks he also doesn’t want to see her anymore. Dal Po yells back that he doesn’t want to see her! In Ha feels like she deserves this so she’ll go away now and he doesn’t have to see her. She also won’t be a reporter anymore because he doesn’t like it.
Dal Po grabs her cheeks and turns her crying face towards him and yells that when she cries is when he doesn’t want to see her. Awwww. He wraps her scarf tighter around her neck and tells her to go home with him now, he’s been comforting her for two hours and both of them are nearly frozen. Dal Po admits that he hated In Ha and her mom when he was Ki Ha Myung, and he thought about leaving the house once Grandpa got better. But now he’s Choi Dal Po and he’ll continue to use that name going forward.
In ha wants to ask why but stops herself so Dal Po pushes her to ask anyways. In Ha’s question is why Dal Po doesn’t identify himself to his hyung and also told In Ha that his hyung is dangerous? Dal Po wants to know if In Ha can keep a secret for him but she can’t since she’s a Pinocchio so she doesn’t want to ask anything more.
In Ha plans to go back to work rather than have dinner with the family since Dad and Grandpa will ask why she’s been acting weird and she can’t lie so she’ll have to tell them everything about Dal Po and his real family. Dal Po asks her to wait 5 minutes before coming home to dinner and he’ll make sure she’s not asked any questions during dinner.
In Ha goes home to dinner and sure enough both Dad and Grandpa are just happy to eat together and don’t ask her any questions. Dal Po asks about the new TV in the living room and Grandpa crows about how he needs it to watch In Ha and Dal Po on the news after they are finished with their internship. Grandpa grabs the manual to read about the awesome new functions of the TV. Dal Po is more interested in how Grandpa got the money to buy a new TV and runs back to his room to cry over even more of his piggy kids sliced open.
In Ha is walking back to the network with Dal Po and asks how he got the family to not ask her any questions? Turns out Dal Po told them that she was on her period and totally moody, LOL. In Ha is understandably peeved but Dal Po barks at her to just follow him so she happily takes his hand and they walk off together.
Dad happens to be taking out the trash and notices the hand holding. He’s initially upset at Dal Po until he notices In Ha’s smiling lovingly at Dal Po which makes Dad sigh.
Dal Po runs into PD Hwang at the network and he grabs the tie recording from Dal Po to submit to the higher ups despite Dal Po insisting that he’ll do it himself.
Bum Jo is reading a news article about In Ha’s mom and thinks she should be happy as well but In Ha responds in a disinterested monotone voice. The elevator opens and Cha Ok is inside so In Ha refuses to get into the elevator with her. Hyung Jae Myung stands behind the wall staring at In Ha.
Cha Ok remembers In Ha running out of the office earlier today so asks Reporter Lee what he said to In Ha? Reporter Lee admits he told In Ha everything about what happened with Ki Jae Myung 13 years ago because he’s worried about Cha Ok and thinks Jae Myung is dangerous.
PD Hwang listens to the recording and hears Jae Myung choosing revenge. This isn’t proof that Jae Myung did anything to the missing factory team leader but it’s a lead that the police need. Dal Po asks if PD Hwang can’t just let this go, the world thinks his hyung is a hero right now, can’t they just let this suspicion go. PD Hwang doesn’t say anything and just lets Dal Po take the recording. He’s not doing this for Dal Po because the truth will always come out eventually, so Dal Po needs to be ready at that time as a reporter to face it.
Dad sits at home thinking about offering to take little Dal Po to a reporter to help him look for his real family but little Dal Po vehemently refuses. Dal then asks adult Dal Po more about his real family but Dal Po still doesn’t want to say anything. Dad understands and he wants to learn more about Dal Po is all, it’s not whether Dal Po is from a rich or poor past. Grandpa joins Dad in the kitchen and is asked what to do is someone hides a family past? Should one continue to press further? Grandpa gives Dad some money and tells him to let it go.
Yoo Rae is eavesdropping on Chan Soo discussing the missing factory team leader Moon Duk Soo case inside his office. Now that Chan Soo has Ki Jae Myung’s name, he thinks Jae Myung is involved somehow because of what the factory team leader did in giving false testimony against his dad 13 years ago. Chan Soo wants to keep investigating but his boss wants him to stop based on suspicion alone since Jae Myung is currently the nation’s hero. If Chan Soo gets more concrete evidence then he can investigate then.
Dal Po joins Yoo Rae and listens to Chan Soo wanting to investigate his hyung and looks concerned. Yoo Rae wonders if Dal Po thinks Chan Soo is on the right path or wasting his time? Dal Po glosses over it but Yoo Rae asks directly what Dal Po’s relationship is to Ki Jae Myung since PD Hwang asked her to pass Jae Myung’s phone number to Dal Po? She offers a meal or selca if Dal Po tells her but he pushes her away and goes back to the reporter’s lounge to brood about more and more people getting curious about Jae Myung.
In Ha and Bum Jo are working at the network tip line which Bum Jo would rather be back at the police station rather than here. Cha Ok comes over and reminds the rookies that tips can be critical breaks. In Ha confronts her mom on the tip 13 years ago from the Pinocchio eyewitness that turned out to be incorrect. Cha Ok already apologized for that to Ki Jae Myung on air but In Ha finds that apology insincere and can understand why Jae Myung would angry.
Cha Ok steps forward and argues that she didn’t report that story for her own curiosity. The entire nation was curious about what happened so she was merely reporting for the world. Why does she need to apologize to Jae Myung for doing that job? She walks away leaving In Ha fuming at being unable to get anything from her mom.
Bum Jo’s mom meets her son at work and hears that In Ha and her mom are currently antagonistic towards each other. Bum Jo wants to try and get them to reconcile and the reason he’s so interested is because he read In Ha’s texts to her mom for the last 13 years. He feels that they wouldn’t be in this situation if In Ha’s mom got those texts from the very beginning so he’s trying to fix things for them.
Mom is relieved Bum Jo is doing this because he feels bad, and not because he likes In Ha. Bum Jo asks what his mom thinks if he does like In Ha? He started this because he wants to repay what he owes her but after that is done he wants to just like her. Bum Jo admits In Ha likes someone else and that person is a very formidable rival. Mom pooh poohs Dal Po as formidable since even his name is really dorky! Bum Jo knows Dal Po is formidable because he can make In Ha smile.
Bum Jo’s mom pays a visit to In Ha’s dad who recognizes her. They sit down to talk and Bum Jo’s mom brings up her concern for her son who works with In Ha. She directly reveals that her son likes In Ha and asks if In Ha’s dad knows? When he claims not to know, Bum Jo’s mom splashes water on him and accuses his daughter of seducing her innocent son. She throws money at him and orders that he fix things immediately!
Turns out that’s just In Ha’s dad’s fantasy and Bum Jo’s mom wants In Ha’s dad to help her son win In Ha’s heart rather than the usual chaebol mom reaction of not liking the poor girl for her son. Dad goes back home and cackles about his good luck that a chaebol heir likes his daughter. He calls In Ha and asks outright if she likes Dal Po? In Ha shoots Dal Po a look and answers that she likes Dal Po, and likes him as a man. Dad hangs up on In Ha and then texts Dal Po to meet tomorrow.
In Ha wants to go meet Dad in lieu of Dal Po but he pulls her chair close and assures her that he’ll go meet Dad and handle things for them. She doesn’t need to worry, okay? They stare at each other with sweet smiles.
Dad meets Dal Po at a dessert café and shovels shaved ice in his mouth while grumbling that his heart is on fire right now! Dad wants to know about Dal Po’s real family because that was always the only concern he had with Dal Po being with In Ha. If Dal Po tells him now then Dad will consider approving, but it’s just considering it and not that he’s agreed! Dal Po describes his family as ordinary, dad was a public servant and mom a housewife. Both died and he was going to be sent to uncaring relatives which is why he ran away. Dal Po lies that he doesn’t have any siblings and is an only child.
Dal Po understands that In Ha is Dad’s only child and of course Dad wants the best for her and ensure her future happiness. Dad feels so conflicted though, he shouldn’t compare but there is this great opportunity that Dad has to pass up for In Ha. He slurps down his shaved ice and Dal Po thanks Dad who yells that he’s still just considering it!
Dal Po looks up at the TV showing footage of hyung’s heroics and thinks that while the world still thinks hyung is a hero, Dal Po can still be happy. Dal Po joins In Ha at the police station and the couple happily embrace each other. Dal Po doesn’t know when this happiness might end and we see Jae Myung sitting at home staring at the flyer for Cha Ok’s speech.
The YGN team arrive at a restaurant for a network dinner only to run into rival MSC already dining there. The two networks sit down at their respective tables and proceed to try and goad each other. MSC is reveling in surpassing YGN ratings and Reporter Kim loudly asks Cha Ok for what her secret is to their success? Cha Ok loudly answers that her secret is her beauty and the team cheers!
Anchor Lee sighs that MSC clearly has a prettier face at the anchor desk when is when both Reporter Jang and PD Hwang stand up and loudly support their own. Having a pretty face at the anchor desk doesn’t convey trustworthiness and their anchor has the highest trust value in all of Korea. Anchor Lee sighs and tells them to all sit down!
The MSC chief loudly suggests Cha Ok share her secrets at the upcoming speech but the other reporters worry that their rivals might sneak in and learn her secrets. Cha Ok doesn’t mind and was planning to share all her tips. The YGN folks talk about how it was always Anchor Lee who gave this speech but he had to decline this year so a substitute was found, i.e. Cha Ok.
Anchor Lee doesn’t play along and reveals he wasn’t even asked this year. He asks the rest of the team to go listen to Cha Ok’s speech but PD Hwang refuses to listen to secrets to success that is about hype. Anchor Lee agrees and toasts his team before ordering more samgyupsal to stuff themselves.
Dal Po and In Ha pack up to head to the speech at the order of their sunbaes to learn from Cha Ok. In Ha wets her hands and Dal Po lowers his head so she can fix his hair. She wonders if he has any questions for her mom during the question-answer afterwards? He must have a lot to ask her? Dal Po claims he doesn’t have any but In Ha knows he’s lying because she has a lot of questions for her own mom. She doesn’t want him to hold back and just ask.
Dal Po admits he already asked those questions to In Ha during the YGN interview and he’s fine now. In Ha still thinks he must find her really upsetting because seeing her reminds him of her mom. Dal Po pinches her cheeks and all he does is find In Ha really amusing when he sees her. In Ha shakes his hands but doesn’t look all that reassured.
Jae Myung leaves his apartment and brings his dog to his coworker ahjusshi. He offers to give him the dog and tells ahjusshi that he’s going somewhere really far.
Bum Jo runs into Reporter Lee in the elevator who remembers him as the dude who pulled Cha Ok out of the elevator. He asks if Bum Jo thinks highly of Cha Ok and if so would want to protect her? He feels up Bum Jo’s muscles to make sure he’s fit and brings up his concern about Jae Myung doing something to hurt Cha Ok at today’s speech. He plans to follow Ki Jae Myung today to keep an eye on him….but he can’t drive so needs Bum Jo’s help. LOL.
Bum Jo takes Reporter Lee to his mansion garage and Reporter Lee marvels at the cars parked here. Even more crazy is that all the cars belong to Bum Jo while his mom’s cars are parked in another garage.
Bum Jo and Reporter Lee lay low to stake out Jae Myung’s apartment and find his fans swarmed outside waiting for him to come out. He’s immediately surrounded by girls giving him flowers as he gets into his truck and drives off. Bum Jo doesn’t think Jae Myung is dangerous but Reporter Lee brings up how they have just seen ten minutes of Jae Myung’s personality in that rescue, that’s not enough to fully judge a person. Jae Myung spots Bum Jo and Reporter Lee tailing him and calls ahjusshi for help.
Dal Po arrives at the speech hall and runs into Cha Ok who recognizes him as the taxi driver who yelled at her. Cha Ok walks up to Dal Po and brings up the conversation they had before. She couldn’t believe a taxi driver can become a reporter and asks if Dal Po has turned into a wolf now and is really to howl at her? Dal Po sees In Ha watching so he restrained himself and respectfully says he’s here to learn from Cha Ok today. In Ha looks very distressed as Dal Po walks away from her mom.
Yoo Rae joins her YGN colleagues and flashes her YGN logo coat that she wore on purpose to steal some of Cha Ok’s thunder. She dislikes Cha Ok for being the one who eliminated her doing the final round MSC interview. She notices In Ha and remembers that Cha Ok is her mom but In Ha doesn’t mind whatever Yoo Rae has in store for Cha Ok.
Bum Jo and Reporter Lee follow Jae Myung as he drives to ahjusshi’s house and greets his dog. Bum Jo suddenly worries whether Jae Myung might have it out for In Ha as well?
The YGN four recognize each other as they are all covered up with scarves and turtlenecks huddled in the back corner of the speech hall to secretly listen to Cha Ok’s speech. LOLOLOL they are so hilarious!
Cha Ok starts her speech today about “Fact and Impact”, the convergence of news and its consequences and how it made MSC the ratings leader. Cha Ok was once asked what type of man she liked? She answered that she liked a tall man, so what would happen if the reporter chose to report as “Song Cha Ok likes tall men” versus “Song Cha Ok dislikes short men”. Cha Ok explains the difference between the two and how reporting the latter doesn’t make it fact but has more impact to the audience.
Cha Ok discusses how the police recently released data about catching 93% of hit-and-run drivers and stops the slideshow on a particular unflattering picture of Anchor Lee reporting that headline with his eyes half closed. She then changes to her reporting that news as police can’t catch 7% of hit-and-run drivers which has more impact. By reporting this way MSC gets higher ratings for the same story.
Bum Jo and Reporter Lee continue to follow Jae Myung’s truck as it heads onto the highway but doesn’t realize that it’s the ahjusshi driving. Jae Myung is already sitting in the back audience of Cha Ok’s speech. She wraps up and opens the forum to question and answer.
Yoo Rae gets up and her question is on whether the rumors of all female anchors getting work on their face is true? Too much botox so their face can’t move like an ice queen? The YGN bosses are embarrassed their intern asked this question and sink lower into their seats. Cha Ok answers the question by smiling broadly for Yoo Rae before thanking her for asking a question that has neither fact nor impact.
She wonders why there are no more questions and then stares directly at Dal Po while pointing out how easy it is to judge and criticize reporters until one actually experiences it. After that it’s hard to keep criticizing and barking without any basis. Dal Po restrains his anger while In Ha turns around and look at him before standing up with a question.
In Ha asks what if Cha Ok was looking for impact and chose to ignore fact? Has that happened before? Cha Ok says no, that has never happened before. In Ha is about to sit down when she starts hiccupping so she stands back up and says Cha Ok’s answer did not satisfy her as the truth. In Ha knows that Cha Ok did exactly that in the past, 13 years ago Cha Ok reported that firefighter Ki Ho Sang was a coward who ran away and that destroyed his entire family.
Cha Ok painting him as a villain led to his family being ostracized and criticized. In the end, his wife chose to commit suicide after a family outing to watch the fireworks by the cliff. That was the consequence of reporting for impact and ignoring the lack of facts. The audience can’t believe that In Ha is pulling the rug out from under her own mom.
Cha Ok insists that she was not the only one responsible for what happened. The real fault was in the Pinocchio eyewitness who made a mistake in identification, Cha Ok merely believed what he said. In ha remembers what Dal Po said to her in the YGN interview and turns back to look at him sitting there. She then repeats exactly what Dal Po said – that the world believes the Pinocchio cannot tell a lie so that is why the Pinocchio and reporters need to be extra careful in what they say because their words have more power!
Cha Ok’s mistake was not realizing it and therefore ruining a family so she must also share in the responsibility for the outcome. That Cha Ok still believes the same thing as she did 13 years ago, that makes Cha Ok nothing more than a trash reporter. OUCH! The MSC head honchos all gasp while Yoo Rae loudly cheers In Ha for being so awesomely brave. Cha Ok has nothing to say back while Dal Po merely sighs.
Dal Po keeps In Ha company after the speech as she moans about getting canned even before she finishes her internship at MSC. If she gets canned will YGN hire her? Dal Po is sure that won’t happen and asks why In Ha did that back there. Dal Po was holding himself back, why couldn’t she? In Ha felt her hiccups wouldn’t stop if she didn’t say what was on her mind.
In Ha gets up to leave but Dal Po presses her against the wall and forces her to tell him if she’s going to be okay? In Ha admits it’s hard, she may be angry and upset with her mom but she’s still her mom which is why In Ha also worries about her. In Ha doesn’t want to say this because she knows it’ll worry Dal Po. She doesn’t want Dal Po to hold back because of her, if he wants to say whatever to her mom then he should just do it. Dal Po nods with a smile.
Reporter Lee asks if Cha Ok is okay as he finds her brooding in the makeup room. He quickly scurries away when she glares at him before throwing her speech papers on the ground.
The YGN Four are walking back to their network when Anchor Lee brings up how In Ha’s speech back there seems familiar. PD Hwang connects it to what Dal Po said to In Ha during the YGN interview. PD Hwang points out that the person who was the intended recipient of that speech finally heard it.
Bum Jo and Reporter Lee finally follow the truck into a rest stop which is when they realize the person driving isn’t Ki Jae Myung. They run up to ahjusshi to ask where Jae Myung is right now? Ahjusshi doesn’t know but Jae Myung claimed to have an emergency and asked him cover. Bum Jo immediately calls Dal Po and asks him to check on Cha Ok right now because Jae Myung is at the speech after shaking off their tail.
Jae Myung stands in the lobby staring at Cha Ok walking on the floor above. Dal Po runs through the lobby but spots Jae Myung in the elevator going up with his eye on In Ha in another elevator also going up. Dal Po freaks out and starts running up the stairs to stop whatever is going to happen.
Dal Po calls In Ha and she answers her phone just as Jae Myung grabs her from behind and pulls her away leaving Dal Po worriedly yelling into the phone. Jae Myung pushes In Ha against a wall and demands to know why she knows details about what happened that no one else knows – that the fireworks was a promise their father made to go watch together, that their mom didn’t buy any groceries that day. In Ha keeps Dal Po’s secret and refuses to tell Jae Myung why she knows. He barks at her to tell him where she heard it from!
Dal Po tackles Jae Myung from the side and drags him off In Ha. He makes sure In Ha is fine before Jae Myung gets up and grabs Dal Po who cries “hyung, don’t do this!” Jae Myung screams that he told Dal Po not to call him hyung!
Dal Po cries and says “it’s me, hyung, I’m Ha Myung. I’m your little brother Ki Ha Myung.” HOLY SHIT.
Thoughts of Mine:
Perhaps the screenwriter can tell how amazing Lee Jong Seok’s performance is and how he rises to each new emotional challenge, that might explain why she’s torturing the poor boy so! Talk about giving him everlasting nightmares seeing his own hyung threatening the woman he loves with his entire being. Ooomph, so much paaaaain! Sure he got there just in time, but he was forced to out himself to hyung now and throw the hard won status quo down the drain. Dal Po still puts In Ha first even above keeping silent about his identity to help hyung behind the scenes. I never thought Dal Po’s decision was right to begin with, because like PD Hwang says the truth will always come out. But I understood why he did it and also feel he deserves a respite before everything comes crashing down. The bits of happiness in this episode was worth the delay, and now it’s time for Dal Po to step up and protect his hyung and his love openly by facing the truth head on. Hyung is going to have another shitstorm once he realizes baby brother loves the daughter of the woman heavily responsible for the family tragedy. Sigh.
I love the OTP to a ridiculous degree because of how much they love and trust each other, but also how to continue to push each other to become better stronger people. In Ha can’t lie while Dal Po has used his entire identity lie to build a safety net around In Ha, both are going to be needed now even more to deal with what’s to come. In Ha tearing Cha Ok a new one at the speech was so cathartic but ultimately meaningless because the harm is done. I even feel that Dal Po has moved past it, by dint of experiencing the life of a reporter, and because he has to in order to build a future with In Ha. He accepts Cha Ok is mom even if they have a painful past connection, and seems to have let go of his “teach her a lesson that she was wrong” objective. I think seeing what hyung might have done gives Dal Po an even greater purpose, ensuring the future happiness rather than dwelling on the past pain. That’s the realization that Jae Myung didn’t have when he chose to revenge on the factory three, as indicated by how he’s always been just surviving and not really living. I don’t know what will happen to Jae Myung but accepting responsibility means there is still hope for a longer term salvation for all.
I’m so relieved In Ha’s dad dealt with the knowledge of In Ha and Dal Po loving each other with such acceptance, even as he grumbles over not accepting them and cries over losing out on the chaebol heir for In Ha. It really always was about keeping In Ha for a better suited man and not necessarily that Dal Po was forbidden from her. Once he knew that In Ha also loved Dal Po, it was beyond his control and he doesn’t try to play the stereotype disapproving parent. In Ha and Dal Po are basically each other’s everything and even the mere thought of anything or anyone getting between them makes me flash my koala claws and hiss at the interloper. There is no noble idiocy in this story so far, Dal Po doesn’t give up on In Ha like she also doesn’t use guilt to keep herself away from him. Love for them means fighting past the obstacles around them while holding tight to the fate that brought them together. I hope the second half of Pinocchio remains as thrilling as the first half has been, each and every moment so far worth savoring many more times to pass the time waiting for the new episodes to arrive.
Click here to watch Pinocchio.