Recap: Pinocchio Episode 2
In a world full of lies, the truth starts to come out, one by one.
Episode 2 “The ugly duckling”
Once in a while, the world feels small. Someone you thought was a complete stranger is actually linked to you. Whether ill-fated or not, we often call this destiny. In mathematical terms, it’s called the six degrees of separation.
This six degrees of separation has brought Choi Dal Po here to this quiz show stage. He narrates, “Five years ago, after undergoing that awful experience, I swore to never come near a broadcast station or to interact with any broadcast people. But the reason I broke that oath is a secret I want to keep more than that oath.”
Two weeks before the quiz show day, sometime in September 2005, In Ha and Dal Po are going to school. In Ha tries to use some aegyo to get her grandfather to buy her a bicycle, but grandpa asks what’s the use when her uncle (Dal Po) gives her a ride everyday. Dal Po covers In Ha’s mouth before she can tattle that everyday Dal Po makes her get off his bicycle cart and run to the port to catch the boat to school. We learn that it’s not really because Dal Po wants to abandon In Ha like that- it’s the strange, foreboding, and uneasy looks In Ha’s dad gives him, like he doesn’t want In Ha and Dal Po to get close.
Huffing and puffing because she just ran all the way to the port, In Ha demands to know if she is Dal Po’s sworn enemy or something. Dal Po remembers who In Ha’s mom is- that reporter who ruined his family- and he answers playfully, “Of course, my sworn enemy.”
In their classroom, Ahn Chan Soo sees the exhausted In Ha and he knows Dal Po has made her run a marathon again to get to school. He offers her an unused, old bike of his at home, and In Ha accepts enthusiastically and gratefully, grabbing his hand. Ahn Chan Soo feels a little flutter in his stomach.
The bike is delivered to school and given to In Ha. In glee, she uses her first ride to speed past Dal Po while cycling through a puddle so that he can get splashed by muddy water. Dal Po is faster and unfortunately for In Ha, he uses her career planning form as a shield.
On that dirty form, In Ha has to write down what she wants to be in the future. On the paper it says she is suited to be a lawyer, prosecutor, or judge. In Ha chooses lawyer at first but Dal Po reminds her that someone like her with the Pinocchio syndrome can’t defend a killer.
In Ha’s imagination runs wild and she imagines herself as a lawyer, confidently declaring to the court that her client (Jung Woong In reprising his “I Hear Your Voice” role for a cameo) told her he was the killer and didn’t feel guilty about it. Her client then makes for her throat, screaming he will kill her and the person who let her become a lawyer.
In Ha quickly erases lawyer from the paper. Ahn Chan Soo suggests she becomes a actress since she is too good looking to be wasted as a lawyer. Dal Po chimes in, even though no one asked him, that she can’t. In Ha wouldn’t even be able to act like a corpse.
In Ha doesn’t understand why she can’t at least do that until she imagines what can happen. She will start hiccuping while she is playing a corpse because she knows she is not really one. The director screams his head off in frustration.
In Ha erases actress from the form too. Chan Soo tries to comfort her but she can’t be. She doesn’t know what she wants to or can be in the future.
The homeroom teacher comes in to announce that the entire school will be taking an exam to pick the the person with the most trivia knowledge so that this student can go on a quiz show. There is even money prize for winning each time on the show.
Ahn Chan Soon calls In Ha out to show her the bell he put on her bike and to tell her that he will confess that he likes her when he is on the quiz show and he would like her to give him an answer then.
It’s night and In Ha stands upside down, something she does when she is worried and need all the blood rushing to her brain to help her think. She narrates, speaking to her mom, that she feels like something is stuck in her throat and this isn’t something that someone should feel when they get confessed to.
Jae Myung delivers water to a store and on its bulletin board, he sees a wanted sign for his father. Staring at the image of his father, Jae Myung asks the store owner what day it is. It is September 15.
Elsewhere, some hikers have become lost and they wander into the area where the factory is from five years ago. It still stands. It’s abandoned and people are afraid of the building, saying there are ghosts.
The next day, the students take the test and the teachers grade it. In Ha gets 92, as expected of a top ranking student like her, and Ahn Chan Soo gets a 96, also expected. What is unexpected, however, is Dal Po’s grade- a perfect 100. No one can believe it, especially since Dal Po’s nickname is “All Zero.”
This disbelief is innocent at first, until Ahn Chan Soo starts to suggest that Dal Po cheated. He never says it himself, though; he just starts the sentence and everyone else finishes it for himself. This rumor starts to grow as it moves from person to person- from Dal Po cheating, to Dal Po stealing the test, to Dal Po being in danger of being expelled for stealing the test. No only does the rumors grow, but they become a certainty, and speculation becomes truth.
Dal Po is unfazed and can let these rumors pass (rumors say now he’s a psychopath and a pocket thief), but there is one whisper he can’t ignore- that his real father is a criminal. Dal Po explodes, throwing the kid on the ground.
The homeroom teacher also thinks Dal Po stole the test. In Ha watches as Dal Po gets slapped on his head with paper by the teacher and their eyes meet. In Ha turns away and she starts to hiccup.
Overlaid with this scene is a question Ahn Chan Soo is given on his first day on the quiz show- it’s a quote from Shakespeare (Henry IV, Part 2)– what is this thing that is compared to a pipe?
“____ is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it.”
The answer is “rumor” and Ahn Chan Soo answers correctly. He wins this day and makes his confession to In Ha on t.v. But while the other kids tease and congratulate, In Ha could care less, hiccuping and looking at Dal Po’s empty seat.
At home, In Ha is upside down again, and she narrates her text to her mom that she has been hiccuping for four days now. She tries everything to stop it and they haven’t worked. She knows what she has to do to make the hiccups stop but she is scared. However, In Ha is sure, she will die if these hiccups continue.
The next at school in the teacher’s office, Dal Po’s homeroom teacher tells him to write an apology letter for stealing the paper. Dal Po refuses, saying he can’t write an apology letter for something he didn’t do. It is just a groundless rumor. The teacher asks coldly, “Can you prove that it was a groundless rumor?” Dal Po asks why should he, reminded of the same thing his brother said to the reporters five years ago. The teacher replies it is because Dal Po is the subject of the rumor.
Dal Po sees another teacher. He turns back to his teacher and tells him that he will leave this room and spread the rumor that he caught his teacher and the other one having an affair. “You prove it is not true.” The teacher starts to ask why should he when Dal Po throws back his own words at him, “You are the subject of the rumor.” He continues, “If you can’t, you will have to write an apology, no, a letter of resignation.” Dal Po storms out.
After venting a little of his frustration outside and alone, Dal Po returns to his classroom just in time to witness In Ha defend him.
The other kids are throwing Chan Soo a little party with cake in the classroom for winning. In Ha storms in, blows out Chan Soo’s candles before he can, and tell him she can’t accept his confession. She also declares that everyone should apologize to Dal Po since they spread groundless rumors without any evidence. Chan Soo argues that it’s enough evidence when someone who always got all zeroes suddenly scores a perfect mark on a exam. In Ha corrects him- that’s mere speculation, not evidence. Chan Soo demands then that In Ha at least give her own speculation for Dal Po’s innocence. In Ha agrees and she will do better than that- she will bring evidence! Then Chan Soo has to apologize to Dal Po as well as give him half the quiz show reward money to Dal Po.
Chan Soo agrees but if In Ha can’t, she will receive ten slaps from him. Disgusting little rat. Before Dal Po can stop her, In Ha agrees. But her sudden hiccups serve as testimony to her lack of confidence that she will be able to provide the evidence for Dal Po’s innocence.
It’s the end of the school day, and Chan Soo is still fuming. He knocks down In Ha’s bicycle, which causes a screw to fall out. Dal Po witnesses this and tries to warn In Ha, but she is too busy telling him not to misunderstand why she did defended him- it was just to stop the hiccups!
Dal Po assumes that In Ha will be able to see that her brake line has lost its screw, but he hears her cycle away. Now he is forced to chase after her on his own bicycle.
The chase is on when In Ha realizes her brakes don’t work while going downhill. Dal Po pedals faster, gets in front of her, jumps off his bike, and quickly grabs In Ha off her bike before it crashes. The momentum has caused the two to hit the ground hard, and while In Ha’s ankle is injured, Dal Po is bleeding from the head and unconscious.
In Ha is crying desperately in the ambulance and even though the paramedic assures her that Dal Po’s injury is only superficial, she is worried because Dal Po won’t wake up. But he does, and he watches in disbelief at the tantrum In Ha is throwing in the ambulance. She is weeping and crying that Dal Po can’t hurt his head and become an “idiot.” He’s already an outsider and to add being an idiot would be too pathetic. Dal Po finally has to tell her to be quiet, which lets her know he is awake. In Ha immediately asks if Dal Po knows who she is and how many fingers she is holding up. In annoyance, he sarcastically replies he doesn’t know, which In Ha takes seriously and starts to panic. Dal Po apologizes to the paramedic in embarrassment and asks to get off the ambulance.
In Ha and Dal Po are walking to the port, but In Ha is limping. Without a word, Dal Po offers to piggyback her and In Ha gets on, and as the sky is painted in soft pink and purple, these two make their way to the boat.
On the boat, Dal Po takes off his head wrap and In Ha puts on a small bandage on his forehead. This moment of closeness feels a little awkward for the two.
In Ha is assured by Dal Po that he got a perfect score on that test faithfully. She asks him why, then, has he been hiding his intelligence all this time. It’s because of grandpa, Dal Po answers- the real Dal Po was not smart, and he didn’t want grandpa to faint again. In Ha asks then why Dal Po revealed his secret now- did he really want to go on the quiz show that badly? Dal Pol tells her to stop asking questions. He also assures that she won’t be slapped by Chan Soo so she shouldn’t worry.
Another day. Dal Po ceremoniously breaks apart one of his numerous piggy banks and tells In Ha’s dad that he is sleeping over at his friend’s house today and also asks him to not let grandpa watch t.v. tomorrow. How can he, though, where there is no t.v. in the house?
In Ha is suspicious of Dal Po’s real whereabouts, especially because he has no friend. Pfft. She goes into his room and notices a book that doesn’t fit in withe rest, which are all comics. It’s a library book and not something Dal Po would read. So In Ha goes to investigate the library. She finds out that Dal Po has been slowly reading through all the books in the library over the years.
In Ha makes a copy of the library rental cards that has Dal Po’s name on it and starts to make a poster which states that Dal Po has been keeping his intelligence a secret for all these years.
Meanwhile, Dal Po is taking a test to qualify for the quiz show. He passes and is selected.
It’s back to the present time of October 2005 and Chan Soo and Dal Po are battling it out on the quiz show. As Dal Po answers one question right after the next, everyone watching- the students, homeroom teacher, and In Ha’s father- find out about Dal Po’s intelligence. The school realizes, especially, that Dal Po didn’t steal the test.
It’s the final question and Chan Soo is down by thirty points. The final question is worth 50 points, however, so if Chan Soo answers correctly, he can win.
The question asks to list the the Four Freedoms, articulated by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 State of the Union address, during which he he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy.
Chan Soo in his greed presses the buzzard too quickly and he is only able to list one- the freedom of speech. The chance is give to Dal Po and Dal Po correctly lists all the rest- freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. But instead of giving the final one, which Chan Soo already stated, Dal Po says he doesn’t know.
In Ha realizes that Dal Po is doing this on purpose. So does the head producer of the show, Hwang Gyo Dong, who was once one of the reporters reporting on Dal Po’s father’s disappearance. Gyo Dong thinks Dal Po is doing this to put Chan Soo in a tough spot.
And indeed Chan Soo is struggling. Does he just answer it correctly, using Dal Po’s correct answer, or does he give the question back to Dal Po and protect his pride? Chan Soo chooses the former, because, really, what can he do? Just let this quiz show go on all day long in a back and forth?
In Ha’s friend is the only one cheering Chan Soo’s win. All the other students are just amazed by Dal Po and they don’t dare call him “All Zero” anymore. They should call him “All a Hundred” from now on.
In Ha is staring at the t.v., smitten, and her friend thinks it is because of Dal Po. But it isn’t. In Ha has fallen in love with television- she is amazed that through one appearance on t.v., all the rumors were cleared up so cleanly. No matter what she said, no one believe her, but a t.v. appearance solved it all.
With a slap on the table, In Ha knows what she wants to be. She writes it down in pen- permanent, a decision and future made.
In Ha’s dad calls home to make sure that grandpa has not watched t.v. today. He hasn’t, but unbeknownst to anyone, he is in In Ha’s room and he is reading what she wrote about Dal Po lying that he is an idiot.
The quiz show is over and Gyo Dong is seeing Chan Soo and Dal Po out of the broadcast station building. He asks if Dal Po thinks broadcast is a joke and reproaches him for playing a joke on Chan Soo that way.
Dal Po, all hints of a smile gone from his face, corrects Gyo Dong. No, he does not see broadcast as a joke. How can he, when broadcast can kill someone with one word? The reason he didn’t answer the last question correctly is because if he did, he would have to come back to this sewer. This is a place swarming with people who spread senseless assumptions and speculations. A place filled with people who adorn themselves with their mics and cameras like some god-given right. He’d rather die than come back to this place and breathe the same air as those people who make him want to throw up.
Dal Po’s words make Gyo Dong think back to the time when he also realized that broadcast can kill people. Jae Myung is screaming that his mother and brother died because of that what broadcast reporters kept on saying. Gyo Dong looks on, stricken.
Dal Po gone, Chan Soo apologizes to Gyo Dong for Dal Po, but Gyo Dong states that what Dal Po said is correct. Everything he said was correct.
Dal Po and Chan Soo end up on the same bus home and Chan Soo keeps staring at Dal Po. He wants to know why, if Dal Po has been acting stupid this all time, Dal Po decide to come clean now. And if it was just to go on the quiz show, why did he want to when he hates the broadcast station so much. Dal Po doesn’t answer him.
In Ha comes home from school and see the poster about Dal Po lying out on her table in her room. She thinks her grandpa might have seen it and rushes out worried. Grandpa is fine, thankfully, but he lies about being in her room today. Curious.
It looks like rain, and In Ha is worried about Dal Po, although she doesn’t want to admit it. But she can’t hide from her hiccups.
Dal Po and Chan Soo arrive at the bus station. Chan Soo’s mom has come to pick him up and he leaves, leaving Dal Po alone with no umbrella. It looks like he has to wait out the rain when he sees In Ha, curled up upright on a bench at the edge of the bus station. Her eyes are closed and it looks like she is taking a nap. He watches her.
This is when we learn that truth. That Dal Po likes In Ha. He was jealous when In Ha held Chan Soo’s hand. He overheard Chan Soo confessing to In Ha that he was going to go on the quiz show for her and that is why Dal Po decided to go on the quiz show. He likes In Ha- that is why he came clean about his intelligence.
In Ha opens her eyes and sees Dal Po. She is happy to see him and rushes out from under the canopy, but her umbrella is broken. While she is trying to fix it, Dal Po disappears and she wonders where he is. He returns, suddenly, with two construction cones to put on top of their heads.
In Ha tells Dal Po to not misunderstand- she only came because grandpa told her too. In Ha hiccups. She argues she is hiccupping because it is cold.
In Ha asks what Dal Po was going to say to her before on the show- “Choi In Ha, if I become champion today….” Dal Po hesitates before answering. “If I become champion, don’t get off my bicycle anymore.” In Ha, suspicious, asks, “I don’t suppose you…”
Jae Myung stands outside their old neighbor’s house- it’s the guy with the Pinocchio syndrome who said he saw Jae Myung’s dad. Today is the day the statue of limitations runs out for Ki Ho Sang’s case. Jae Myung narrates that while he wanted to kill those people who made his dad into a runaway, but he also want them to be right. Even if people will point fingers at his dad for being a runaway, at least he would be alive. “I miss you, dad.”
Back at the factory grounds, the rain washes dirt from a pile, uncovering a human skull.
In Ha had written on her career form that she wants to be a t.v. news reporter- “Because I can’t lie.”
Looking at In Ha, Dal Po thinks to himself: “When I think back, I should have left then. From the beginning, it was a feeling that wasn’t allowed, and she was someone I shouldn’t have met. Before that feeling grew bigger, when I could turn it back, I should have left.”
In Ha asks, “I don’t suppose you…” Dal Po smiles lightly. “I hope you’re not thinking something strange. I didn’t become champion and you don’t have to ride my bicycle, like always.” In Ha lies she wasn’t misunderstanding anything. Hiccup.
Dal Po thinks, “I thought this fluttering would disappear after some time, and when it did, I would be able to leave easily. But that was a foolish assumption, and it was an excuse made so I can stay by her side.”
End of episode 2
In this episode, we saw how rumors can spread and how a mere speculation can become truth and the (almost) ruin of one person’s life and reputation. In this cruel and unforgiving world of rumors, you are guilty until proven innocent. Those who spread the rumors bear no responsibility for the trouble those rumors can cause the subject. The hushed whispers, the passing remarks are too numerous and too transient to be weighed down as responsibility. No, it is the responsibility of the subjects of the rumors to prove their innocence to a world that is their judge, jury, and prosecutor.
Shakespeare describes it best:
“Rumor is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it.”
When I started watching episode 2, Pinocchio felt like a different drama from yesterday. With Dal Po’s angst-filled back story out of the way, the drama felt lighter- a tonal change which was not unwelcomed but still had me thinking the drama felt a bit disjointed.
There was more humor in this episode, with Park Shin Hye pulling out all the stops for the scene in the ambulance. I laughed pretty hard, pleased with her surprising comedic chops. It worked so well because she wasn’t trying to be funny; she was playing the emotions so sincere and straight, she couldn’t help but be funny in the context of the situation.
I really like her In Ha character so far. She feels well-balanced, three dimensional. Like any young girl who has all these different sides to her. In Ha doesn’t read so far as a weepy, damsel in distress character or a just a spunky, loud, self-righteous heroine. There is a cheerfulness and goodness to her character that doesn’t come off as blindingly innocent and sweet. Despite her Pinocchio syndrome, In Ha feels normal and I like how young Park Shin Hye plays In Ha. Even though the actress is in her twenties, In Ha definitely feels like a high-school student to me. Now I’m waiting to see how Park Shin Hye will mature In Ha’s character as she grows older in the drama.