Recap: Pinocchio Episode 4
Speak responsibly because the weight of your words can sink not just one life, but many.
Episode 4 “Romeo and Juliet”
We pick up where we left last episode with Dal Po asking In Ha to join him in becoming a journalist. This time we learn that In Ha’s dad, Dal Pyung, had been watching.
In the elevator down from the roof, In Ha worries about her grandpa. He can’t know Dal Po is smart enough to become a reporter! Dal Po assures her that there is no chance he will become a journalist so there is no need to worry. In Ha corrects him that his chances are 50-50, not zero, since he either becomes one or doesn’t.
Dal Pyung comes home and In Ha is afraid to tell him she is going to try to become a journalist again. But unexpectedly, Dal Pyung calls out Dal Po to talk outside and In Ha wonders why her dad would need to talk about her with Dal Po.
Outside, Dal Po also thinks Dal Pyung wants to talk about In Ha’s future but he doesn’t. Dal Pyung confesses he saw the two on the roof and that scene in addition to the picture, he suspects… Dal Pyung asks Dal Po, is he mistaken again? Dal Po can’t lie this time. But he assures Dal Pyung that In Ha does not reciprocate his feelings. She doesn’t even know how he feels about her. Dal Po confesses that he doesn’t know when his feelings for her started but he has had these feelings for a long time.
Dal Pyung explains to Dal Po that since In Ha is his one and only daughter, she is the the most precious and beautiful girl in his eyes. So no matter what type of guy is she brings home, he won’t like him.
Dal Po replies that he understands. He knows he has nothing- no money, no education, no family. That is why he has never desired In Ha and he never will. This family is more important to him than anything and he will not do anything to break this family. He will get rid of his feeling soon so there is no need to worry. Dal Pyung thanks him.
Dal Po and Dal Pyung come home to a yelling In Ha who demands to know why her dad is talking about her future with someone either than her. Dal Pyung is embarrassed once he looks at his daughter because he just described her as the most precious and beautiful person and here she is, yelling through a mouth full of toothpaste and dressed in a stretched out sweatsuit. Her nagging and his embarrassment gets her his permission to become a journalist, though, so something comes out of this hilarious situation.
Jae Myung gets the confirmation from his friend to work on the demolition job of the factory. The guy says there are rumors there are ghosts in that building. Jae Myung thinks to himself, “I want to see him, even as a ghost.”
In Ha shows Dal Po the notice for YGN broadcast journalist recruitment. Theirs is the last station of the year. The network is not looking at applicant’s education history or anything else. They just have to pass four tests so this works for Dal Po and her. In Ha also shows him the books she studied from and the notes she took. She thinks it will take Dal Po a month to get through them all, but Dal Po says it will take him a week. And he is right. Dal Po studies more by reading through other people’s newspapers being delivered at dawn. What Dal Po doesn’t know is that his dad (grandpa) knows Dal Po is studying and is happy about it. In fact, grandpa finds Dal Po asleep at his desk after studying. Grandpa gently pats Dal Po’s head and decides something.
Next day, grandpa goes to a bookstore and buys a fashion magazine for men. He calls Dal Po out and takes him to the beauty salon and suit store, describing to the people there exactly what should be done to Dal Po or given to him to wear by reading line by line from the magazine. It is beyond cute.
Dal Po cleans up nicely! He looks amazing with a short cut and a slim, black suit. Dal Po stares at his reflection on the bus stop glass wall and looks worried- he says to his dad that he doesn’t look like his son anymore. Grandpa assures him that Dal Po is his son- look how handsome both of them are! So there is no need to worry. He doesn’t have to hide anymore. Dal Po realizes grandpa knows he is not his real son.
On the bus, Dal Po kneels by grandpa to hear his story. He learns that grandpa realized that Dal Po was not his son come back alive after a year since Dal Po’s first arrival. But he couldn’t say anything because he was worried Dal Pyung might kick out Dal Po. He was worried about Dal Po and then he was worried about himself who will miss Dal Po so that is why he continued lying all these years. Dal Po cries as he hears this story.
Grandpa tells Dal Po to no longer hide and live life as splendidly as he could. Don’t hide his good looks or his good brain. Live his life to the fullest. Grandpa and Dal Po hug each other, still father and son even after the truth is revealed. Grandpa whispers, “I’m sorry, Dal Po. Thank you, Dal Po.”
Dal Po and grandpa come home and at first Dal Pyung can’t recognize him. In Ha is pleasantly astounded about Dal Po’s transformation. Dal Pyung is once again forced to look at his daughter, in comparison to Dal Po this time. She is wearing those sweats again and he is embarrassed by her after what he told Dal Po about In Ha being the most beautiful girl.
Dal Po and grandpa go to their respective rooms and In Ha remains to question why her dad has been on her case so much these days. Dal Pyung warns his daughter of the possibility that Dal Po might look down on In Ha and think she was easy to just nab up. He can’t have someone like Dal Po think like that when he raised her so preciously. In Ha scoffs. She assures him that it could never happen. Dal Po has never thought of her as a woman and she has never thought of him as a man. Ouch, Dal Po hears this from his room. He closes the door.
Dal Po doesn’t hear her say, then, that Dal Po should not be looked down by her father. He is smart, kind, and handsome- the top 0.1 percent of the pile, the best kingka. Of course, she is also the best queenka.
In Ha enters her bedroom all riled up and hot. She blames her condition on her dad’s nonsense.
Reporter Jang Hyun Gyu and camerawoman Im Jae Hwan are filming the YGN reporter recruitment process as a PR move for their network. They are planning to market this in preparation of competition from MSC news. Their news show is being moved from nine to ten o’clock to be in direct competition with YGN which has double the ratings currently.
The people over at MSC is watching this news report about the recruitment process. Cha Ok sees her daughter captured as one of the applicants for YGN. As they ponder over what they can do in response to YGN, Cha Ok looks at her daughter and thinks, “A marketing idea that will turn the tables…”
It is the day of the final round of tests for YGN. All the applicants, including In Ha, Dal Po, Beom Joo, and Yoo Rae wait inside a room. There Dal Po notices the button necklace around In Ha’s neck and offers to buy back the dream for her since didn’t turn out to be a good once. In Ha refuses, saying it was a good dream. She received her father’s permission to continue her pursuit to become a journalist and both of them passed the first round of exams and nobody has found out about her Pinocchio Syndrome. So it is a good dream.
As In Ha and Dal Po wonder what the “camera test” is going to be about, they are called in as a group for the test, including Beom Joo, Yoo Rae, and another male applicant. In a separate room, they meet their judges, which includes Hwang Gyo Dong, Lee Young Tak, and Jo Won Goo. Dal Po recognizes Gyo Dong as the producer from the quiz show and Gyo Dong recognizes Dal Po but can’t exactly place from where.
Yoo Rae and In Ha also share a moment of recognition, except in this case, Yoo Rae is the only one to remember In Ha from the MSC interview. In Ha doesn’t recognize Yoo Rae at all.
Yoo Rae stares at In Ha and Seo Beom Joo does the same. His stare is different, however, because he is staring at In Ha with a huge, satisfied smile on his face. In Ha and Dal Po hve no idea why this strange person keeps staring at her.
In a flashback, we learn that Beom Joo has applied to be a broadcast journalist so he can meet In Ha. He doesn’t know if In Ha passed the written test for YGN, however, so his mom offers to look it up for him. In the end, she doesn’t need to because Beom Joo sees In Ha on the bus he has pulled up next to in his convertible. In Ha had sent him selfies in the past when she thought his number was her mom’s. He keeps staring and driving right alongside the bus, freaking In Ha out a bit and making Dal Po a little protective and jealous.
Back to the camera test. The applicants are asked to view a video and report on it. It’s a video of a bird attacking a cat and the cat finally catching the bird in its mouth. They will all be shown the same video and the other reporter and camerawoman there debate on who will be at the most disadvantaged- the person who goes first or the following people.
Dal Po is the first to go and his reporting is brief, succinct and devoid of any extra storytelling. Yoo Rae is next and hers is more colorful, setting up a relationship between cat and bird as eternal enemies and adding even a little idiom at the end. The evaluators look a little more pleased with Yoo Rae than they did with Dal Po.
The third applicant is another male and he employs the same type of storytelling as Yoo Rae but adds that the bird is attacking the cat because her nest is nearby. The bird becomes a protective mother in his reporting.
Next up is In Ha and the two people in the peanut gallery debate on whether In Ha will use the same tactic as the applicant before her since it seems to be the right answer. In Ha struggles with the question herself and finally just ends up reporting in the same way as Dal Po- clean and straightforward with no frills attached. She makes a face after she finishes and Gyo Dong asks her why.
In Ha replies it is because she thinks she failed this test. She thinks she failed because the person is front of her was good. Gyo Dong inquires why she didn’t follow that guy then. In Ha replies, “I wanted to but I couldn’t. I can’t lie.” Jo Won Goo asks why she can’t and before she can answer, Dal Po and Beom Joo try to help her out by replying for her, both at the same time, “Because she is a journalist.”
Dal Po elaborates. He doesn’t think journalists should lie and what the male applicant said was a lie. So was Yoo Rae’s. With that video alone, you can’t know for sure whether the cat is gentle or the bird is foolish, or whether there is a nest nearby.
In Ha smiles at Dal Po’s explanation and speaks up too. She adds that while the applicant before her was very persuasive and insightful, a journalist shouldn’t report on something they didn’t verify. Lee Young Tak asks, “Even if it means the broadcast is ruined?” In Ha replies with a quiet yes.
They move on to Beom Joo but he declares that he won’t report. What In Ha said was right and he feels that the video has no value in being reported.
The three judges sit in a room going over the scores from the camera test. They talk about the applicants and bemoan the fact that this is a blind selection and they haven’t been able to look at the resumes of the applicants. But rumor has it that there is a taxi driver, a sasaeng fan, and a 2nd generation chaebol among the applicants.
At the moment, the former sasaeng fan is staring at them through the tinted glass wall, trying to find out what the evaluators are doing. It’s Yoo Rae and she is putting her saesang skills to use by persistent and insistent peering. Thankfully, they can’t see it is Yoo Rae. Young Tak teases Gyo Dong who did the same thing as Yoo Rae in the past.
Dal Po and In Ha sit crouched in the hallway waiting. In Ha worries that Dal Po might have failed because of her, but Dal Po reassures her that it is better to fail together or pass together. In Ha is of a different mind and Dal Po is hurt that In Ha will be okay even if he fails and she passes. He traps In Ha in between his arms and the wall and this makes In Ha a little hot as she stares into his eyes. Dal Po declares he will give up if In Ha fails. In Ha tells him not to do it.
Beom Joo sees the two like this from down the hallway. He doesn’t like it so to break them up, he yells really loudly that the results of the camera test are out. Everyone rushes to the results poster and In Ha, Dal Po, Beom Joo, and Yoo Rae have all passed, along with many others.
Dal Po calls home to tell grandpa the good news. Grandpa tells In Ha’s dad (Dal Pyung) and adds that In Ha and Dal Po might now be going to the same job together. This realization doesn’t make Dal Pyung happy and he starts to imagine a scene in the kitchen in which Dal Po and In Ha are both going off to work. In Ha fixes Dal Po’s necktie while holding a piece of toast in her mouth. Dal Po bends down to bite off the toast little by little. This erotic scene totally makes Dal Pyung mad and he throws a pillow at them. In reality it is at his father and Dal Pyung ends up receiving a pillow in his face in return.
It’s time for the next test- the survival debate. The applicants have to debate on an old news coverage, and ouch, it’s Dal Po’s family’s story. Dal Po watches in pain and shock while others look at the footage curiously and take notes. In Ha also sees her mom reporting on the issue in the past. Cha Ok’s appearance is not pleasant for either In Ha and Dal Po.
After the video ends, Young Tak admits that the coverage back then was not good. He wants them to discuss here how they would have reported the story. Yoo Rae asks before the debate starts what happened to Ki Ho Sang, the fire captain.
It is then that Dal Po learns his father is dead. Gyo Dong replies to Yoo Rae that Ki’s bones was found near the factory a few days ago.
Dal Po sits there in shock, his breath coming out in bursts as he tries to keep together.
Jae Myung was at the scene when his father’s bones were found, working there as part of the demolition team. Jae Myung can’t act like he knows who it is, so holding back his tears, he walks away from the other men. A distance away and by himself, Jae Myung falls on his knees, crying out “Father.” He remembers his heroic and kind father and how happy he and his brother were with him.
Back to the present time. Yoo Rae begins the debate. She believes the journalists acted poorly in this situation and made Ki Ho Sang out into something he wasn’t. Beom Joo blames the police and lawyers who came up with the conclusions; the journalists only reported them. Yoo Rae questions whether journalists are only scribes, taking down what they are told without doing any sort of investigation on their own.
Dal Po sits listening to this debate, his necktie starting to choke him. He remembers back to all those reporters in his face and at the moment he remembers Cha Ok, In Ha speaks up. She believes the main cause of this tragic story was the testimony of the Pinocchio and the problem was that everyone believed him. But they couldn’t help but believe him, In Ha argues, because a testimony from a person who can’t lie is the most solid evidence. She feels sorry that Ki Ho Sang was found dead but this situation was an unfortunate event and no one’s fault.
This hits Dal Po hard. He begins to speak, quiet and listless at first, but he gets louder and more angry as he argues: “People believe that Pinocchio and journalists only tell truth. So the Pinocchio and journalist should have known that people will believe them without doubt and therefore know that their words are scarier than other people’s. They should have been more careful. MORE CAREFUL!” Dal Po slams on the table and he practically growls: “It is their fault that they didn’t know!!! It is their thoughtlessness that ruined one family. They must be held responsible.”
In Ha is shaking at Dal Po’s attack. Her voice shakes as she argues: “The Pinocchio only stated what he saw. He couldn’t remain silent just because he might be wrong.”
Dal Po’s face grows cold as he leans back in his chair and stares at In Ha directly and states: “Looking at you, I now know why a Pinocchio can’t become a journalist.” Dal Po continues, ” I see how dangerous it will be for a person who just talks even though they might be wrong, to become a reporter. I see how scary a person could be, when not knowing the weight of their words, opens their mouth.”
In Ha asks Dal Po gravely, “Are you talking to me?” Dal Po replies yes. And like that he outs In Ha as a Pinocchio. Everyone now knows In Ha is a Pinocchio and In Ha, hurt and embarrassed, hurriedly tries to leave the room. She can’t open the door, but Beom Joo helps her out, saying he is done and walking out of the room with her.
Dal Po sits in his chair, regretting what he did. Gyo Dong looks at him and finally remembers Dal Po as that kid from the quiz show who said television broadcast could kill someone with just one word.
In Ha gets on the elevator and Beom Joo also gets on. In Ha is fanning herself, hot. Beom Joo assumes it is because she is mad at that guy since he betrayed her, but In Ha replies no. It is a debate so just because his opinion is different from hers, it doesn’t mean he betrayed her. It’s also not because she failed the test. In Ha realizes she is so flustered and hot because she wanted Dal Po to be on her side. Just because. Because he is Dal Po. In Ha hits herself on her head for being so mean and selfish.
Beom Joo figures that In Ha likes Dal Po, but she vehemently denies. Except, she hiccups. She keeps saying no to Beom Joo and calling herself crazy but she keeps hiccuping. Her hiccups don’t lie.
Dal Po throws up in the bathroom. The broadcast station really has made him barf like he said years ago to Gyo Dong on the day of the quiz show. Dal Po walks out to a little green area in the building. Weak, he drops to his knees and starts to cry. The tears come out in a flood and he can’t breathe. Dal Po clutches his chest as he calls out “Father.” He mourns for his father and his sad fate. Dal Po sheds the tears he kept inside all these years.
Elsewhere in the building, In Ha turns to Beom Joo and exclaims she can’t be like this. Dal Po is her uncle and he has a girlfriend. “It can’t be like this. If it is…!”
End of Episode 4
Funny, smart, and lots of heart. I find myself thoroughly enjoying this drama. There are unexpected revelations and layering of perspectives and arguments in this drama that keeps it interesting from moment to moment. It doesn’t play out predictable in what reads on the surface as a predictable story. The story seems carefully thought out and in the current landscape where most dramas play out like they’ve been thrown together last moment and desperately need to cling onto cliches and makjang, “Pinocchio” is nice breath of fresh air.
My favorite character is In Ha who radiates love and kindness without being a door mat and a leaky faucet. She is not poor, she is not a “genius,” as so many of our K-drama character tends to be nowadays, nor does she play the part of a sacrificial lamb. She is not tortured or traumatized by her parents divorce. She is a normal, young girl who happens to have the Pinocchio Syndrome. She is not a victim to her disability with “unmentionable scars in her heart” as so many K-drama leads are written as. She is just normal girl, pliable without being plucky, vulnerable without being fragile. I am glad Park Shin Hye met this character so she can break away from the “Candy/Cinderella” image she has created for herself these past few years by taking on that type of role constantly.
I love the moments between grandpa and Dal Po because they smile at each other so brightly. Grandpa is so proud of his Dal Po, no matter who he is. Grandpa loves his Dal Po, no matter where he is from. That is what love and family is and I’m glad Dal Po found this grandpa after his family tragedy.
While the truth has come out that Ha Myung and Jae Myung’s dad did not run away, people still believe that he led his team into their fiery graves. The task for Jae Myung and Ha Myung will now be clearing their father’s name.
As I watched Dal Po struggling for breath while he cried his eyes out in his final scene of the episode, I understood why those tears came so hard and so abundantly. Dal Po never got to properly mourn his father’s dead until now. He never got to feel anything for his dad- unable to rejoice that his dad might be alive because of the other dead firemen, unable to cry because he wanted his father to be alive. I wanted Dal Po to cry and cry and cry in that scene, finally getting his moment of catharsis and really mourning for his father and the destruction of his family.
With that moment, the episode marked a turning point in Dal Po’s life as he finds out his adoptive father knows he really isn’t his son but still loves him and as he finds out his real father is dead. A chapter of Dal Po’s life closes, in a way, so he can move on and forward in reclaiming his real life and potential. Dal Po still can’t reveal he is Ha Myung to the world but he can now try to reclaim his identity and his family’s dignity.
I wrote at length about the differences and similarities of Ha Myung’s and Jae Myung’s lives yesterday, but I realized something else today. Jae Myung has been trying to find his dad and learn the truth from him about what really happened that night of the factory fire. Ha Myung was too young, but even now that he is older, he has never really shown a desire to find out what really happened. He was too busy trying to survive alone as a child and that led to him simply trying his best to be the best to the family he has now. Ha Myung never had a grand design to discover the truth about his dad; he only decided to become a journalist in reaction to Cha Ok’s condescension and mocking. Currently, becoming a reporter is a not a do or die situation for him because his family and In Ha is more important to him. I’m curious to see what value it will really be to Dal Po for him to become a journalist, how he will take responsibility for the weight of his words and his truth.