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Recap: Pinocchio Episode 16


The truth will rise like the voice of the child among the crowd, declaring the nakedness of the Emperor.

*I decided to take a different approach with this episode’s recap, staying closer to the true sense of “recap,” rather than the overly detailed and longer “retelling” I was doing for Pinocchio or basically the transcribing I was doing for other dramas. I saw the clear organization in the writing while watching the episode and decided to approach the scenes thematically and by character. It worked out quite chronologically too so it will be easy to follow, I hope.

Episode 16 “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

In Ha and Dal Po confirm their love, again, but it is put on hold, again.

We continue from where we left off last week, with Dal Po realizing he didn’t dream In Ha’s promise to wait for him. He kisses her, telling her that she doesn’t have to be sorry and that she is simply In Ha to him, not Song Cha Ok’s daughter. He has tried to stop loving her, remembering her mother and his family, but he can’t. She kisses him back, assuring him of her reciprocal feelings- that she loves him still, no matter what stands in their way.

Dal Po can’t catch a taxi for In Ha to take home, with In Ha needing a comfortable ride due to her bleeding ankles. So he asks her to come over to his house, which is close by, so he can at least treat her ankles. But In Ha, with her mind in the gutter, is hesitant. She makes Dal Po promise that she will only be in his house five minutes, and Dal Po promises, taking her to his house by the way of piggy-back.


All treated and in under five minutes, Dal Po and In Ha are about to leave his house when the doorbell rings. It is grandpa and Dal Pyung coming to check in on Dal Po and bring some groceries. Dal Po thinks this a good opportunity to tell Dal Pyung and grandpa about them, but In Ha doesn’t think it is the right time or the right way, not after being caught in the house late at night together like this. So In Ha hides in the closest while Dal Po lets the fathers in.


In Ha starts hiccuping in the closet, which Dal Po manages to drown out by turning on music. Unfortunately, Dal Pyung discovers a long, black hair on the floor, and we think he might suspect In Ha, but when he goes home and tells grandpa about it his discovery, it seems like Dal Pyung thinks it is another girl.

While In Ha was hiding in the closet, she actually fell asleep because she has been so overworked these past few days. Dal Po tucks her in his bed and looks at her lovingly, a big, dumb, happy grin on his face.


In Ha wakes up the next morning in Dal Po’s bed, and, embarrassed, tries to sneak out, but right at that moment, out steps Dal Po from the bathroom. He reminds her that it’s already way past the promised five minutes so she might as well wash up and have breakfast here. His argument makes sense so In Ha heads into the bathroom and as soon as she is out of sight, Dal Po lets out a sigh of relief. He was pretending all this time to be nonchalant, but really, he was just as nervous as In Ha.

Dal Po has prepared breakfast for them, but it is really simple, with very few dishes. In Ha checks to see if they have time before work, and once assured, she makes soup and extra dishes for breakfast, sharing a familial, warm, and happy morning with Dal Po.

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On his way to the breakfast table, Dal Po bumps into his desk, which makes the photo of him and his brother fall over. In Ha sets it upright, getting a good look at the photo. Dal Po tells her that he took that photo with his brother before he went to prison. For some reason, In Ha starts hiccuping.

She continues to hiccup, even till they are out of his house and going to work. Turns out In Ha is hiccuping because she can’t pretend she is okay being with Dal Po. She confesses to him that she can’t just erase her mom and only think about Dal Po. She asks him to wait for her until she is able to get her mom to apologize to him and his brother. Her hiccuping finally stops and Dal Po agrees to wait, if that is what she wants.


Gyo Dong is a great senior, team leader, and mentor.

Gyo Dong learned a hard lesson 13 years ago when the Ki family was destroyed, and again at seven, when he met an angry, young Dal Po at the quiz show. He is a good journalist now, reporting facts and pursuing the truth. He is a great mentor and leader to his rookie reporters, Dal Po included.


He swears to Cha Ok that his team will continue to dig in to the factory fire story and report the whole truth. He tries to keep his boss, Lee Young Tak, from sending three of his team members to cover the Sochi Winter Olympics, so he can have enough manpower for the factory fire story. He argues that it is the job of journalists to report on the real cause and culprits of the fire and that they need as much support as they can get because it takes a hundred correct reports to fix one wrong one. If they stop now for the Sochi reports, the story will forever be buried.

Gyo Dong is also proud of his rookies when they make fun of Cha Ok, (e.g. Yoo Rae’s not so subtle cough insults) or when they are unafraid to speak up, even to their superiors, (e.g. Dal Po’s lesson about the correcting reporting of news).

Lee Young Tak is taught a lesson by his juniors, and is not afraid to admit so.

That’s also a sign of a great leader. Lee Young Tak chooses news that people want to see over news that should be seen as the news that should be covered by journalists. This disappoints his department members, but when Dal Po shows him that news that should be seen is better for the public, he doesn’t get mad that he was just handed one by a junior. Instead, he reflects on the lesson learned and makes the decision to go against the flow of all the other news channels and continue to focus on the factory fire instead of the Sochi Olympics.


This is why the YGN news team is so awesome in general.

Lee Young Tak’s decision to have YGN focus on the factory fire is most disappointing for Hyun Gyu who studied Russian for the Sochi Olympics and was looking forward to covering it to prove his eligibility to become a foreign correspondent. But he quickly realizes that covering the factory fire is more important and he works hard to report the story, as well as camerawoman Jae Hwan and the other members of the YGN news team.


And it’s so much fun watching MSC’s Il Joo squirm when Jae Hwan and Hyun Gyu stick it to him.


Dal Po continues to grow as a journalist, finding his voice and the strength to make it heard.

The ecstasy of finding the blackbox footage is quickly squashed by the realization that finding the truth is not enough when there is no way to report it or anyone to hear it. Dal Po finds himself as powerless as he was thirteen years ago, watching the news and the world move on to newer and exciting stories after destroying his family, no longer caring who the real culprit of the fire was.

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But Dal Po is no longer that child from thirteen years ago. He is a reporter and he has the attention of other reporters. When both the MSC and YGN team at the dinner outing are all ready to agree that reporting news that the public wants to see is better than reporting news thats should be seen, Dal Po sets out to demonstrate the opposite. He tells Hyun Gyu that he has good news and bad news for him. Hyun Gyu asks to hear the good news first and Dal Po tells him that he was asked to deliver concert tickets to Hyun Gyu. Hyun Gyu is ecstatic to hear this since he can watch all the girl groups he loves. Now he is ready to hear the bad news and Dal Po tells him that his health examination results say he has pancreatic cancer.


Everyone yells at Dal Po for keeping this bad news till now and not telling Hyun Gyu earlier. Dal Po replies, “Why? It wasn’t news you wanted to hear. The concert news was what you wanted to hear. So it should come first, no?”

Yes, Cha Ok argued before that if a journalist pushes news that they think the public should hear then what the journalist is is a teacher, not a journalist. But Dal Po is arguing is that often news people don’t want to hear but should be told is news that points to something ill in society. This ill or wrong should be made public and made public quickly so that it can be treated and rectified.

And so it is. After YGN’s coverage of the real cause of the factory fire is reported, the fire is lit under the butts of detectives who realize that the news’ and public’s eye will be on them to make sure they are properly investigating. YGN also declares that Chan Soo is innocent and his family is saved from destruction. The water management service makes sure to clean up the oil leaking from the factory, and the congressman who received money under the table for the illegal waste dumping is summoned for questioning by the prosecution.

Having helped to make the truth known and widely spread, Dal Po is able to say himself he is glad he was able to become a reporter, he who hated reporters and wished there were none thirteen years ago.


Yet, this is not the end for Dal Po for he still has many questions to ask. It is just the beginning.

It is just the beginning for Beom Jo, too, and he also has many questions to ask…to his mother.

It is a tough week for Beom Jo, who not only just basically pushed Dal Po to In Ha, but also learns that his beloved mother is even more evil than he thought she was.

Beom Jo knows that his mother is not the sweet and innocent woman he thought she was after the Santa Claus incident. But now he is finding out his mother is more deeply involved in media manipulation than just one single incident that was beneficial for her business. Park Ro Sa has been manipulating the news media for years to benefit her business and the politicians who supported her.

That nagging feeling and blurry suspicions that Beom Jo has been experiencing and forming starts to stab and take solid shape when he recognizes the politician’s name from YGN’s report on the factory fire cause. The politician is someone who his family is close to and there are just too many similarities between the fire 13 years ago and this recent fire. Both have Song Cha Ok heading the media play and flow into a strange direction. Both have his mother linked through someone- the one 13 years when Song Cha Ok visited his mom the day after Ki Ha Myung’s mom committed suicide and the recent one when the politician named as a culprit is close friends with his mom.


When Beom Jo goes to question his mom, Ro Sa is defensive, refusing to answer him. He wants to know if he is right to suspect she is involved but she tells him that he can’t be a journalist with her, only a son. With a smile, she tells him that she will answer only if he quits being a journalist.


Both In Ha and Beom Jo choose to be journalist, not just daughters and sons.

In Ha is in the same tough spot as Beom Jo- she has to choose between being a journalist and being the good child of a mother. But to In Ha right now, Dal Po is more important to her, and being a good journalist is what will help Dal Po. She also needs her mom to be a good journalist. She begs her mother to help the truth about the factory fire stay afloat atop the Sochi coverage. With the blackbox video, they can prove that Chan Soo is innocent. It will show that Cha Ok lied.


Cha Ok claims she didn’t lie but made a mistake. In Ha hopes it is was only a mistake, because if it wasn’t, apologizing to Dal Po won’t be enough.

Cha Ok wants to know why apologizing matters so much to In Ha when it doesn’t even concern her and In Ha finally tells her it is because she loves Dal Po/Ha Myung. She wants Dal Po to hear her mother’s apology.

But it looks like apologizing won’t be enough. Beom Jo overhears Gong Joo and Il Joo talking about Cha Ok looking for something desperately these days and he overhears Cha Ok ask In Ha if she took one of her old cellphones. Beom Jo starts to suspect that the cellphone is important and contains something that Cha Ok doesn’t want anyone to see. He tries to get In Ha to give it him without telling her his suspicions but she won’t, not without his truth, so he tells her.


In Ha checks out the phone at home. She finds that there are only messages from her 13 years ago left in the phone, which is odd considering her mom must have used it before losing it at Beom Jo’s house. In Ha takes the phone to a data recovery center to try to get the deleted messages back. She wants to keep this a secret from Beom Jo since it might also incriminate his mom, but she is forced to tell him when the recovery center tells her she need permission from the person the number is registered to. Since Beom Jo is the one who kept the number alive after Cha Ok lost her phone and got a new number, In Ha is forced to tell Beom Jo about her recovery attempt.


Both In Ha and Beom Jo are emailed the results of the data recovery. And what they find confirm their worst fears. Their mothers were involved intimately in the media play 13 years ago. Beom Jo and In Ha read the text messages sent from Beom Jo’s mom instructing Cha Ok to push the blame on Ki Ho Sang and to rally all the public’s anger toward his family. Beom Jo’s mom is the one who instructed Cha Ok to focus on impact more than fact and to protect the real culprit behind the fire.

This revelation leaves both Beom Jo and In Ha shaking and in tears.



I find that I enjoy these types of episodes more, when there is a lesson learned. While simply portrayed, the point is relayed, and I love the fact that we are given both the good and bad of mass news media. The issue for this drama writer is not the medium of televised news, but the people behind the news making. Yet the writer understands the power of mass media, as witnessed by Gyo Dong’s words- it will take one hundred right reports to correct one wrong one.

That is why Dal Po was so angry at the debate earlier in this drama. The power of journalists’ words, amplified by the medium of mass media, can shape and solidify mere speculations into truths. And to play with this power, like the way Beom Jo’s and In Ha’s moms have, is to commit a crime that apologies can’t forgive.

Yet despite their attempt to bury the truth, it will rise. Despite the snobbery and vanity exhibited by Ro Sa and Cha Ok to think they can hide the truth, it will rise. It will rise like the voice of the child in the tale of the The Emperor’s New Clothes, the child that spoke the truth about the nakedness of the Emperor. The child challenges the authority and status quo. The child speaks the truth, no matter how humiliating it is to the recipient. Dal Po is unafraid to speak his truth and unafraid to challenge authority and the status quo when he demonstrates how news that people don’t want to hear is till the news that they should hear. YGN is also like the child, unafraid to go against the flow of all the other news covering Sochi and report the truth about the factory fire.

How appropriate is it that we see the younger version of Dal Po in a episode titled The Emperor’s New Clothes?




8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Imelda Hutagaol #

    I love this drama coz it speaks the truth above the lies that news and reporters could make from an incident. I love PSH as CIH she acts really great!

    January 7, 2015
  2. I love how you share your thoughts about Ep 16, very enlightening, thank you. Pinocchio is one of my favorite Korean drama and I hope they win awards this year because they deserve it! 👍👍👍

    January 7, 2015
  3. athena #

    yes love the way you recap this way too Joonni….I think after almost a year since The Inheritors/The Heirs ..this is my 1st drama I am watching..I find the storyline is good…
    And loving Park Shin Hye despite its not her story….more of DalPo’s and bad/good jounalism..

    January 7, 2015
  4. Violet #

    Thanx jooni for the recap.. Think i love your usual way of recapping better.. More explicit i can almost imagine every scene.. Anyway thanx for your hard work. HaPPy NeW YeAr…. 😘

    January 8, 2015

    August 8, 2015

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