Recap: Pinocchio Episode 20 (Final)
Presenting our true journalists, Ki Ha Myung and Choi In Ha.
Episode 20 “Peter Pan”
Beom Jo just wanted to tell the truth, since he was once a reporter after all. Dal Po asks why he is going this far and Beom Jo reminds him that he said he was on Dal Po’s side- “Do you believe me now?” Dal Po answers with tears in his eyes, “I always believed you.”
Back now at the Han River police station, Dal Po and In Ha want to see Beom Jo but Beom Jo refuses to see them or anyone else. Dal Po and In Ha argue with the detective that Beom Jo is innocent. The detecttive also knows that something is off but all the evidence fits against Beom Jo- he was seen meeting Jo Dae Guk.
Dal Po and In Ha overhear the NTS reporter getting information that Ro Sa is coming to the police station later. In fact, all the reporters are getting this now information. People suspect that Ro Sa is going to confess it was her, not her son.
In Ha relays this to Cha Ok and she agrees that Ro Sa is going to turn herself in since Ro Sa loves her son more than anything. In Ha wonders if Beom Jo did this knowing that and Cha Ok adds that Beom Jo might have also done this to make his mother stand in front the reporters and give them a chance to question her properly. In Ha asks if Cha Ok will come and she says of course she will since she gave it all up to see Ro Sa be questioned by reporters.
Ro Sa is one her way to the police station and her lawyer advises her to turn back now, but Ro Sa won’t stand for her son to stay in the holding cell a minute longer. So the lawyer warns her to stay calm at least and not show any emotions.
In front of the police station, Cha Ok teaches In Ha and Dal Po about what Ro Sa is likely to say. She will say she is sorry for causing the public to worry and that she will fully cooperate with the investigation. Yup, that is exactly what the lawyer is teaching Ro Sa. He warns her that she can’t give the reporters any room to attack.
Cha Ok teaches the two that it is their job to make Ro Sa say something else besides that. They need to keep asking her questions. They need to make her confess. She also says that she knows Dal Po has a lot of personal questions to ask Ro Sa and also to her. She will be here along with Ro Sa so he can question her too. She will listen to him and answer him properly.
Flashback to when Dal Po and Jae Myung were taking a photo together before the latter went to prison. Ha Myung promises to Jae Myung that he will take down Cha Ok and stand her up in front of all the world to be questioned by him. He asks if Jae Myung has something he wants to ask her.
In the present, in the car, Ro Sa keeps repeating what she is to say. She finally arrives and bows deeply in front of the camera. Ro Sa calmly repeats exactly what she was taught to say. The reporters close in, Dal Po and In Ha included. Ro Sa just keeps repeating the same thing and tries to go in to the police station.
Standing in front of Ro Sa with his mic in hand, Dal Po thinks about his father and mother and how they died. We return to the flashback. Jae Myung answers that he doesn’t want Ha Myung to ask the questions they want to ask but the questions that the public wants to ask- Ha Myung is a reporter and he should ask the questions the publics wants to, like a proper reporter, a reporter different from Cha Ok.
Back in the present, we hear how Dal Po wants to ask, “Why did you do that to my father?” Instead, he asks Ro Sa, “Do you think your son is innocent?” Ro Sa breaks her silence and quickly answers, “Yes, my son is innocent!” Dal Po wants to ask, “Why did you to that to my family?” but instead he asks, “What did you think as you saw reporters report on your innocent son?” Ro Sa has realizes her mistake from before and once again starts to repeat she is sorry for causing trouble, but her emotions get the better of her. She replies, “I think they were wrong to do so.”
Dal Po wants to ask, “Then why did you not repent even after doing those horrible things?” He asks instead, “Then do you think the wrong should be corrected?” Ro Sa replies, “Yes, of course.” Her lawyer tells her to just say she is sorry for causing the public to worry, but Ro Sa loses it, screaming she doesn’t know what worry she caused. Flashes of the cameras start to go off even more rapidly as they know that Ro Sa has broken now.
Dal Po says to Ro Sa, breaking the dam, “It seems you feel like you’ve been wronged. Please correct it then.” So Ro Sa starts to correct the reporters, saying her son is innocent and that he can even live properly without laws. Dal Po asks, “Then why did he turn himself in, if he did nothing wrong?” Ro Sa repeats that her son is innocent.
In Ha asks Ro Sa what her son meant when he said he will bear the responsibility with his mother. Dal Po adds, “Why would he say that if he is innocent?” The other reporters start to badger Ro Sa, asking if her son and Ro Sa conspired together. Ro Sa screams her son is innocent and because he is such a good kid, he is trying to go to prison in his mother’s stead. To the reporters she screams, “What do you know about my son for you to blabbering on like that about him?!” The reporters continue to question her, now armed with her confession basically, and Ro Sa stands in shock and anger at what she just did and what the reporters did to her. She glares at Dal Po as she is pushed into the police station by her employees.
Dal Po and In Ha reflect that this story is definitely making the top news and that this is what Beom Jo wanted to do with his false confession. In Ha asks Dal Po why he didn’t ask his questions and Dal Po asks rhetorically, “Yeah, why did I do that?” He looks over at Cha Ok and nods. Cha Ok gives a small smile and says to herself, “He sure has the ability to make someone feel ashamed.” With their moment of understanding, Cha Ok leaves.
In Ha says to Dal Po that she is sure Beom Jo regrets giving her the text messages. If it wasn’t for those messages, his mom would have remained a good person to him. In Ha feels like she is a bad person to Beom Jo. Dal Po reassures her that Beom Jo would have eventually found out about his mom, since the truth can’t be hidden.
Dal Po calls Chan Soo to ask him to withdraw the lawsuit against Cha Ok. Chan Soo asks why, did he receive an apology? Dal Po replies yes, he did.
In the newsroom, Yoo Rae is talking about her news item with that male colleague of hers. Gyo Dong walks past them saying he is looking forward to it. Now Yoo Rae is sure he likes her and she starts acting like she did with Dal Po before, flinging her hair with confidence.
At the news item meeting, Dal Po suggests a news item that Gyo Dong likes. Yoo Rae suggests a fashion analysis of what Ro Sa wore to the police station, confident that it is a good news story and that Gyo Dong will like it. But Gyo Dong hates it and warns her to not cloud up the real story here. There are a lot of other important things to investigate and report.
After the meeting is over, that guy rookie (I will never learn his name now) apologetically says to Yoo Rae that he was wrong about Gyo Dong liking her. Yoo Rae screams she knows and she asks Hyun Gyu for his headband- she will become a hardass ddangji like him.
On the YGN news, Dal Po reports that Ro Sa confessed to trying to threaten the reporters but not kill them. Even MSC is doing something. They are gathering signatures from their own employees to petition for the removal of shareholder’s involvement with the news. There is also news that Ro Sa is giving up her stocks to MSC and that the construction for Beom Jo Group’s new mall is on hold.
Beom Jo is let go and he and Dal Po finally meet. Dal Po is relieved and happy to see him. Beom Jo is out without any charges. Beom Jo says he was disappointed that Dal Po didn’t let his anger out when he gave him the chance and stage to do so. Dal Po assures him that he did. Dal Po thanks Beom Jo and offers to return the favor.
At that moment In Ha comes running down the hallway so Beom Jo asks for 30 minutes with In Ha. Dal Po first jealously refuses but Beom Jo explains he wants to say his final goodbye.
Beom Jo brings In Ha to the convenience store she used to work part-time before. He tells her he has 30 seconds he regrets here. He wasn’t able to give her her birthday present that day when her mom came to the convenience store to offer her a position at MSC. Beom Jo give her present now, saying to her now what he wanted to say then- “Happy birthday, Choi In Ha. I wanted to see you, Choi In Ha. I am glad we met, Choi In Ha.”
In Ha asks if he still thinks that it is fortunate that they met and he replies of course. In Ha thanks him. Before he leaves and without Dal Po knowing, he gives her a tight hug.
Cha Ok receives the notice that Chan Soo is dropping his lawsuit. Gong Joo thinks things are going back to normal for Cha Ok, especially with Yeon Doo Young about to be fired, but Cha Ok gives him her resignation letter to deliver to the department head. She says she is tired but she would like Gong Joo to keep at it. She gives him an encouraging pat on the shoulder.
Beom Jo visits his mom in prison. Ro Sa is sad that that her son slept on the bare floor while he in the holding cell. He assures her that he was okay. Ro Sa also asures him that she will be out soon, with either a fine, community service sentence, or a suspended sentence. Beom Jo is saddened by his unchanged mother. Ro Sa says Beom Jo should wait for her and study business management. Beom Jo says he wants to do something else.
Cha Ok is about to leave the MSC building when Yeon Doo Young comes running to her. He wants to know how much she told the police. He has been delivered a summons. Cha Ok tells him that she revealed everything, but ah, except one- the one where he opened a borrowed-name bank account to receive money from Ro Sa. She asks Doo Young for the name of the prosecutor in charge of his case so she can go tell him now. And I laugh and laugh in glee. Love Cha Ok here.
Going down the elevator with a peaceful look on her face, she remembers Dal Po’s questions after he helped her with the bus company case. He had said to her, “I only did what I needed to do as a reporter. Something you should have done 13 years ago.” In the present, Cha Ok agrees. Dal Had asked her, “Why don’t people believe you even when you say the right thing?” In the present, Cha Ok answers, “Because I am a liar.” Dal Po had asked her, “Why don’t you believe in yourself?” Cha Ok answers, “Because I lied too much.” Dal Po had asked, “Are you really a journalist?” Cha Ok answers now, “No.”
At home, Dal Po asks, trying to act nonchalantly, where In Ha and Beom Jo went. He measured 42 minutes, not 30. In Ha can’t believe he was counting. Dal Po mumbles that he is a stickler for time.
In Ha receives the pictures from Chan Soo’s housewarming party. Dal Po and In Ha look through them but when they come upon the photo of themselves with the baby, looking like a happy family, they become shy and awkward. Dal Pyung sees them like this and he calls them into In Ha’s room to talk. Dal Po and In Ha try to explain that the photo is nothing, but that is not what Dal Pyung wants to talk about.
Dal Pyung reveals what he suggested to Grandpa about Dal Po and In Ha being together and how he reacted. Dal Pyung says Grandpa thinks family is family no matter what happens, with relationships that can’t be broken. But a romantic relationship between a man and woman is not like that. Grandpa is scared of that and that Dal Po won’t be able to be family anymore if something goes wrong between Dal Po and In Ha.
In Ha wants to tell Grandpa about them but Dal Pyung is worried about his health. He tells her to just lie and just keep living as uncle and aunt- “It’s okay to tell that kind of lie.” Dal Po remembers back to when he said something similar when he was trying to convince Dal Pyung and young In Ha that he should keep lying to grandpa about being his son. So before In Ha can protest, Dal Po stops her, saying they will think it over.
Later at night in his room, Dal Po thinks about what he said about family to Dal Pyung, that this family is first for him and that he will be able to get over In Ha. Outside his door, In Ha can’t bring herself to go in. So when Dal Po comes out, wanting to say something to her, In Ha runs away.
Gong Joo is back at the metro police station. Gyo Dong is glad to see him but he pretends not to be. Gong Joo points out that it is weird that Yoo Rae was able to come into this room when there is passcode lock on the door. Gyo Dong puts on a poker face.
Evening now. Yoo Rae is angry and drunk. She is back at the metro police station, asking the security to call out Gyo Dong for her. He is called out. We see this is not the first time she has done this and we see it was aways Gyo Dong who carried her in. He puts newspapers on her as a blanket, but when she sneezes, he takes off his coat and puts it on her. Yoo Rae talks in her sleep, angrily asking for Gyo Dong, and Gyo Dong breaks into a tiny smile.
The next morning, In the Han River police station reporter room, In Ha sees AND smells Yoo Rae, who can’t understand why she keeps ending up the metro police station when she is drunk.
Dal Po comes and wants to talk to In Ha but In Ha runs away again. He finds her in the hallway hiding. He tries to talk but she says she knows what he is going to say- how can he say that so easily, giving up on them so easily? Dal Po says he is not giving up and he is not lying anymore. He has learned after 14 years that happiness built on a lie will end. Dal Po says that from watching Beom Jo go through what he went through, he wondered if Beom Jo would have been happier not knowing about his mom. But he has learned that even if you try to hide or close your eyes, something that exists doesn’t disappear.
In Ha agrees- it was the same for her with her mom. Even if it hurts, you have to face the truth.
Dal Po says he will ask Grandpa and work hard to get his blessing. In Ha asks what if he doesn’t give it. Dal Po replies he will accept it then. To him, Grandpa is his dad who saved him, raised him, and let him meet In Ha and so, “Even if the world says yes, if Dad says no, I can’t.” In Ha cries as she says, “Yes, I know, but…” Dal Po hugs her and says, “Let’s give it a try.”
Dal Po and In Ha both go into Grandpa’s room. They start to talk but we aren’t shown what happens.
It’s now January 2015. It’s time to pick new rookies again at YGN. Hyun Gyu is reporting on this again and he and Jae Hwan are the same, bickering. Except, we find out, they are also now married to each other.
Dal Po and In Ha are getting ready for work, each at their respective homes, talking on the phone about both their networks interviewing applicants. Dal Po says he heard that Beom Jo is trying again for MSC. In Ha is worried about Beom Jo having to go on the mawari rounds again.
Dal Po picks up In Ha in his car and we learn that Dal Po is now reporting on legal news and In Ha specializes on economic news.
Dal Po is calling the applicants in when he sees someone who looks like his brother applying- Shin Jae Ha.
The applicants are asked what they will choose over the other- news that people want to see or news that people need to see. Shin Jae Ha replies by giving an example about someone given the news about getting concert tickets. The YGN people and Dal Po recognize this as what Dal Po said before so they ask Shin Jae Ha where he got this from. He reveals he learned it from a lecturer who told her students about hearing this one day and that it left a deep impression on her.
We see this lecturer is Cha Ok, teaching about news, properly now. None of the fact plus impact stuff.
At MSC, In Ha is also calling in the applicants. One the applicants recognizes In Ha as the country’s first Pinocchio journalist. She compliments In Ha on her looks and In Ha accepts it readily, saying she thinks it is sad her looks are going to waste while being a reporter. She overhears the applicant talking about how she heard In Ha got a journalism award as a PR move, not because she really deserved it.
In Ha is not going to let this pass. She demands to know if they have evidence that she got the award as a PR move- did they check that info? The applicant says she just heard everyone say it. Gong Joo, who overhears this, tells the applicant to go home. She didn’t even check the facts before deciding something was true.
Beom Jo is also there to be interviewed and so In Ha and Beom Jo meet. In Ha complains that Beom Jo only met with Dal Po in the past year but Beom Jo tells her that he asked Dal Po to bring her out every time; he just didn’t and came alone.
In Ha wants to give him a high-five in support and Beom Jo, even though he fears it, allows her to give him a high five. It is just a painful as it used to be.
While at Dal Po’s house to bring him food, Grandpa finds Dal Po’s wallet on the floor. He has left it at home again. Grandpa opens it to see the picture of Dal Po and In Ha with Chan Soo’s baby. Grandpa exclaims he didn’t think it could be possible, but looking at the picture, he sees it now. Dal Pyung agrees, saying In Ha and Dal Po look good together. He tells his dad that he is both proud and sad that In Ha and Dal Po gave up on being with each other to listen to Grandpa.
We see that Yoo Rae is the new ddanji to the rookies. Hyun Gyu is proud of his protege.
While in front of the court building preparing to report on something, Dal Po spots grandpa watching him. Grandpa has come to the court to void Dal Po’s adoption. Dal Po is shocked. Grandpa explains he wants to give back Dal Po his real name. He apologizes, saying he just cared about Dal Po too much. He says, “You can live as your own name now.” He asks Ha Myung to take care of In Ha. Ha Myung promises. Grandpa hugs and thanks him for living as his son- “Thank you, Ha Myung.” Dal Po replies, crying, “Thank you for raising me, Dad.”
Grandpa watches proudly as Dal Po reports. Ro Sa is servicing a prison sentence, not a suspended sentence with probation. In Ha reports that the Beom Jo Group is moving on without Ro Sa at its head or stockholder.
We see In Ha and Ha Myung trying on a wedding dress and tuxedo, respectively, with Grandpa and Dal Pyung also there, proud and happy for them.
Behind the curtain, In Ha asks Dal Po why he wanted to go on the quiz show way back then. He kisses her in response and tells her, “Because I liked you.” They kiss again, happiness complete.
I had no doubt that the final episode would give us a satisfactory ending, and it did, tying about all the loose ends nicely. The people who deserve happiness have it and the people who don’t, don’t. Cha Ok finally admits she wasn’t a real journalist and shouldn’t be one. She finds redemption in teach future journalist the right lessons. Ro Sa also gets what she deserves, having never really understood what she did wrong and still feeling entitled. This saddens Beom Jo deeply, but we see he is stronger and more independent than expected, going ahead with what he wants to do and what he thinks is right.
Jae Hwan and Hyun Gyu end up together, which is adorable, and we’re never really shown if Gyo Dong and Yoo Rae end up with each other. I’m glad, otherwise the ending would be too clean and too happily ever after. This leaves a little mystery for the viewers.
In my comments for Episode 1, I wrote:
“Where is a better place to fight the age-old battle of truth and lies than in a newsroom? Pinocchio isn’t just a character story, where one person, who can’t lie, and another, whose whole existence has become a lie, struggle to find the truth. It also brings the debate to the newsroom, where truth and facts, lies and fiction find their outlet and audience.”
This drama was educational, not just about human drama as most K-drama teach us, but about the news media in general. I used to lecture students about bias in news, teaching them about critical analysis. It was a fun and thought-provoking subject and I enjoyed it immensely while I did it so it was pleasurable to watch something related. While in Pinocchio some of the lessons about news, the power of words, and the nature of truth were often over simplified in its dramatic portrayal, the writer’s message was always clear.
Not only did the writer teach about the nature of truth (e.g. it can’t be hidden), but also about the struggle and integrity present in the professional career based on telling the truth. News journalism isn’t just about telling the truth, and the writer explored the debates and decisions that go behind how a truth is told. It was a triumphant moment for Dal Po when he questions Ro Sa in front of the police station, not because he achieved a personal victory, but because he truly established himself as a real professional journalist. That is his true triumph. He asks the questions the public wants to ask, not what he wanted to spit out in anger and resentment. He cleverly gets Ro Sa to admit that she finds it wrong that the media is reporting on something that is not true, like her son being a criminal.
It was a pleasure to watch a drama well planned and produced from beginning to end with a clear message and directorial tone. While the drama lost some of its steam when Jae Myung was out of the picture, in contrast to so many of the haphazardly produced and written drama these days, Pinocchio was a blessing. It was a pleasure to recap it, following the clean structure of the writing. I hoped it was a pleasure for you guys too.
In somewhat of a drama review, I listed my favorite things from the drama. Let me know what yours was.
Favorite Scene: Dal Po and In Ha kiss for the first time under the arch of lights, confirming their love for each other. The music, ambience, framing, and acting all come together for a perfectly romantic moment.
Runner-up: Dal Po confronted with his own words of accusation at In Ha, now feeling the finger pointed at him. The inter-cutting of the past and present Dal Po creates a dynamic and powerful scene, loaded with meaning as another turning point for our protagonist.
Favorite Soundtrack: “Pinocchio” by Roy Kim. It’s beautifully sung by Roy Kim and his voice works well as the musical incarnation of Lee Jong Suk. Every breath that Roy Kim takes in this song is perfectly measured to relay the meaning of the lyrics and the fluttering of the heart, the shortness of breath, the desire to be near, and the unspoken confession of love.
Favorite direction: The lighting direction in this drama. It was so beautiful- soft, light, warm, and reflective of the mood and emotions of a scene.
Favorite Character: In Ha was always honest, always optimistic, and always showed empathy. Perhaps she couldn’t be anything else but honest because of her syndrome, but In Ha never made you think that it was a handicap for her or that it was something separate from her, like a tumor that needs to be removed. In Ha was who she was because of the syndrome and I can’t help but think she would have been like that even without the syndrome. She never let it become a handicap, always looking on the positive side of things. And with all her honesty to herself and to the world, In Ha wore her heart on her sleeve, which meant that her heart was quick to recognize the heart sof others, whether they felt happiness or pain. In Ha wasn’t afraid to be hurt and it is that openness, confidence, and courage that makes her one of my most favorite characters. Plus, she initiates a kiss, twice, in a K-drama. You go girl.
I just loved all the female characters in this drama, even Park Ro Sa. They were all just so badass with no room for bullshit, confident, mature, and independent. Love them all.