Episode 3 Review: Pinocchio (2014)
Ah, life can be so cruel sometimes. There was a birthday party last night and there was booze floating like rivers and we were like fish flowing through the currents. And you wake up the next morning, you wake up early and until you raise your head from the pillow it feels as if a sword had your head and the pillow entwined together like Siamese. And then you try to awaken your braincells during the courses at the university. But when you’re back home you’re too exhausted to watch the third episode of Pinocchio *hiccup*, you prefer to take a nap even though you never sleep in the afternoons *hiccup* and you know more than anyone that you would never press that goddamn “play” button in this urgent situation *hiccup*! Alright, even on my deathbed i’d definitely watch Pinocchio’s third episode and i would try to convince the man inside the boat at the banks of the dreary river to let me hang around with the living for one more day for the fourth episode. And for the following weeks, it would be such a shame not to cherish Pinocchio until the end, well, in that case literally. It feels like i’ve entered a loop, but no more hiccups! Time to serve my purpose and do some justice to this overwhelming episode that electrifies the ambiance of the drama even more and opens up the roads of our characters’ side stories.
The third episode is fundamental for the process of the series as it draws closer to the main core of the script. Sometimes the world of dreams represents our deepest desires and the thirst for the subject of our craving gets quenched. That’s why they’re called dreams, that’s why people dream and that’s why, sometimes, dreams turn to life before our very eyes. And if they don’t, you’d utterly wish you’d never have to open up your eyes again and treasure deep inside your parallel subconscious reality. That’s how the third episode spreads its wings, a dream that feels alive and breathing. All the people he dearly loves are present, his father, his mother, his brother and In Ha. The fact that Ja Myung’s face remains hidden it’s because Dal Po doesn’t know how his brother looks like at the present, so he can’t relate his figure to a face. These are the dreams that hurt the most, the dreams that include your safe heaven and you try to find proof that it’s not a dream; but it is and it breaks you inside when reality takes over. That’s what happened to Dal Po, everything felt so real and the traces of reality he was searching for felt so vivid and natural he would keep on dreaming. To be honest, i’d like to get punched by Park Shin Hye even if it would make such a precious dream collapse!
This is what happens when you mess with In Ha, even if it was in your sleep and it was unintended. Although, if you have the right allies by your side nothing can scare you and you can overcome any obstacle when it comes to ferocious opponents like In Ha and Dal Peng. Of course i’m referring to grandpa Gong Pil! He could be a movie on his own, Choi Gong Pil: Revenge of the Spoon. Needless to say that Byun Hee Bong on the role of the grandpa is performing an exceptional work. His grimaces are always spot-on, utterly humorous and a bit frightening as they enrich the overall family ambiance. As soon as the first spoon punishment happens a vicious circle between In Ha, Dal Peng, Dal Po and Gong Pil begins. In Ha discusses Dal Po’s face and tries to defend herself on job matters, after all, it’s the 35th time she’s going on an interview in order to get a hold of a working position. Dal Peng gets in a rap mode and talks as fast as a torrent about pretty much anything. Dal Po often achieves a funny acquiescent face as soon as he has by his side general Gong Pil! Those pincer-imitating grabs Dal Po achieves on In Ha from time to time that give a duck-looking essence on her lips are hilarious! Shin Hye’s expressions are highly expressive for one more time. She’s depicting In Ha’s character and any emotion that crosses her way in an unerring way dare i say.
One of the moments i’ve been waiting for was Kim Kwang Kyu’s appearance as Kim Gong Joo. Tango teacher Ramses, if you know what i mean! Kwang Kyu’s temperament works perfect as a diver on odd characters’ inner worlds, i’ve come across him on various dramas and he hasn’t failed me so far with his interpretation! And there he is once again welcoming at the airport the vicious reporter Cha Ok! You have to admit that’s she’s got quite a ruthless and relentless finesse.
Grandpa Gong Pil wants to find a girl for his beloved Dal Po, but he’s already having his own conquests in the world of women, or so he says. Of course, when the discussion moves once again towards Dal Po’s style, general Gong Pil gathers his troops once again to secure Dal Po’s perimeter!
They must be really laughing their hearts out while filming such scenes!
In Ha confesses to Dal Po that she’ll get interviewed at MSC Station for a reporter position. This is Cha Ok’s working place, Dal Po would never approve and he bombards her with questions she had never thought about because of the blind love she feels for her mother. It’s not that Dal Po would never want her to cherish her mother-daughter moments, it’s just that she can’t read between the lines and eventually she’ll get hurt. That’s why he’s trying to open up her eyes by providing her facts she refuses to see. I don’t think his personal experience with reporter Cha Ok oversteps his sincerity boundaries on thoughts and advices he gives to In Ha, in the past yes, but not at the present. He sees things in a more mature way, it’s just that he’s seen through Cha Ok’s real self and as a third person he can be more objective on In Ha’s situation based on observations and facts. Her reaction is as expected, she’s hiding in her glass tower refusing to see the bitter truth, people tend to do so many times in order to prevent themselves from hurt, but the more you keep this mechanism working the bigger the burden you’ll have to bear once the truth comes to the surface. I understand her though, she tries to keep the flame of hope burning deep inside just in case things would turn out the way she desires. When she asked Dal Po if he has ever met her mother and that he should have evidence before talking this way about Cha Ok it must have felt like a thousand needles on his heart.
In Ha’s leaving and Dal Po’s left watching her footsteps grow distant. He hadn’t noticed he had forgot his wallet at home and Dal Peng shouts at him from the balcony. Dal Po’s busy watching In Ha as the thoughts multiply in his head. Dal Peng notices something lurking in Dal Po’s wallet, it’s a picture of In Ha and his thoughts reach Dal Po’s in terms of quantity.
Finally, we get to greet Dal Po’s workplace, he’s a cab driver. He’s also lucky enough to have his girlfriend always by his side helping him reach his destination without getting lost. A supportive girlfriend he should be proud of! Hae Sung is his GPS, always at his service! They talk to each other in their own romantic way, full of understanding. The GPS voice is Lee Bo Young’s voice cameo as a tribute to I Hear Your Voice!
Yet, he’s not the type of guy that would leave In Ha alone in times like these after a quarrel. He offers himself to take her at her destination for free and when the free of charge option appears her resistance and hiccuping stop. On their way, he talks to her about his dream, although he won’t get into details concerning his most treasured people partaking in it. He exchanges the beauty of his dream as luck for profit and earns 5000₩ and gives In Ha one of his buttons that works as a receipt for his services and/or a talisman.
In the meantime, at MSC Station, Gyo Dong and Gong Joo among others have a Cha Ok oriented discussion about how she became so famous, her pros and cons and various humorous incidents in the name of higher ratings parade one after the other on an insightful trip on Cha Ok’s background. An ordinary discussion between male colleagues dare i say, though very funny! Gyo Dong stands his ground as a fair and thoughtful reporter once again.
In Ha’s first destination is the hair salon. She wants a reporter-wise style and she tries to explain to the employee the difference between a reporter and an announcer. She definitely makes her understand! Right before the preparation begins she receives a letter from her mother, the first one in 13 years. After the arch emotional shock she definitely reacts as if it was the first mobile text she ever received! The reaction of the employees that can’t comprehend the situation since they don’t know In Ha’s background story is priceless!
In utter excitement, In Ha calls Dal Po to deliver the news of her mother’s message, he still doesn’t believe it’s her mother that responded to her countless messages after 13 years, but he surrenders for a while and congratulates her. Then he starts talking to his GPS girlfriend and a passenger at his cab freaks out and starts wondering whether Dal Po is insane or not and wants to leave the cab for his own safety! The passenger thinks Dal Po doesn’t understand English and talks about his concerns freely on the phone, until Dal Po replies in English and he freaks him out even more.
He reaches his passenger’s destination and before leaving he witnesses an old man whose belongings had already hit a truck. Dal Po promises the grandpa that he’ll take care of it and he leaves his phone number at the spot so that the truck’s owner will call him back to settle things down. Dal Peng calls him in order to give him back his wallet and the truck owner appears, he’s Dal Po’s real brother, but they won’t reach a meeting crossroad for the time being.
Dal Peng is waiting for Dal Po’s arrival and he recalls past moments that point towards his suspicion about Dal Po’s feelings for his precious daughter, In Ha. Moments like the way he stares at her and how caring he is towards her, but also enlisting to join the army as soon as he’d finish school in order for In Ha to study because there were not enough money for both of them. When Dal Po arrives and gets questioned, he tries to hide the truth, well, he doesn’t have a Pinocchio syndrome, but you can’t hide that easily such intense emotions. He tries to reassure Dal Peng about the opposite, but Dal Peng’s spicy lines leave us with the impression that he’s not convinced.
In the meantime, In Ha has arrived at MSC Station. She feels as if she has entered a temple! At this point we witness Lee Yoo Bi’s first appearance in Pinocchio as Yoon Yoo Rae and she feels intriguing and lovely as she’s being entranced by In Ha’s presence. They meet each other once again as they’re both waiting for their interviews and In Ha inflames the mystery even more on Yoo Rae’s mind since she’s so excited that the cold-blooded reporter Cha Ok will be in the interviewing team as well.
The moment of In Ha’s interview arrives and she’s living apparently in a bubble at her mother’s presence. Every word Cha Ok utters would apply to any contestant, In Ha though conceives the usual instructions as special treatment. Cha Ok’s colleagues are aware that In Ha is Cha Ok’s daughter and during the key points they offer their own commentary of the current situation which brightens a bit the shadowy scenery. Cha Ok is merciless in front of her daughter, word by word she’s cracking In Ha’s expectations in a row. Cha Ok puts a simple test on In Ha and if she can surpass her Pinocchio syndrome and accomplish her mission she will be hired. She has to call a restaurant that is suspected of letting people smoke indoors illegally. She must make a reservation and ask directly if smoking is allowed because her friends are smokers. As we all know, In Ha can’t lie and she can’t accomplish the task. Her dream of becoming a reporter at her mother’s workplace is shattered. She won’t give up though, she’s waiting for Cha Ok and she finds out that she wasn’t the one that sent her the message since the phone numbers don’t match. In Ha tells her mother how much she missed her just to get back a C4 explosive mechanism planted on her heart. In Ha’s glass tower lies shattered on the ground. Her hopes and dreams she’s been struggling to build all these years have perished. In Ha’s stare as she’s watching her mother leave is heart-wrecking. Cha Ok is not afraid to step on corpses or living flesh, but still, there must be at least a single drop of blood behind that seemingly impenetrable ice, i’m pretty sure she must have some reasons for treating In Ha this way, or at least an explanation. An assumption i could make is that she doesn’t want to see her daughter being exposed in the ruthless world of media and given her problem with Pinocchio syndrome she could be quite a sightseeing for the saturnine TV ratings.
The person who was supposed to be her phone mother all these years appears, Kim Young Kwang as Seo Bum Jo. He receives a message from In Ha and he calls her back. After the first shock, In Ha’s devastation is omnipresent. I’m referring to one of the most heart-rending scenes of Pinocchio so far, she cries her heart out as she considers the person behind the phone a thief of her thoughts and messages for the past decade. She lowers her phone and falls on her knees, Bu Jo apologizes as his hand shivers, the message is not delivered.
Dal Po waits for In Ha to find out about the outcome of the interview and if everything went fine with her mother. She spots her and calls her on the phone, she’s definitely not in the mood for talking, but even if she talked everything would be exposed due to her sobbing and the Pinocchio syndrome, hiccuping would betray her even if she could hold back her tears. They communicate by messages and he’s got a full view of the overall situation, her positive seeming texts versus the collapsed reality before his very eyes. The more she describes the things she desired so much to happen the hiccuping worsens and her tears won’t cease caressing with dismay Shin Hye’s expressive face.
After the discussion’s over Dal Po leaves, not because he isn’t worried, but because it’s one of these moments no-one can really help you. He changes his mind and returns in front of MSC Station to find her, but she has already left. An unpleasant surprise awaits for him, Cha Ok is waiting for a cab and she makes a signal at Dal Po to pull over. As soon as he realizes it’s really her the change on his face is utterly representative. She enters the cab and as the discussion flows he reveals his identity as In Ha’s uncle and that he was adopted by her ex father-in-law. The discussion becomes more intense as time passes by.
Later on, Dal Po’s brother is out for a few drinks and he contacts Dal Po via text to tell him that everything’s fine with the truck, even though his friend seems to be having a different opinion. He tells Jae Myung that the burnt down factory will be demolished soon and Jae Myung asks him if he can work at the demolition project. At the same place there are the three people we got to know during the first episode. The manager of the factory and the two workers that set the fire. The past still haunts them and a quarrel begins. Jae Myung hears everything, but tension rises and one of them burns his hand. They rush to the hospital and Jae Myung misses the chance to talk to them.
In the meantime, In Ha took all of her books and ran away. The grandpa is worried, so are Dal Peng and Pal Po and they start searching for her. Fireworks hold a twofold essence when it comes to Dal Po, when he was a little kid they were something spectacular he would watch in awe. Ever since the traumatic last night he treasured with his mother fireworks must feel menacing and frightening, they behold the echo of his mother’s disheartenment and tragic loss.
As he keeps searching for her he witnesses remains of her interview papers falling from the top of a high-building and rushes to the top to prevent her from doing anything rash. He’s more than worried, frightened dare i say and definitely not prepared for the worst. At the same time, In Ha was trying to burn her books. The door is locked from the outside, he tries to break it, but suddenly In Ha’s divine power unlocks it and she hides. Dal Po searches everywhere and looks downwards to make sure she didn’t do anything stupid, she tries to hide but she should know by now that hiccups can betray herr position! Dal Po tries to comfort her in her time of need.
At the same time, Bum Jo finally decides meet the Pinocchio girl behind the phone after all these years of silence from his side. His mother seems to be aware of the overall situation and she supports him. She shines even by just staring at him! Kim Hae Sook is Park So Ra, Bu Jo’s mother, and she’s another figure that was part of I Hear Your Voice!
Back the rooftop, In Ha and Dal Po share some sincere and heartfelt moments, Dal Po tries to strengthen her while In Ha gets the chance to finally talk to someone and unearth truths of the past and things that hurt her at the present. She doesn’t want to be a burden to her father and Dal Po and she needs a job to feel better when it comes to that matter. The chemistry is grandiose and utterly beautiful. And when one wrist-grab is not enough, two of them do the talking to bring In Ha back to her senses. I dearly loved the moments when he could hold in his own hands In Ha’s arms the one right after the other, it didn’t feel possessive at all, it felt like an alarm clock ringing and ringing and ringing and ringing until she wakes up.
And as the scene processes, deep inside Dal Po’s mind we get to see through his thoughts the continuation of the discussion he had with Cha Ok. Every sentence he utters deserves a different facial expression; and he lives up to any humane expectation. Visionary, ambitious, menacing, like a wolf under the starlit sky.
He wants to become a reporter alongside In Ha to prove the world that a person with Pinocchio can become a reporter even though the chances due to statistics feel like plain zero and probably to take revenge on behalf of his beloved family. For his father who was unfairly accused and offered his life while on duty, for his mother who couldn’t face the world anymore, for his brother whom he lost during this turbulent hurricane, for himself, for losing everyone he utterly loved. Everyone but In Ha. Shin Hye’s interpretation is more than adorable, her stare is penetrating in the kindest of any possible way.
The third episode is the milestone of Pinocchio’s process and alongside episode four they forge the main core of this wonderful drama so far. The emotional intensity during the episode is more than present. Both Shin Hye and Jong Suk pour themselves into their roles even more by offering a soulful testimony that makes you cherish Pinocchio for everything it preserves. Humorous moments? They are plenty. Moments in which both the main figures but also part of the supporting ones shine? There are plenty. Moments in which you will feel there’s no point to proceed watching Pinocchio? There are none. I will keep the scene with the final fireworks as a promise that everyone will live up to my expectations. Because it was the only scene so far that let the fireworks shine through our characters’ presence leaving behind the bereaving aesthetic they owned so far.