Highlights: “Pinocchio” Episode 20 (Final)

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It’s time to say goodbye to Dal Po, In Ha, and company after 20 episodes of lies, laughs, and tears. The final episode of “Pinocchio” doesn’t hold a lot of surprises, but it’s a fitting ending nonetheless.

These were my five favorite scenes of “Pinocchio” episode 20:

1. Cha Ok’s advice

If you had told me, back around episode five, that one day I would be smiling fondly as Cha Ok told Dal Po and In Ha how to best get answers from somebody, I would’ve called you crazy. But here we are: I loved how Cha Ok came to Ro Sa’s arrival at the police station herself and made sure that her daughter and Dal Po would be able to get past the Chairwoman’s bland statement to the truth. Again, I can’t honestly say that I believe Cha Ok’s transformation (not this quickly), but I’ve found that so long as I don’t think about this development too hard, it’s led to some lovely scenes.

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2. Dal Po’s questions (and the ones he wanted to ask)

I’m so glad that the conclusion of Dal Po’s reporter arc has been the realization that news is so much bigger than him. Yes, he could ask Ro Sa why she targeted his family, vilified his father, and led his mother to commit murder-suicide (side-note: I don’t understand why Dal Po’s mother’s actions haven’t been brought up once. I would have thought that the trauma of his mother trying to kill him would have been just as horrifying as anything else Dal Po went through after the fire). But satisfactory answers to his personal questions don’t exist. Ro Sa told Cha Ok to go after Ki Ho Sang because he was convenient, but she never had any personal feelings about him. The real way to get her to crack, to make sure that she’s so rattled she can’t lie her way out of taking responsibility, is to ask questions about her and her son—so that’s what Dal Po does.

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3. Cha Ok finally answers Dal Po

And here we come to the end of Cha Ok’s arc. Weeks ago, at the time of the investigation into the bus driver’s death, Dal Po produced the proof that Cha Ok had been right and then proceeded to batter her with angry questions. It was a great scene, because everything he said was so deserved and because it was honestly pretty satisfying to see Cha Ok, who at that point was the ice queen of lies and amorality, rendered speechless by such a lacerating display. At that time, she couldn’t answer any of Dal Po’s questions, but now, alone, in the elevator leaving MSC for good, she finally can. She couldn’t trust herself to tell the truth because she was a liar. She wasn’t really a reporter. It’s a subtle, weirdly sweet scene—Song Cha Ok, finally (bravely) telling the truth about herself.

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4. “Being happy by lying always ends.”

The end of Dal Po’s personal arc is somewhat bittersweet, as he convinces In Ha that they have to be honest with Grandpa about their desire for a romantic relationship—but they also have to be willing to accept if he refuses to grant them permission for such a relationship. After spending half his life hiding the truth of his identity from the people he loves, Dal Po knows that he can’t continue to do that. He also knows that the Choi family has truly become his family, and that he isn’t willing to give that up or disrupt that for anything. It’s a difficult decision to make, but it’s clear why Dal Po thinks this way—and why In Ha ultimately agrees. Neither of them can live a lie. They can only be honest, and accept the consequences.

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5. “Thank you for raising me.”

I think we all knew that Dal Po and In Ha would get their happy ending, but seeing Grandpa agree to unadopt Dal Po so the erstwhile uncle and niece can tie the knot is just so sweet. Dal Po’s relationship with his adoptive father was consistently great, and it goes out on a high note, as the two acknowledge how much they’ve saved each other and agree that it’s time to move into the future.

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Overall thoughts and feelings

In broad strokes, I adore “Pinocchio” like nothing else. It’s such a great, moving story: a boy loses his family to lies, finds a new family through new lies, and is finally inspired to return to a life of truth by an unfailingly honest girl. I love that premise. And for a long time, I really loved “Pinocchio.” I loved its offbeat humor and its depiction of a fiercely devoted family. I loved Dal Po, in all of his fear, anger, and trauma, and I loved his discovery that he couldn’t hide from his past forever. I loved In Ha, in all of her bright, brash shamelessness, and I loved her struggles with a mother who did nothing but disappoint her. I loved all of the quirky side characters. I even loved Jae Myung (the first version), with his twisted despair and merciless vengeance.

But somewhere along the way, “Pinocchio” started losing its verve. It abandoned its punch-to-the-gut storytelling and started spinning its narrative wheels, and my passion cooled. I never started hating the show (though I do prefer to forget that episode 17 happened!), but it stopped moving my heart the way it had before.

In retrospect, I still really liked this drama, and I’ll definitely think fondly of it in the future. But if it had ended around when Jae Myung was arrested, I would be ready to induct it into the Drama Hall of Fame. The truth is, I liked “Pinocchio” best when it was breaking my heart.

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This is all completely personal, of course! Please tell us in the comments what you thought of this episode, and of “Pinocchio” as a whole!

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