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Black: Episode 4

Things are finally making more and more sense as we see how all those little details are potentially connected to larger pieces of the puzzle. There are still a lot of questions to explore, but at least the show is well on its way to having Black and Ha-ram become partners against death — provided that she can stop feeling responsible for what happened to Moo-gang and her father.

 
EPISODE 4 RECAP

Black and his old partner watch as Ha-ram’s ex-boyfriend happily walks in the rain. Black’s old partner thinks that Black is cold-blooded and heartless for not pitying the fact that their new assignment looks so happy, unaware that he’ll die soon.

Black scoffs that he’s not human so he has no heart or blood, and besides, it’s odd that his partner is feeling so sentimental — perhaps it’s because this is his partner’s last day as a Reaper.

Black leans on the counter of the fast food restaurant, waiting until it’s time to reap the ex-boyfriend’s soul. Black’s startled when Ha-ram reaches out and touches him (although she thinks she’s touching a Shadow), something no human should be able to do. Even so, it’s not enough to stop the inevitable, and ex-boyfriend gets hit by the Truck of Doom.

Black escorts the ex-boyfriend’s soul to the spirit world, but Black’s old partner stares wistfully at the humans panicking over the tragedy in the street. Black: “Never forget death. We’re always by your side.”

Ha-ram wanders the high school courtyard, wondering where Black went after she pointed out the student with the Shadow. The student lands with a bloody thud in front of her, having been pushed by Black off the building. Ha-ram watches in shock as the Shadow disappears from the boy’s body.

Later that night, she sees Black waiting for her outside her apartment. He asks if she still likes Joon, er, Moo-gang, uh, him. Then he asks her to stay close and be his eyes. Ha-ram finds it suspicious that his attitude towards her has suddenly changed, and it seems like she might have noticed him on the roof right after the boy was pushed.

Black just wants to use her because she can see where the Shadows are hiding, and thus she’ll be able to see what body Loser is inhabiting. But he tells her that they should work together to prevent people from dying like the student, and that she should tell him immediately when she sees a Shadow inside someone else.

Ha-ram angrily asks why he’s suddenly changed his opinion about her — it wasn’t that long ago when he treated her like a stranger and yelled at her to get lost. Why is he suddenly so friendly?

Black sputters that he was shot in the head and lost all his memories (convenient excuse, that). He tells her to forget everything that’s happened up until now and just stick close to him. But Ha-ram refuses, because she blames herself for Moo-gang almost dying. If she hadn’t tried to save the man in the hostage situation, then Moo-gang wouldn’t have ended up taking his place.

Black’s patience is wearing thin, and his Reaper attitude comes out when he forcefully commands her, as a lowly human, to obey his orders. But she yells at him that she won’t. He threatens to pluck her eyes out, and she responds by kicking him in the crotch. Black drops in agonized pain, and Ha-ram angrily returns home.

Man-soo visits his father in the hospital. The old man seems to be doing quite poorly, and Man-soo begs his father to live a long life. His father looks as though he wants to speak, but Man-soo’s brother Man-ho barges in, furious that Man-soo was allowed to see their father.

Man-ho has his bodyguards drag Man-soo out, furious that the doctor allowed Man-soo in. Man-ho then turns his anger to his father, mocking the old man for wanting to be with his youngest son, who is also apparently an illegitimate son. Man-ho reminds his father that he’s is the one cleaning up the mess Dad left behind, but promises to make sure Dad’s funeral is a grand one — provided he dies soon enough.

Black’s back at Moo-gang’s home — with an ice pack held to his crotch, ha — and he grumbles that the only way to find the runaway Reaper is by using Ha-ram. Joseon feels pity for Ha-ram, pointing out that her first love nearly died because of her, so it’s no wonder that she wouldn’t want to follow Black around.

When his phone rings, Black, groaning in pain, asks Joseon to hand it to him — completely forgetting that Reapers can’t touch physical objects. He finally picks it up. The caller is a guy who’s set a coal briquette on fire in his car, which slowly suffocates him.

Man-soo sadly leaves the hospital, vowing to his father that he’ll save Royal Group, no matter what. He then wonders if Ha-ram has kept her promise to investigate the VIP clients. But when he calls her, he hears her phone ring nearby,

He sees her crouched by a bench, downing bottles of soju. She’s just confirmed with Soo-wan that Moo-gang’s memory loss and odd behavior are a direct result of his getting shot.

Man-soo secretly watches as a very drunk Ha-ram sobs that she has no friends, connections, or money, and that because of her Moo-gang nearly died — and her father died because of her, too. She then passes out, and Man-soo gives her a piggy-back ride home (although her drunken flailing don’t exactly make it easy), realizing that she must be just as lonely as he is.

Back at the office, Man-soo studies the file he’s promised Ha-ram. He toys with the idea of giving it to her now, then decides to wait until she’s completed her job for him. He wonders if the man pictured in a photo really killed Ha-ram’s father. Oooh, it’s the guy with the scar from before, and is that Ha-ram’s mother he has his arm around?

A flashback shows the man entering an abandoned building where two boys are hiding — one of them is Joon, another is a younger boy. The man finds the two boys, but as he grabs Joon, the young boy finds a brick and slams it against the man’s face, giving them a chance to go free. I’m assuming that’s how the man got his scar.

Except it’s not a flashback, but Black’s dream. He even nicks himself shaving as he contemplates the fact that he’s experienced something that only humans can do while sleeping.

Joseon and Hip-hop pop out of a closet, startling Black, but as they discuss the events of the previous day, Black wonders why Ha-ram isn’t able to see his Shadow in Moo-gang’s body. She’s looked at him without her sunglasses, so she should be able to see his Shadow the same way she saw the Shadow in the student’s body.

Black realizes that it must be because he’s only ever worn black clothes around her, which hides the Shadow just like her sunglasses do. That means he’ll have to keep wearing black, and when the other two Reapers compliment him on how handsome he looks in in a black suit, just like Brad Pitt in the film Meet Joe Black, Black decides that he’ll be called “Black” from now on (instead of #444, as they’d been previously calling him).

Black heads to work, ignoring the higher ranking officers in the elevator with him because human ranks mean nothing to him. His captain tries to urgently whisper at him to greet the commissioner, but Black just laughs at how the captain’s breath tickles his ear.

Kwang-kyun gets a call from Man-soo — they’ve found Jin-sook’s appointment book which might hold some clues. There doesn’t seem to be particularly anything important in the appointment book, but Kwang-kyun finds a note about a million dollars.

Back at the police station, So-tae receives a speeding ticket notice — but it was from when Moo-gang used the car, which happened to be the day he was shot. So-tae is surprised that the speeding ticket was for an intersection that’s far away from the shopping mall where he was shot. According to the ticket time stamp, Moo-gang should have been headed to the shopping mall.

A couple of detectives from another station arrive to talk to Black (well, technically Moo-gang). They’ve discovered that the man who attempted to kill himself in his car was the person who shot Moo-gang. Black says he’s never seen the man before in his life, although the detectives think there must be more to it.

Soo-wan reads articles about Jin-sook’s death, remembering the last time they talked. Jin-sook said that she needed money to repay a loan, so she told “that man” that she had the tape and to pay her a million dollars for it. But first Soo-wan has to give her the tape.

Except Soo-wan doesn’t have the tape, and she thought “that man” took it with him. Freaking out, she warned Jin-sook that if she doesn’t want to die, then Jin-sook shouldn’t meet with him. After she hung up, she wonders where that tape disappeared to, and if Moo-gang found it since he asked her about it that night on the roof.

If Moo-gang did find it, though, then it’d be hidden in his secret basement room. Soo-wan decides to find the tape and destroy it, in order to protect her and Moo-gang.

The sniper who tried to kill Moo-gang is in the hospital. His suicide may have been unsuccessful, but he’s still in bad condition because of the smoke inhalation. Black visits him, since the man wants to talk to him, but minutes after Black enters the hospital room, all the machines start beeping as the man goes into shock.

The other detective is curious to know what the sniper told Black, and as Black walks away, he casually says that the man said he was sorry.

Man-soo has a new list of VIP clients for Ha-ram to investigate, but she protests when she sees that one of them lives in Mujin, which is nowhere near Seoul. Man-soo says that the man is a close friend of his father’s, so he wants Ha-ram to be extra sure that everything is fine with him.

Soo-wan tries to figure out the code to Moo-gang’s secret room, but she’s unable to open it. She hears a sound and then quietly slips away, just as Black returns home. He sees her leave, but doesn’t seem particularly concerned or interested in what she was doing.

Instead, Black reflects on what the sniper told him — the man did indeed apologize, but he also confessed that he was forced to shoot Moo-gang. It was no accident. The man starts to go into shock when he tells Black that someone will try to kill Moo-gang again.

Black’s takeaway from the man’s confession is that Moo-gang would have died no matter what that day, and that Moo-gang becoming the hostage wasn’t Ha-ram’s fault. If she realizes that it wasn’t her fault, then she’ll probably agree to work with him.

Haha, Black bewilders So-tae when he suddenly arrives at the police station via a closet. Black tries to figure out where Moo-gang must have been going that day based on the speeding ticket, and So-tae wonders why Black keeps referring to himself in the third person. Pffft.

Black goes to the parking garage security office to study the CCTV recording from the day of the shooting, looking for Moo-gang’s car. Black realizes that Moo-gang was actually headed to the hotel across from the mall. Black remembers seeing Moo-gang in the hotel hallways, back when Black was hunting down Loser.

Black tracks down the parking attendant that Moo-gang had paid to get the original hostage’s mother, and has the attendant tell Ha-ram that Moo-gang was actually headed to the hotel, not the mall that day. Ha-ram is surprised, since she thought Moo-gang was the one who went to get the man’s mother.

As she clarifies what happened that day, Black hilariously has to keep forcing himself to speak in first person (since he’s supposed to be Moo-gang). Ha-ram suddenly realizes that the original vision she saw had two gunshots — one for the hostage, and one for Moo-gang who was right behind them.

Black points out that if the hostage was whomever who went to pick up the old woman, the person who would have been shot in the end should have been the parking attendant. That means Ha-ram’s intervention didn’t result in Moo-gang being shot.

Black then brings her to a restaurant where the original hostage is having lunch with his mother. Black tells Ha-ram that if it weren’t for her, that man would be dead, and he wouldn’t be able to care for his aged mother.

Black makes a passionate plea for Ha-ram and him to work together to save lives, adding that if she hadn’t ignored the shadow in the student’s body, that student might still be alive right now. Ohhhhh, that’s just cruel.

Ha, then his stomach gurgles. Time to eat!

Ha-ram is surprised when Black scarfs down his soup, since Joon/Moo-gang never liked to eat intestines before. At any rate, she’s relieved that she’s not responsible for Moo-gang being shot. Black’s just happy she’ll be working for him, but then stares at her in surprise when she tells him that she’ll think about it.

After all, she already has another job, and then panics when she realizes how late it is and how long it’ll take her to get to Mujin. Before she leaves, she gives Black the photo of her and Joon when they were young. She hopes it will help revive his memory.

Kwang-kyun is also headed to Mujin. He’s still investigating Jin-sook’s murder, and thanks to her appointment book, he knows she supposedly met with someone there.

While Kwang-kyun waits for CCTV footage from near where Jin-sook should have been, he visits Mujin’s police chief commissioner, who happens to be an old friend and sunbae from back when Kwang-kyun used to be stationed there — with Ha-ram’s father. Ooooh.

The chief commissioner is delighted to see Kwang-kyun again, although when Kwang-kyun copies the CCTV footage to a flash drive, the chief seems really nervous about what might be on it. Kwang-kyun hurries back to Seoul to investigate the footage in more detail.

Ha-ram also wants to see the chief commissioner, since he’s the Royal Insurance VIP client on her list. As she hangs around the entrance of the police station, she gets a call from Black, which she ignores. The chief commissioner leaves the station just then, causing Ha-ram to scramble to find a taxi to follow the his car since she didn’t see him go by.

Black is furious that Ha-ram won’t answer his calls, especially after all he’s done to convince her that she wasn’t responsible for Moo-gang being shot. The wise Joseon Reaper points out that they have an even more serious problem, since if someone tried to kill Moo-gang, then they’ll try again. If Moo-gang dies again, then Black won’t be able to continue using Moo-gang’s body.

It’s not just that Moo-gang is useful as a detective — if Ha-ram is the only way he’ll be able to track down Loser, then the fact Moo-gang is her first love means she’ll be more likely to help than if Black looked like a complete stranger.

Black gets a call from the sniper in the hospital, and listens to a conversation between the sniper and another man. Black barges into the sniper’s room by way of the bathroom, discovering that the sniper is dead.

Black sees another guy waiting for him — it’s the masked man from before, the one who tried to steal Moo-gang’s eyes and who’s been spying on him with the telescope. They fight each other, but the other man manages to inject Black with something. Black chases the man down, but whatever he’s been injected with starts to take effect, and Black stumbles, unable to keep running.

He manages to stagger to a public bathroom, using the stall door to teleport back to Moo-gang’s house before he completely passes out.

Ha-ram’s taxi finally manages to catch up to the chief commissioner when he suddenly breaks to avoid hitting a small boy. When the chief commissioner steps out of the car to make sure the boy is okay, Ha-ram confirms that there’s no Shadow.

She reports back to Man-soo, and then stops at a convenience store. She sees the boy there, hiding from the sleeping cashier as he happily stuffs his face with stolen chocolate. Ha-ram takes him to the police station so they can find his family.

The cops there tell her that he’s actually the son of another cop who’s been frantically searching for his son. It seems like the boy makes it a habit of disappearing and wandering around, so the cops aren’t particularly concerned.

As Ha-ram waits with the boy, she sees a Shadow suddenly appear next to him. A vision reveals that the boy will be put into a suitcase and buried.

When his parents finally arrive, they apologize for their son — he has a sweet tooth, but can’t have candy because of a sugar sensitivity, so he often runs away whenever he wants to eat something sweet.

Ha-ram desperately tells them that they shouldn’t let their son leave the house, and even though she feels that she’s done her job, she can’t shake the image of the boy’s body in the suitcase.

The chief commissioner stops by Jin-sook’s husband’s house. He asks to see a picture of Jin-sook when she was younger. Jin-sook’s her husband, who seems to be permanently drunk ever since his wife was found in the freezer, hauls out an old photo album.

The chief commissioner flips through the album, then stops at a photo of a teenaged Jin-sook, his eyes growing wide with shock. Behind him, a Shadow appears.

The drugs finally wear off and Black wakes up with a massive headache. Ha, Joseon and Hip-hop are just glad he’s regained consciousness so he can turn the TV on for them.

Black grumpily wonders what the heck Moo-gang was up to before he died, and recalls the secret room in the basement. He tries to teleport there, but because the door is locked, teleportation won’t work. Ahhh, so that explains why toilets are such a popular Reaper portal, since the unlocked stalls mean easy access.

Black attempts to open the locked door to the secret room, but kicking at the handle doesn’t do him any good. He peers through the peep hole, but it’s actually the retina scan, and the door unlocks after it scans Moo-gang’s eye.

Cautiously, Black enters the secret room. He finds the walls covered in photos and news articles about a building collapse in Mujin that killed hundreds of lives. He also sees a TV with a tape sticking out of the VCR. He pops it in, but there’s only static.

Black sees a photo of Joon, recognizing him from the photo Ha-ram gave him earlier. Joon’s standing with the young boy from his dream. Hearing a doorbell, Black leaves the secret room — although he doesn’t fully lock the door behind him, and as he tosses the photo aside, it wedges itself between the step and the wall.

The video starts to play, and it’s the woman from Moo-gang’s memory, the one whose body was found buried twenty years later. The woman makes sure the tape is recording, and then has Soo-wan — or Seon-young, as she’s known then — introduce herself, showing her school records as proof that she’s a middle school student. Then the woman tells Seon-young to undress.

Black opens the front gate to reveal Ha-ram, who tells him that she’ll help him. She promises to stick by his side, and then asks him to help her save a life.

 
COMMENTS

Well, I’d hate to live in Mujin. It seems like all the issues our main characters are dealing with come from there, in some sort of grand, massive conspiracy that’s currently tangled but will hopefully make sense. All I know so far is that twenty years ago, Soo-wan/Seon-young and her friend Jin-sook were caught up in what I am assuming is a child pornography ring, and there are some terrible guys out there who would do anything to prevent people from finding out about it (such as the scar-faced guy, the super shady chief commissioner, and whomever put Jin-sook in the freezer). There’s also apparently other issues of corruption in Mujin, based on the articles in Moo-gang’s secret room.

Then there’s the mystery of how Joon/Moo-gang was caught up in it all, and who the little boy is with him in both the dream and the photo — a younger brother, perhaps? My wild shot-in-the-dark guess is that it’s a young Man-soo, since he’s an illegitimate son from a mistress, and is maybe the reason Joon and his mother moved to Seoul. Not that he’s necessarily Joon’s blood brother, but maybe Joon’s mother was raising him for some reason — maybe his real mother died? Considering that it’s implied the sketchy chief commissioner sorta bought his way up to his rank, the powerful forces of Royal Group could be supporting him. As Man-soo told Ha-ram, the chief commissioner is a close friend of his father’s, so maybe they grew up in Mujin together. Maybe the store that collapsed was owned by Royal Group, and Moo-gang has been trying to gather evidence that Royal Group is secretly terrible and killing people. Which is why, in turn, they want to kill him.

I don’t really know why I assume that Man-soo’s terrible older brother Man-ho is the one pulling the strings to kill Moo-gang, but I don’t feel too far off track, if only because Man-ho is seriously the worst. I didn’t think there could be anyone more arrogant and snobby than Black, but apparently there is, and I fully support any effort to destroy Man-ho.

I also can’t help but wonder if Moo-gang purposefully found a way to be partnered with Kwang-kyun. I find it hard to believe that Moo-gang didn’t know Kwang-kyun was a detective in Mujin (and apparently worked with Ha-ram’s father). This makes me assume that one of the reasons Ha-ram’s father was killed had something to do with those tapes and whatever conspiracy theory is hidden in Mujin. I can totally believe that Moo-gang — the Moo-gang with the secret room, the speeding ticket, and the mysterious meeting at the hotel, not the bumbling Moo-gang that vomits at crime scenes — believed that Kwang-kyun must know something about whatever happened twenty years ago.

It’s just a pity that Moo-gang’s dead. I think. I don’t know how long a soul can last if a Reaper’s taken over a body, or if there’s even hope for the soul to re-enter its original body.

Side note: If Ha-ram did manage to commit suicide, would she have become a Reaper? I feel like technically she would have, but considering she’s seen the Death Shadows all her life, I feel like she should be given an exception, since the reason she would have committed suicide was due to spending a lifetime feeling helpless around death, so it’s actually the Reapers’ fault that she would have killed herself at all. I wonder how she would react if she became a Shadow herself — she’d probably think that she has the worst luck in the world. Then again, I would be delighted if she became Black’s partner in Reaperdom, driving him crazy as she terrorizes him with her instinctive desire to save people even in the afterlife.

Which is why I’m glad that the show seems to have finally begun Ha-ram and Black’s partnership. Even though I’m curious about all the various mysteries and how they’ll eventually come together to reveal some grand conspiracy, I mostly want to see Black and Ha-ram work together to save people’s lives — especially children’s lives.

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