Black: Episode 16
Thank goodness this show got an extension, because I can’t imagine how all the major plot points and minor loose ends would have been tied up by now. However, we do get a lot of answers this episode as the detectives figure out how to find the missing tape in order to nab the person responsible for so many deaths.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Back to the day when Moo-gang was shot: on his way to pick up the original hostage’s mother from the mall, Byung-tae calls Moo-gang on a secret burner phone, letting him know that he found out that a “child fortune-teller with sunglasses” was the one who took the tape.
Moo-gang realizes that must be Ha-ram, and he goes to her apartment to search for the tape. Aha, so he was the one who ransacked her apartment that day, not her stepfather (who had just been looking for money). Moo-gang finds the photo of young Ha-ram with Joon, realizing that Ha-ram was indeed the same one from his brother’s childhood. Moo-gang gets a phone call from someone, and seems surprised by who it is.
Moo-gang does some nifty electronic lock-picking to break into Leo’s hotel suite. Minutes pass before Moo-gang leaves the hotel suite, looking completely dazed.
As Moo-gang exits the hotel, he’s grabbed by the soldier who holds him hostage. Moo-gang thinks to himself that maybe it’s better if he dies right here, and doesn’t bother fighting back. After the bullet hits him, Moo-gang suddenly desperately realizes that he can’t die just yet — he needs to ask how “that person could do such a thing.”
In the present day, Black goes back to the mall and stares at the place where Moo-gang was shot. He knows that Moo-gang found out about the tape that day, but if Moo-gang had the tape, he would have gone to arrest Congressman Kim. Why did Moo-gang go to the hotel instead? Black can’t even get a copy of the guest records from then because they’ve all mysteriously been deleted.
Leo watches a video of himself in the hotel bathroom with Moo-gang from that day. Leo, in his drugged out state, warned Moo-gang that revealing his father’s tape would bring Moo-gang harm. Leo studies the bunny charm on his phone, looking conflicted.
Congressman Kim is surprised to find Black in his office. Black: “Well, the door was open, so I just went through it.” Pfft, well I guess that’s technically correct, since that’s how Black can portal.
The congressman mentions that he noticed Soo-wan and Black were at the columbarium the day of the press conference. Black casually says that his memories are starting to return, and asks if Congressman Kim recalls what Seon-young looks like, since he was the one interviewed her. The congressman hesitates and Black says it was so long ago that he probably forgot, anyway.
Black then congratulates the congressman on running for president, declaring him a hero for saving all those children from the fire. But Black’s handshake painfully squeezes the congressman’s hand, and after Black steps out of the room, his pleasant demeanor vanishes.
Congressman Kim calls someone, letting them know that Moo-gang’s memories are returning — but at least it seems that Soo-wan hasn’t told him anything. Black overhears this and is satisfied that the congressman should now focus his attention on Moo-gang instead of Soo-wan.
Chief Bong is driving himself crazy trying to find a connection between Leo and Man-ho. Black rips Man-ho’s photo from the evidence board and tosses it aside, saying that’s because there is no connection. Black’s returned to the police station to figure out who Congressman Kim’s police informant is, and zeroes in on the dirty detective.
Ha-ram stops by Black’s place because she’s worried that he hasn’t answered any of her calls. She finds it suspicious that the front gate is left open, and when she hears a noise from the basement, she grabs a nearby baseball bat and barges in, thinking it’s a burglar — but it’s Black and the rest of the detectives, slurping down ramen.
She’s distracted by the sight of Black’s murder-victim board, and he quickly shoos her out. After Black leaves, the other detectives admit that they first thought Black was crazy when they saw the board, but now realize he must be some kind of genius.
Now that they can’t be overheard by Congressman Kim’s informant, Black fills the detectives in on his theory that Congressman Kim is behind all the deaths — including the death of Kwang-kyun. After Kwang-kyun had drunkenly stumbled into the other diners that night, one of the women’s bunny keychain reminded him of the one he saw in the interview tape on Congressman Kim’s bag — which also reminded Kwang-kyun of the one he found in the phone booth twenty years ago.
Kwang-kyun had gone to ask Congressman Kim about the bunny keychain, and the congressman said that his son (who he says is living in Canada) made it for him. The congressman said that he unfortunately lost the keychain when he was covering the Mujin mall collapse.
Kwang-kyun, playing up his drunkenness, asked the congressman for a glass of water. After the congressmen left to get it, Kwang-kyun rifled through the man’s desk and called someone to pull Leo’s family register to see if he’s related to Congressman Kim. The dirty detective immediately informed Congressman Kim to let him know what the other detectives were up to.
As Kwang-kyun later tried hailing a taxi (since he actually didn’t drive drunk that night), Congressman Kim hit Kwang-kyun with his car. He then drove the wounded detective to where Missing-finger had driven Kwang-kyun’s car off the road in order to make it look like an accident.
Congressman Kim showed Kwang-kyun the butterfly watch, gloating that he’s really the one Kwang-kyun had been searching for. Kwang-kyun, gasping and in pain, pulled out his handcuffs to feebly attempt to arrest Congressman Kim.
Congressman Kim continued to rub salt in Kwang-kyun’s figurative wound by saying Clara sent Seon-young for the sexual favor because Congressman Kim had threatened to hurt Kwang-kyun if she didn’t. Clara did it to protect her boyfriend, and Congressman Kim gloated that meant everything is technically Kwang-kyun’s fault. Congressman Kim and Missing-finger drove away, leaving Kwang-kyun to die.
The detectives are furious to know that Congressman Kim was responsible for Kwang-kyun’s death. They’re determined to arrest the congressman, but because he’s a well-regarded presidential candidate, they’ll need some iron-clad proof — such as the tape that only Moo-gang knows about.
Ha-ram’s still a little put out at the way Black forced her out of his house, wondering why he didn’t want to speak to her. She assumes he must be mad at her for some reason.
As she rides the bus, Ha-ram recognizes the woman with the Shadow from the hospital, standing on the street corner with her sign that says her soldier son wasn’t depressed. Ha-ram also sees Man-soo standing nearby, watching the woman. Ha-ram realizes that the woman must be Man-soo’s birth mother.
Black thinks that they might be able to find the missing tape without Moo-gang’s memories since Byung-tae also knows about it. But now it depends on whether or not Missing-finger got to Byung-tae first.
The detectives head to Mujin, since thanks to Soo-wan, they know Byung-tae recently left the restaurant where the medication was left behind. Black says it’ll be faster if he goes separately (because of the whole portal thing), but Chief Bong insists Black wouldn’t be able to go faster than with them blaring their police siren. Black is forced to ride with the rest of the detectives, much to his annoyance.
Byung-tae heads to Seoul, since he now knows that’s where Ha-ram is. Along the way, he notices Missing-finger is tailing him. Byung-tae tries to lose Missing-finger by speeding and swerving down the road, and nearly crashes into the van of detectives headed the opposite way, towards Mujin.
Dejected that they missed finding Byung-tae in Mujin, the detectives return home. Chief Bong says that the only way they can find the tape is if Moo-gang gets his memories back. Black says it’s impossible for his memories to return, but the other detectives decide to try and “help” him, anyway.
They try a multitude of hilarious and misguided ways to force Black to regain his memories (well, technically, Moo-gang’s memories), but of course none of them work.
Black’s annoyed by their interference, but realizes that he actually does have access to Moo-gang’s memories, because he has access to Moo-gang’s soul. He orders Joseon to drag Moo-gang’s soul out from wherever they’ve been hiding him.
In the morning, the detectives arrive at the station and… Moo-gang is back???? Say whaaaaaaaaat?!?!?!?!?
The detectives are thrilled that all their crazy efforts have worked to restore Moo-gang’s memory. But it seems like Moo-gang doesn’t know what’s happened since his accident, because he notices Kwang-kyun’s empty desk and asks if his sunbae was promoted. Ooof.
Everyone at the station is amused to see that the pastel-sweatshirt-wearing, polite-and-deferential Moo-gang is back. The dirty detective immediately reports to Congressman Kim that Moo-gang has regained his memories.
Lurking around the station is Missing-finger, who overhears Moo-gang call Byung-tae, letting him know he’s on his way to pick up the videotape. Missing-finger follows Moo-gang and sees him collect the videotape from a pawnshop, and immediately calls Congressman Kim to let him know the tape has been found.
Congressman Kim pays a surprise visit to Soo-wan, who cowers in fear when she recognizes him. He calls her “Seon-young” as he reminds her that he let her live because she said she’d find the tape, and then slaps her to the ground in retaliation for what he perceives as her betrayal.
The congressman has Soo-wan video call Moo-gang, so Moo-gang can see that she’s being held hostage by Congressman Kim. The congressman threatens to kill her if Moo-gang doesn’t meet with him and give him the tape. Moo-gang agrees to meet.
Moo-gang is shocked when he sees that the dirty detective is with them, but as detective disarms Moo-gang, he boasts that he has big dreams and the congressman is going to see that he becomes head chief one day. The dirty detective drags Soo-wan out of the room, and Congressman Kim asks to see the tape.
Moo-gang puts it in the VCR so that the congressman can verify if it’s real, but Moo-gang shuts it off as soon as the Seon-young is seen being dragged kicking and screaming. Congressman Kim is impressed that the video actually exists, since he thought Clara had been lying to him.
He asks how Moo-gang found the tape in the first place, but Moo-gang doesn’t answer and instead angrily points out that Congressman Kim never intended to air Seon-young’s interview. Moo-gang accuses him for being responsible for originally faking Byung-shik’s death, a feat that earned him Chairman Oh and Byung-shik’s trust. That’s when the three of them got the matching designer butterfly watches.
Congressman Kim must have thought he was on top of the world having such powerful men indebted to him, until he got the phone call from Clara demanding he hand over Seon-young’s interview tape or else she would release the tape of him raping Seon-young. Thanks to his work as a PD for the investigative news program, he knew about Scarface’s arson investigation, and used the connection to Chairman Oh’s insurance company to hire Scarface to get the tape from Clara.
Congressman Kim had planned to kill Scarface afterwards, but because Scarface kept saying that he had the tape but would only hand it over once he got his insurance payout, the congressman locked him up in the mental hospital.Then Scarface escape and proceeded to ruin the congressman’s life — including interfering in his plan to look like a big hero by saving the protestors’ children from the burning building.
Scarface was furious that his plan to lock the congressman in with the children and let all of them die was thwarted by Ha-ram and Black. Scarface entered the burning building to try and kill the congressman by hand. Instead, Congressman Kim knocked him down and left him to burn — but Scarface was eventually saved by Ha-ram.
When Jin-sook demanded a million dollars for the tape, Congressman Kim had her killed once it was discovered that she didn’t actually have the tape. The congressman was indeed the one with the butterfly watch who met with Jin-sook the night she died.
Then the congressman had Commissioner Song killed after the commissioner told him he thought Man-ho was responsible for Jin-sook’s death. He had to kill Commissioner Song since he was going to confess everything about Chairman Oh’s connection to the prostitution ring.
Soon after, Seung-chul’s father discovered that Byung-shik was still alive and told the congressman all about it, begging he do something. Seung-chul’s parents were then killed for knowing too much. Congressman Kim sadly confesses that he had to have his friend Byung-shik killed, even though he didn’t want to. But if Byung-shik had been arrested, it would have ruined everything.
Since the congressman then couldn’t blame Byung-shik for Jin-sook’s death, he decided to use Man-ho. But once Chairman Oh found out about that plan, he warned Congressman Kim to stop killing people or else he’ll reveal everything. So the congressman killed Chairman Oh to make sure everything remained a secret.
Moo-gang’s voice is full of fury as he blames Congressman Kim for killing Kwang-kyun because the detective had figured out the truth. Congressman Kim is impressed by Moo-gang’s deductive ability, and admits that he was indeed behind all of those deaths.
But he still wonders where Moo-gang found the tape, wondering if Joon sent it to him. The congressman sneers that he wasn’t able to find the tape when he searched Joon’s body. Moo-gang grabs Congressman Kim’s collar, demanding to know why he killed Joon.
Congressman Kim suddenly knocks Moo-gang down with a truncheon he apparently had hidden up his sleeve. The congressman insists that Joon was already dead when the congressman found him. If Moo-gang doesn’t believe him, he can ask Ha-ram’s father, since he was also obsessed with finding Joon’s murderer. Moo-gang asks if that’s why he killed Ha-ram’s father — because the other detective was close to figuring out the truth.
Furious, the congressmen continues to beat up Moo-gang, yelling that he’s worked hard to get where he is — he won’t let some punk detective keep him from becoming president. He adds that Moo-gang should have just died the day he was shot.
As Moo-gang writhes in pain on the floor, Congressman Kim calls Missing-finger, ordering him to kill Moo-gang and Soo-wan.
Congressman Kim takes the video tape and leaves the room, but as he does so, he walks right into a bunch of policemen and detectives with their guns pointed at him — along with a video camera. The congressman tries to rip out the film from the tape and eat it, but from the storage room emerges… Black?!?!?!?
Black smirks as he tells the congressman that the film isn’t edible, then points at the camera, saying that Seung-chul’s father taught him something. OMG, all this time, there’s been a live streaming broadcast from hidden cameras in the storage room. The entire public watched Congressman Kim confess to all the murders and horrible misdeeds.
When Black punches Congressman Kim in the face, So-tae steps in front of the camera and pretends there’s technical difficulties. Ha. But Black continues to hit the congressman, dedicating each punch to the people who died because of him. Yes!
The other detectives are impressed at Black’s ability to pretend he got his memories back, but Black says Chief Bong is the the true actor. OMG, Moo-gang’s return was all a lie, because Joseon told Black that he’d already sent Moo-gang’s soul to the afterlife. Black was frustrated at first, then realized how they could catch the congressman even without the tape.
Chief Bong and So-tae were ready to try some serious electric shock therapy to get Moo-gang’s memories back, but stopped in surprise when they saw Moo-gang standing in front of Black’s murder-victim board. Or at least they thought it was Moo-gang, based on the fact he was wearing his usual cartoon-character hoodie, but as soon as he spoke, it was clear it was still Black.
Black came up with the idea to film a new video, just enough of a scene to convince Congressman Kim that they had the original tape. Hahahahaha, poor Chief Bong was assigned the role of Seon-young, and not only did he have to do endless takes with So-tae (playing the congressman) slapping him in the face, he also had to endure having his legs waxed. Ouch.
Soo-wan was the one who agreed to all of this, using her memory of what happened to make the scene as accurate as possible. Aw, Black kept checking on her, asking if she was okay since she had to keep remembering every detail of the moment she was raped. But she insisted that she wanted to help, especially since she was the only one who knew exactly what happened.
In the end, the effort they put into the tape was believable enough, and they were able to trap Congressman Kim into a confession heard across the country. Noticing Soo-wan looking a little shaken after the congressman’s arrest, Black asks if she’s okay. She says she is, but she still wonders where the real tape might be.
Missing-finger is annoyed that the congressman has been caught, and he removes the butterfly watch from its hiding place in the congressman’s office just before Chief Bong and his men arrive to try and find the watch. Of course, their search is futile.
Black walks Soo-wan home, and she asks him if he’s happy being with Ha-ram. Soo-wan plans to move to Chicago and start a new life there.
Black has a question about the original interview tape, though. He noticed that it looked like it had been edited — a full glass of water suddenly became nearly empty in the space of one frame. Soo-wan says that she spilled the water and her face was filmed when she bent down to clean it up, so Congressman Kim must have edited it out.
Black accepts her explanation, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s more to it due to the way Soo-wan watches Black leave. She tells herself that it’s over and “they” won’t bother Moo-gang again.
In the interrogation room, Congressman Kim blusters that they still don’t have any evidence against him. The detectives watching the interrogation wonder if the congressman’s confession will be enough, since they couldn’t find the butterfly watch.
Ha-ram bursts into the interrogation room, ready to scratch the congressman’s eyes out since she’s furious that he was so willing to answer questions about her father, yet he was the one who ordered her father to be killed. Congressman Kim smirks as he says he wasn’t the one behind Ha-ram’s father’s death.
The abuse still isn’t over for the congressman, because Man-ho — in his prison outfit — wrenches himself free from the cops escorting him. He elbows Congressman Kim in the face when they pass in the police station hallway. Man-ho is angry that the congressman killed his father. I still hate Man-ho, yet any time Congressman Kim is punched in the face, it makes me happy.
Ha-ram apologizes for thinking Black was acting coldhearted because he was mad at her. She was unaware that he was focused on capturing Congressman Kim. She thanks him for finding the person who killed her father and Joon, and she hopes Congressman Kim will rot in jail for the rest of his life.
Black watches Ha-ram walk away, saying to himself that it’s all over now. He’s found the culprit, so now he can leave in peace.
Ha-ram finds Man-soo lurking outside the police station. He’d been avoiding her because he thought his father was responsible for her father’s death. Ha-ram’s apologetic that they weren’t able to save Chairman Oh from dying, then adds that Man-soo’s mother still has a chance. Despite Man-soo insisting his mother has nothing to do with him, Ha-ram tells Man-soo that his birth mother will hang herself tomorrow at 3pm.
In the morning, Man-soo’s mother is at her usual spot, protesting that her soldier son didn’t suffer from depression. Hip-hop and Joseon are there, too, of course. But they’re surprised when another Reaper shows up — it’s the woman’s son. Joseon doesn’t know how that’s possible, since Reapers who have committed suicide aren’t allowed to appear before their loved ones.
Ha-ram looks over Man-soo’s mother’s records about her son’s death. She believes that her son committed suicide not because he was depressed, like the official reports say, but because he was molested by Senator Nam’s son who was his superior in the army.
The army doctor who found the her son’s body originally reported the smell of menthol on his private parts, indicating that he’d been molested with pain-relieving patches. But then later the doctor changed his story to say that the smell of menthol was from the doctor’s own pain-relieving patches that he had been wearing at the time he investigated the body.
Black takes down the photos of all the victims in order to destroy them before he leaves. Black orders Joseon to call the Death Squad tomorrow so he can return to the Underworld. He then asks Joseon where Moo-gang’s soul went. Black assumes that since Moo-gang worked so hard to prove truth of his brother’s death, Moo-gang must have gone to heaven.
The way Joseon doesn’t answer as he carefully watches Black exit the basement, though, is very, very suspicious. Joseon definitely knows something that he isn’t telling Black.
Black flips through the photos of Joon’s body taken the night he was found dead on the road, and realizes that there isn’t a scar on the boy’s hand, like Ha-ram said he should have. He also sees a birthmark on the boy’s back.
Ha-ram recognizes the army doctor as one of Royal Group’s doctors, who she knows to have a severe allergy to menthol (which she found out after accidentally giving him some peppermint tea). She meets with the doctor, who bluffs that he doesn’t have any allergies, but when Ha-ram slaps a pain-relieving patch on him, his skin immediately welts.
That means he’s a big fat liar, and Ha-ram’s determined to reveal that his revised testimony was false. In doing so, there will be no reason for Man-soo’s mother to kill herself.
Ha-ram bumps into the blind man who had warned her not to lightly mess with other people’s lives. She asks him what he meant by telling her that, and he reveals that he has the same ability she does — he can see the Shadows.
Or, at least, he used to see the Shadows. Before, he was like Ha-ram and tried to save people who he saw with a Shadow. But when he saved the life a pilot by preventing him from committing suicide, the pilot then later committed suicide anyway by causing a plane accident — the same plane accident that Ha-ra had tried to prevent in the very first episode.
After the man realized that everyone on that flight died because he saved the depressed pilot’s life, he stabbed his eyes because he could no longer bear the responsibility of seeing the Shadows. Ha-ram is stunned by this revelation.
Black confirms with Joon’s mother that the boy didn’t have a birthmark on his back. Black stops by the columbarium, wondering whose ashes are in the urn if it isn’t Joon. Black also wonders where Joon’s body really is — then suddenly realizes that Joon might actually still be alive.
I am so happy that the horrible Congressman Kim has been caught and revealed to be the mastermind behind all the deaths. Well, I’m not happy that people were killed and that Soo-wan had to relive the memory of her sexual assault, but I’m glad that we didn’t extend Congressman Kim’s plot longer than necessary. Now that’s been wrapped up, we can focus on the more supernatural mysteries (what the hell is Joseon hiding from Black???) and figure out what really happened to Joon, since we’re definitely on the way to proving that the body in the road wasn’t Joon’s. Although, unlike Black, I don’t believe Joon is still alive, because I’m convinced Black has to be Joon’s missing soul.
I don’t have a good guess about who put the body in the road to make it look like Joon, although I’m thinking it was Creepy Doc since he was in Mujin for the medical conference at that time and was Moo-gang’s mother’s hoobae before becoming her… lover? …or whatever the heck he is to her now. I just don’t see Moo-gang’s mother as being quite so ruthless to be the one to leave a boy’s body on the road like that, and even if he’s not a Reaper in disguise, Creepy Doc definitely knows something.
Even though Soo-wan has mostly felt like an afterthought in this drama (which has been unfortunate, especially since Lee El is such a talented actress), I really respect that Soo-wan was able to find inner strength to help direct the guys to recreate a faithful version of the original tape. I do feel that Soo-wan’s story is somehow over and she now should just move on with her new life in Chicago. But… something about the way she brushed off the interview edit as nothing serious raised red flags. Every detail is important in this show — Black wouldn’t point that edit if it wasn’t going mean something later. I can’t imagine adding too many new mysteries, though, since we do only have two episodes left. It’ll be hard enough to wrap up the mysteries that we still have, unless those episodes are each three hours long (oh, please, no).
I mean, we now have a new case to focus on, which is bringing justice to Man-soo’s mother and her cause of revealing the truth about her son’s death. The key to her case seems to be Senator Nam, since it’s his son who is being accused of molestation and the cause of her son’s suicide. Senator Nam’s son was also caught in a scandal the day Moo-gang died, although I can’t remember exactly what it was about since the first episode feels so long ago, and I’ve had to remember so many things since then. I’m totally fine with Senator Nam being ruined, though, just because it seems like any man in power has a terrible, abusive past.
Although now I’m wondering where Missing-finger has disappeared to. (Missing-finger, by the way, actually has a name: Chen. But it’s sixteen episodes too late for the show to tell me that, so Missing-finger he’ll remain.) He’s got the watch that proves Congressman Kim’s involvement, and even though he seemed relatively loyal to the congressman, I get the feeling he’s only loyal to whomever would pay him the most. There definitely has to be more to Missing-finger, and at this point I’d be happy to wildly speculate he’s a Reaper himself just because he’s always in black and has impressive fighting skills. After all, there are definitely other hidden Reapers out there, because if the blind guy could see the Shadows, then that guys is presumably half-human, half-Reaper, too. How many half-Reaper children are there running around, stressing about all the ways they see people die? There should be a support group where they can donate their old sunglasses and swap tips about the best way to tell a random stranger how they’re going to die.
Much of the joy in this drama has been in the journey and the thrill of gathering up clues, trying to see how everything fits, speculating on what everything means, and waiting to see if theories are correct. But now I think I’m ready to stop speculating and see just what it is this writer has been planning since the very beginning.