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Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 20 (Final)

Goodbye, Goodbye Mr. Black. I can’t say I’ll miss you, or that I’ll think of you, that is, unless you do something wildly horrific to our main characters and make me come back with a new name to hunt you down and get my revenge. But you won’t do that, right? We’ve come too far for you to pull that on me now, right? Why am I nervous? Welp, there’s only one way to find out…

 

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

On trial for murder and waiting for the friend you betrayed to save you—it’s definitely an interesting position that Sun-jae has landed himself in, and he starts to panic when Black doesn’t show up with the evidence they need. He assumes the worst, that Black is dead.

There is a worrisome amount of blood currently pouring out of Black’s head as he lies unconscious on the floor of Sun-jae’s house. Teacher Baek’s henchmen dig out the pen recorder they’re after, and Teacher Baek tells them to make absolutely sure Black is dead and made to disappear without a trace.

They’re just about to haul his body away when trusty sidekick Gye-dong busts in to save him. (Why wasn’t he with you in the first place?) He’s rattled by the sight of Black lying there in a pool of blood and goes ragey on the henchmen, who run when they hear the sirens approaching.

Swan waits and waits for Black to come home so she can give him the ring she bought, but when she calls, it’s Gye-dong who answers with bad news. The ring falls out of her hand and she sits there, stunned and in denial.

But she’s there at the hospital to meet Black as he’s being wheeled into the emergency room, and when she yells at him that he has to keep his promise not to go yet, he opens his eyes just a tiny bit to look at her.

Ji-ryun rushes in behind them and shouts to Black that he’s found evidence to prove that Teacher Baek isn’t the real Baek Eun-do. At that, Black lets his hand drop and his compass falls to the ground. Ji-ryun opens it, and inside he finds a mircro-SD card.

In flashback, we see that Sun-jae had hidden the real pen recording on that SD card, taped to the back of his wedding portrait with Mari. That’s why Black had taken such care to strap his compass onto his hand, since that’s where he put the real SD card. He’d sent a text to Ji-ryun to let him know.

Which means Teacher Baek has the decoy pen recorder. He listens, enraged when he only hears the first line repeated over and over. (Why wouldn’t you leave an exact copy on it so that he thinks he got what he wanted? This show.)

Swan urges Black to keep his promise about returning to their house together, and he’s too weak to talk, but he takes out one last letter from his pocket, now smudged with his blood.

She takes it and puts the wooden compass in his hand, and Black sheds a tear. Swan thinks to herself, “If it’s hard for you, don’t endure and just go. I’ll go to you. Wherever you are, I’ll find you.”

The doctor says they have to operate and prepares everyone for the high probability that Black will die on the operating table. As Black goes into surgery, the long wait begins for everyone else out in the hallway.

Sun-jae’s dad goes to visit Sun-jae in prison and update him on Black heading into surgery. Dad asks how he let things get this bad, and asks what they’re going to do if Black dies like this. Sun-jae breaks down in tears, wailing, “Father, father,” probably for the first time in decades.

As Black’s surgery continues, Swan finally opens the last letter, which we saw him write the other day. He asks her to return the wooden compass if he goes first, since taking back gifts is a petty thing to do.

He names all the people in their lives, and says it’s a good thing that they’re all by Swan’s side when he goes. He asks her to live happily surrounded by good people, and not to come too quickly just because she misses him. He tells her to remember the words spero, spera—that as long as she lives, there is hope.

Black writes, “I’m going to leave smiling, thinking of you. So don’t be in pain. Don’t worry. I’ll always be looking down on you from up above. I’ll keep my eyes wide open like a mommy elephant and protect you. Goodbye. It’s not a farewell, but a greeting that it was nice to meet you. My Swan, become a swan now and fly away. I love you. My love, goodbye. –Mr. Black.”

Things seem to be going badly in the operating room, but Swan doesn’t stick around for the results. She heads home and leaves a drawing on the table, of the night they lit wish lanterns back in Thailand, and then heads out.

Woo-jin and Ji-ryun realize she’s not in the hospital and go looking for her, when Woo-jin’s detective friend calls with news. Woo-jin shouts in a panic, “Swan can’t go there!”

But that’s exactly where Swan goes—to Teacher’s Baek’s house, to confront him with the truth. She asks if he really thought that killing Black was all there was to it, and screams that she’s recovered all of her memories, including the day he killed her parents. Teacher Baek just cackles and says she should’ve run away like she did that day, and says he killed her father because he looked at him with those same judgmental eyes that Swan has right now. Dad opposed his drug trade and tried to prove his corruption, so Teacher Baek killed him.

Swan grits out, “Murderer! People like you shouldn’t be allowed to live in this world!” Teacher Baek looks amused at her threats, and points out that Black can’t protect her anymore. He pulls a gun on her, and she flinches. Teacher Baek says he never should’ve let her live that day. He challenges her to prove that he killed anyone, declaring triumphantly that money will save him in the end.

But Swan gets his attention when she calls him by his real name, Jo Sung-bae. She clenches her teeth and takes out the papers that prove his identity, and declares that he won’t get to touch any of that dirty money he killed to get his hands on—she’ll make sure of that.

He looks alarmed at that and asks for those papers, but Swan just challenges him to go ahead and shoot. She says that she’s not afraid to die because if Black goes, she’s going to follow, and if he lives, he shouldn’t have to live in a world with Teacher Baek in it.

She throws the papers in the air, and Teacher Baek shoots…

In the operating room, the lead surgeon slumps down in defeat, and looks ready to give up on Black…

Swan is lying on the floor, bleeding, and Teacher Baek cackles at her for being dumb enough to risk her life for love. He thinks he’s safe as long as she’s dead, but Swan clamps onto his leg and says he’s a murderer, and she’s the proof.

On cue, the cops bust through the doors and arrest Teacher Baek. This was the plan? This is a terrible plan.

Ji-ryun runs in behind them and holds Swan in his arms, yelling at her for not telling him about this. She thanks him for saving her life back in Thailand, and then as she loses consciousness, she says in voiceover that her life was bright and happy because she met Black.

Swan ends up on the operating table while Black is still in surgery, and she flatlines. Sung-min hurriedly tries to revive her, and in Black’s operating room, we see a tiny movement in his fingers as he clutches the wooden compass in his hand. A moment later, Swan’s heart starts to beat again…

Three months later, Ji-ryun visits Sun-jae in prison and asks if he’s really okay to finish out his trial without a lawyer. Sun-jae doesn’t say a word, so Ji-ryun hands him a letter, saying that it’s Chairman Cha’s last will and testament. He didn’t think Sun-jae or Black would follow it when they were so filled with hate for one another, but he thinks it’s right to give it to Sun-jae now.

As he reads it, we get glimpses of Ji-soo looking at a picture of Black and Swan, and Mari replacing her wedding photo with the one of Chairman Cha’s family before packing up and moving out of the house. In the will, the chairman says he has four children—Ji-soo, Mari, Ji-won, and Sun-jae—and requests that Sunwoo Group be managed by capable people in the company, and that his four children should split his personal assets equally.

Sun-jae breaks down in sobs as he reads this, shamed to realize what he could have had if he’d been less greedy, and how he lost his family because of it.

The final verdict is reached in the trial: Director Nam gets five years in prison, Sun-jae gets ten years, and Teacher Baek is sentenced to life in prison. Sun-jae looks around with a sad smile before getting on the prison bus, and doesn’t see Mari watching from a distance.

Sung-min watches the final verdict on TV and tells Black that it all went well, so he should wake up now. Black is lying in a hospital bed, in a coma since his surgery. Where’s Swan? Don’t tell me she died…

Woo-jin meets his father with tofu as he’s released from prison, and suggests a drink since he has no afternoon drinking buddy anymore.

Ji-soo visits Black and puts both compasses in his hand, and I’m beginning to think they have magical powers, because his hand instantly twitches.

On the prison bus, Sun-jae notices Teacher Baek sneak something from another prisoner. He seems to have ingested something, because a minute later, he’s convulsing and foaming at the mouth. The guards yell to be diverted to the hospital. Nooooo.

Sun-jae’s dad visits him on his first day in prison, but Sun-jae asks him to hurry back out and call Ji-ryun, because Teacher Baek is clearly planning something nefarious. Sure enough, when the doctor comes to check on Teacher Baek, he wakes up and jabs the doctor with a syringe, and then just saunters through the hospital in the doc’s clothes.

Ji-ryun and the detective arrive just a minute too late, and Teacher Baek avoids being seen and manages to slip out to the parking lot, where a henchman is waiting to pick him up. He’s planning to escape to China by boat, and takes a duffel bag with money and a gun. Is it really this easy to escape life imprisonment? Really?

Gye-dong sees the news about Teacher Baek’s escape on TV and goes back up to Black’s hospital room, and is shocked to see him awake and sitting up. Black says nothing at first, so Gye-dong asks hesitantly if he remembers who he is. After a long pause, Black calls him Gye-dong and then asks for Swan.

So Gye-dong takes him to the cemetery, to visit Swan’s ashes. Wait, SHE died and HE lived? What the…?

Gye-dong gives him the last drawing that Swan left for him, and Black sheds tears silently, thinking of her. Sung-min is upset with Gye-dong for bringing Black here as soon as he awoke, and runs inside to go tell Black something important. But by the time they get there, he’s long gone.

Black must’ve learned of Teacher Baek’s escape, because he attacks the last henchman that Baek has and demands to know where he is.

Late that night, Black creeps up to the dock where Teacher Baek’s boat is set to take off, and knocks out the captain before they can leave. He baits Teacher Baek by calling him with his henchman’s phone, and lures him outside when Baek calls back and hears the phone ringing nearby.

Teacher Baek creeps out onto the dock, gun drawn, and comes upon the ringing phone. Black uses that moment to get the jump on him and takes his gun in one swift move, though he doesn’t notice that Teacher Baek has another one stored in his back pocket.

Black asks where Swan is, and Teacher Baek says he killed her for messing with his money, and tells Black to go ahead and pull the trigger to finish his revenge. Teacher Baek cackles maniacally and says Black won’t do it because he doesn’t want Baek going to meet Swan in the afterlife, but Black says he’d go to a different place.

Black says he plans to follow Teacher Baek to the ends of hell just to kill him over and over again, but Teacher is confident that Black isn’t about to become a killer like him. As soon as they hear sirens approaching, Teacher Baek gets down on his knees and pleads for someone to save him, making it clear that if Black were to kill him now, it’d be cold-blooded murder.

It gives Black pause, though he points out that it was Teacher Baek who told him to kill the person who took his father. When Teacher Baek begs for his life, it seems to calm Black down and he begins to lower his gun.

But that’s exactly the moment that Teacher Baek was waiting for, because he reaches behind him and pulls out his other gun. A shot rings out…

Teacher Baek’s gun is smoking, but then we see that Black fired off a shot too—straight into Teacher Baek’s chest. He looks surprised, and then slumps down to the ground. The other bullet must’ve only grazed Black, because blood drips down his arm but he’s still standing.

The detective arrives and sees very clearly that it was self-defense, and tells the others not to arrest Black. The next thing we know, a plane is flying overhead as May tells Sung-min that Black was treated at the hospital and has disappeared again.

He’s gone to his island, of course, back to the house he once shared with Swan and promised to return to someday. His heart breaks to find it empty and looking exactly the way they left it, and he sits on the swing and imagines Swan carving the wooden compass. Imaginary Swan tells him it’s to help him find his way home, and he smiles back and says he came.

He sits there all day until nightfall, sending S.O.S. signals with his flashlight and thinking back to Swan’s warning that she’d call the police if he left without saying anything. He pouts and says now that he’s going to call the cops on her for leaving without notice.

Black wanders down the beach dejectedly, and Swan appears again and draws a line in the sand, reminding him cutely that she’ll kill him if he crosses it. He reaches out his hand to the empty space where he’d imagined her standing, and looks pained as he realizes how much he wants to go to her.

But then, something catches his eye above the water, and he’s startled to see a lighted wish lantern floating up into the sky. It gives him hope and he goes running down the shore, and there’s Swan. I knew she wasn’t really dead! Also, come on, how come he imagined her in those same clothes before he saw her in them, HUH?

Swan wishes for Black’s protection so that he doesn’t lose his way again, and then Black runs up to her. She’s just as surprised as he is, and I love the moment when his breath catches just before he pulls her into a hug.

He clutches her close and says, “Don’t go. Don’t disappear.” He leans in to kiss her, and in voiceover he asks what she wished for that day at the lantern festival years ago. She says she wished for them to meet again, and asks what he wished for. Black answers that he wished for her wish to come true.

Sung-min wakes up from a violent nightmare and says that Black and Swan must’ve reunited. The housekeeper is shocked to hear that Swan is alive, and then we get his flashback that explains why on earth everyone thinks she’s dead.

Swan woke up from surgery with Sung-min and Mari by her bedside, but she’d stopped them from alerting the others that she made it out alive. She wanted to make sure that Teacher Baek would go to prison for murder, and the best way to ensure that was to fake her death.

Hilariously, the thing that Sung-min is up in arms about is not getting the chance to explain all this to Black before he vanished. He’s convinced Black will be back for revenge, and practically has a heart attack when Black calls.

Black wonders why Sung-min won’t answer when he wants to thank him for helping Swan. They’re back in their beach cottage now and he apologizes for leaving her alone, but she says she just came here first, knowing he’d meet her here.

Black starts to lean in close and gets all serious… and then cheekily demands his ring, wondering if she still hasn’t gotten her paycheck. She hands it over and he beams and pulls her down onto the bed.

Mari visits Sun-jae in prison and confesses that she didn’t really like him when she first met him, because she thought he didn’t belong in the same world as her and Black. She admits to leaning on him when she was scared and lonely, and admits how terrible that was.

She guesses that he used her to get back at Black, but Sun-jae admits that he fell in love with her at first sight at the age of ten. He sheds tears as he tells her she can stop coming to visit him, and says he’s crying because he’s sorry.

He says he already sent in divorce papers to be processed, and wishes her happiness. Mari says through tears that she’s always known—despite the lies, his feelings for her were always sincere. She can’t say she’ll wait forever, but she does say she’ll wait, and asks Sun-jae to make sure she doesn’t regret that choice.

One by one, the inner circle gets told that Swan is alive, and Mom is understandably angry with Sung-min for being kept in the dark. Swan and Black return to Korea and ask Mom for permission to marry, and when she argues that Ji-ryun is the oppa and has to marry first, Black counters that he’s Ji-soo’s oppa, and he has to go first. Um, rock-paper-scissors?

Ji-soo is currently ripping Ji-ryun a new one for being lied to about Swan, and he says defensively that he hasn’t known for very long either. She says she’ll have to reconsider their wedding if he’s going to keep secrets, and he’s so flustered that he speaks to her in banmal and argues that he’s much older anyway, so he can do that sometimes. She just finds him cute and shuts him up with a kiss on the cheek.

Black is smitten with Swan and watches her while she sleeps, and meanwhile she has a bizarre dream about being a prisoner somewhere… in the French Revolution, maybe? I don’t know, but Sung-min and Ji-ryun are in wigs and declaring that she has to get married to get out of jail. What is this?

Black agrees to marry her, and they hold a church ceremony between the two prisoners, who don’t even have names, and she’s pretty skeptical about the whole thing until he kisses her on the cheek.

Back in the real world, Black wakes her up on their wedding day, and surprises her with drawings of all their memories together, strung up on clotheslines in the backyard. He says they’ll fill the rest of the blank pages with new memories together, and then asks her to marry him and gives her a ring.

Their friends and family arrive at the chuch and Black comes down to greet them with smiles, but they notice that Woo-jin is missing and wonder if he’s off crying somewhere. Poor Panda!

And then May runs up and says that Swan has disappeared, and the housekeeper thinks she ran off with Woo-jin.

She technically did, but it’s more like she dragged Woo-jin out on a job, because they spotted a celebrity couple in the middle of a proposal. She runs up to them with a recorder, and Black snatches her up for their own wedding.

She asks to run to their wedding, which he takes as a sign that she’s super eager to marry him, since he’s her first and last love. Swan says she liked someone else before him, and takes off running. In an echo of their first meeting, he catches up quickly and they run side by side, and she says brightly, “Cha Ji-won was my first love!”

 
COMMENTS

It’s funny that I would’ve been truly angry if they had killed Black in this last episode, and yet I was still scratching my head over the miraculous surgery that saved his life. I knew it was coming, and still it left me with a vague dissatisfied feeling, like I’d been strung along on all the drama surrounding his terminal condition, when all it would’ve taken was one good surgeon. It’s just indicative of the kind of story that Goodbye Mr. Black was—it had all the trappings of other revenge dramas and terminal illness melodramas, but I never felt like it connected the dots in a way that made me go, “AHA!” or made me care about anyone in a gut, emotional way. The conflicts felt plot-driven rather than character-driven, in a way where things just happened to force characters into situations. It was paint-by-numbers, with every move telegraphed five (or sometimes twenty) episodes in advance.

The repetitive conflict was a symptom of that—the constant boardroom scenes, the feeling that they’d almost caught Teacher Baek about 37,495 times—but in a drama where you’re really inside the characters’ heads and the conflict is actively driven by these people, it hardly matters what setting you’re in (Empire of Gold is an example of a drama that almost never left the boardroom, but was suspenseful anyway). After twenty episodes, I’m a little stunned to realize that very few of the characters changed in significant ways, maybe save for Sun-jae.

That’s not to say that Goodbye Mr. Black didn’t have its merits, because it did turn in some solid episodes towards the end—when the revenge plot that took FIVE YEARS to plan for some godforsaken reason began in earnest, or when the couple actually got some extended time to be happy together. I’ll still contend that I wasn’t present for the moment when they fell in love in the first place, but by the end I believed they were in love. And I was fascinated by Sun-jae from beginning to end, as the one character in this drama whose motivations were realistic, pitiable, and gripping. It probably has everything to do with the way Kim Kang-woo portrayed him, and to the very end I found myself pitying him and hoping he’d turn over a new leaf. I still would’ve preferred it if Mari left him—that should be the consequence of the choices he’s made, but the drama was dead set on giving them another chance.

It’s not even like I can say that an amazing script was hampered by bad directing, because let’s face it—the directing was the biggest problem of this show. Thrills don’t just happen! You have to make them happen! But the writing was just as elementary, and took a classic Count of Monte Cristo revenge tale and found ways to strip it of tension and narrative surprise. What drew me in was the promise of betrayal and satisfying revenge with secret identities and twisty capers, but we mostly spent our time on the ONE murder case with ONE key piece of evidence that could’ve been revealed at any point. Disappointing, that. On the other hand, I did like Swan’s storyline with Teacher Baek, and found her revenge more interesting than our hero’s. Maybe she just had the upper hand because we didn’t see her plotting it for nineteen episodes.

I wish for the cast’s sake that the writing and directing had been better, because by the end I did grow fond of cheeky Mr. Black and spunky reporter Swan, and I did love all the side characters, especially jealous Sung-min and sweet oppa Ji-ryun. I never felt sizzling chemistry with Black and Swan to be honest, but I ended up enjoying their romance later in the story, and after all the suffering they’d endured, it felt like the universe just granted them a happy ending. I’m just going to go with that and not ask other questions, like how everyone in this drama changes their identity at the drop of a hat and wanders about freely and never gets caught. Maybe they’re now named Duck and Mr. Green. Maybe it doesn’t matter because the show is now over. Maybe that’s the happiest ending of all.

 
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I wanted to know how exactly she got away with faking her death. Then I realized, wait nope... I don't care.

This is a show I was initially really excited about- but didn't end up enjoying. Conversely, I was not enthusiastic at all about Marriage Contract and ended up absolutely loving it.

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Same here

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For me it was the opposite. Marriage contract and Goodbye Mr. Black I found the 2 dramas a bit boring the first 3 episodes. I dropped MC and I tried the 4th ep for GMB and I started to find it really interesting in the middle after they returned to Korea. I did not regret: GMB is THE 2016 drama for me actually

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i dropped both tbh

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I knew it that he wouldn't die...
Well, tbh I would be happier to see sad ending than this fairy-tales happy ending. I would be happier if he or she died..

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Okay. Let's now move on to Lucky Romance. Thank you for finally ending. Goodbye Mr. Black. You will never be missed.

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Oh no! Not lucky romance. The lead actress always has the same acting. I would believe she is playing the same role in all her dramas

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I hope she won't raise her voice. I can't stand the high pitch.

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I don't mind as long as there's chemistry.

Actually I'm one of those viewers who are purely watching to see Ryu Sun Yeol end up with someone. We didn't get a chance to see JH live on in the present day :(

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The role in Secret is pretty different , well for me at least.

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Ok, I feel I should already know this by now, for enough mentions have been made in passing by each of the Dramabeans editors at some point or other, but..

...sometimes I can't really differentiate between poor directing and poor production, and poor directing vs poor writing. What constitutes what? Poor writing seems self-explanatory, but I could be wrong. I assume the writing/writer is responsible for how the entire story is told, plot development, the dialogue, but when, say, one of you (DB editors) says of Goodbye, Mr. Black, that is was/is "written poorly," is that usually in response to the (unnatural?) dialogue, the fact that Y happened after Z and not vice versa, or a poorly timed reveal (or none at all), or an unfunny funny moment, or...does it all depend on which scene, etc., we're referring to?

What's an example of good writing paired with poor directing? Things flow in the order one feels they should, but the actors look funny, or are made to do illogical things? HeadsNo2 commented on an ending shot of General Lee Seong-gye at the end of one of Six Flying Dragon's episodes, on how the actor looked directly into the camera, as if looking at the viewers. It was a disruptive shot, but that would've been the director's call, or the writer's call?

Sorry, this probably belongs to an OT discussion, but reading Girlfriday's ending comments on here just reminded me of these "burning" questions of mine..

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I'd love to hear GF's take on this, but in a nutshell: the writer is responsible for the words the characters say. The director (and production team) is responsible for almost everything else. Camera angles, lighting, the editing of scenes (the order in which we see images and hear sounds), even the style of performance the actors give.

The writer produces dialogue. The director takes the writer's dialogue and decides what to emphasize. The same script could feel like horror or comedy depending on how the director films it. So in your example from Six Flying Dragons, that was a director's choice.

Because the director has so much power, there's a lot of overlap between poor writing and poor directing. The director usually edits scenes and sequences so they aren't in their original order. (You can see this if you compare the shooting script of a Hollywood movie to the finished product.) The director also makes choices about what lines or scenes to cut, or whether to ask the writer for another scene to clarify something. Good directors will also find ways to clarify things without adding dialogue--inserting a shot of the hero/heroine seeing something significant, for instance.

Video and film is visual. Even though it seems like the "story" is made of words, the visual stuff creates most of the mood and meaning. A great director can work with a poor script and still keep it interesting. But a great script can be ruined by poor directing.

Good writing with poor directing results in interesting characters and conflicts, but a slow pace (boring) or an overly fast pace (confusing), or a mess (too many interesting characters competing with each other for attention). It's hard for me to think of examples off hand, since no one wants to watch shows with poor directing!

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P.S. In the case of Goodbye Mr. Black, it's poor writing combined with poor directing! The dialogue doesn't tell us much about the characters thoughts and feelings. Instead, the dialogue is exposition--characters exchanging information.

"Mari, I can't believe you didn't wait for me," is just telling us something we already know. It doesn't give us any new understanding of how Black is dealing with things, except to tell us his character is NOT moving on. Another thing we can blame on the writer: the events of the plot moving so slowly, and the plot itself being kinda lame. (And how can you screw up Dumas, I'd like to know?)

But the director is to blame for the fact that GMB also isn't really very interesting to look at and that we jump from scene to scene without much idea where we're going. The script wasn't great, but arguably a great director could have given us a sense that Black's revenge matters. Or at least could have made the revenge pretty to watch.

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I agree about the writing. Stuff went by really slowly, no believable build up of tension, plot points that don't really connect, totally predictable, etc. Stuff just happened on screen while I sit totally detached from everything. The directing seemed fine, though maybe it's just not as important to me. Too disappointed by the plot.

Funny how LJW did a different Dumas adaptation not too long ago which turned out quite a bit better in terms of story and directing (though not commercial success).

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@Odessa Jones--

Thanks so much for your explanation... I guess it's with enough experience that a critic can say with certainty that, "In such and such instance, it's the director's fault rather than the writer's." Or, vice versa. Oftentimes, I can't tell which, since we're not privy to the stuff that happens behind the scenes. If a director shuffles the scenes the writer initially sequenced, and then asks the writer to replenish some dialogue, etc., and the result feels off, how are we to know who's responsible for what? Or, if there was any improvement from the change?

"Signal" was the most recent show I finished, and everything/everyone--i.e., the director(s), producer(s), writer(s)--was lauded... I believe everyone must've done a great job (meaning I can't say for sure who should be given the MOST credit for the success of it), cos the drama made a lot of sense to me--I was never lost despite the at-times complicated course of events and jumps back in time. Compared to "Nine: Nine Time Travels" (interestingly enough, another Lee Jin Wook drama), which is kinda similar in that the lead in the present day could alter past/future events, I think "Signal" was smoother, less disruptive, better acted, tonally spot-on. Whereas "Nine" kept jolting me around. Well, as far as my memory serves, since it's been awhile since I watched "Nine."

It'd be interesting to hear your take on other revenge dramas compared to Goodbye, Mr. Black. I also finished watching "Nirvana In Fire" recently, and it IS Dumas executed, in my opinion, excellently..

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Ok, one other thing I remembered just now from someone's comment below about illogical endings in DOTS..cos I watched about 3 episodes of "Descendants of the Sun," and...what made me stop watching, among other things, was the silly-ish, banal DIALOGUE.

I remember a scene where the two leads are sitting in a cafe in Korea and talking, then another scene at another cafe in [wherever it was in the Middle East they were both posted] and talking, both times discussing their relationship.. And, sure, it felt REAL cos I recall the guy asking his doctor crush what her future plans were, and she told him she had always eyed a different position, etc., etc.... And, so yeah, this sort of conversation happens in real life ALL THE TIME...but it SO didn't work on screen (= was SO boring to listen to and watch).

Anyway, at least I can say with 100% certainty re: the above example that I know it was the writing that made me drop the drama.

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It's true, dialogue that is "realistic" isn't necessarily good. The most interesting dialogue is often stuff no one would say in real life.

I didn't find Nine too confusing, perhaps because Park Hyung Shik and Lee Jin Wook are so distinctive looking. (And they are both so darn likeable!) But it's not flawless, and a time travel show lives or dies on good editing. With bad editing it's totally confusing!

Signal was superior to almost everything else I've ever seen out of Korea. I think it was tied for quality with last year's Secret Love Affair--the kind of show I wish we could nominate for an Emmy.

I never thought revenge could make a good story till I started watching K-dramas. (My fave Dumas has always been 3 Musketeers, not Count of MC.) City Hunter was the show that made me realize revenge could be fascinating. Then Innocent Man/Nice Guy really got me with its double revenge narrative. So gothic, so good. And from the department of obscure dramas, I like Ji Sung's revenge drama Swallow the Sun--it has flaws but it's very entertaining, and it's straight out of the pages of Alexandre Dumas (with a bit of Percival Christopher Wren on the side). Very picaresque, lots of good characters, and lots of Fateful Coincidences. And like every K-drama actor EVER is in it. (Jeon Kwang-Ryeol plays the bad guy of course!)

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This is one of those dramas, when it had so much potential in the beginning but end up......

Perfect castings, but poor direction / production. This should ended at epi 16, not 20.

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When I saw the recap for episode 15, I was relieved that the next week, I'd have a new drama to look forward. Then I saw the recap for episode 16 had no (final) in the title.
Then the next week I saw episode 17 and was relieved once again that GMB would end. Except episode 18 also had no (final). Thank god though, that GMB was only 20 episodes and not 24.

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Nine set such a high bar that almost everything Lee Jin Wook picked after that seemed like a bad idea to me. First few episodes were fine but after he came back from the dead, the plot went to shit. Not too many good writers out there I guess.

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I agree, but Three Musketeers was pretty palatable.

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Yeah Nine and Three Musketeers were quality dramas. Coincidentally both had the same production team...

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Loved THREE MUSKETEERS. NINE is one of my all time favorites.

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So true..

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There are some good writers, but they all seem to be working for tvN.

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Thanks for the recap and sticking it out with us, Girlfriday!!

Although, I do have to ask: How much of a drama's storyline/plot/character development is actually written by the scriptwriter, and how much of it is in the hands of the PD? Because yea, "Goodbye, Mr. Black" had me scratching my head three-fourths of the time over it's development XD

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I'm laughing so much at the ??? happening and imagining your reaction to it. Thanks for recapping it. I'm glad for your and jb's sake that it's done. But I can't hate the show completely, since it gave us Blue Panda. :D

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Dark Blue Panda. Don't forget the "Dark" :)

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You know, sometimes I think that I can never be satisfied with the endings of shows like this. I watch them hoping that the characters will live and then being dissatisfied and annoyed when they (illogically) do, or getting angry and upset if they kill them off.

In this case, I feel like it would have been better if they had both died during surgery. If it was possible for him to come through that surgery with apparently NO side effects after he had let his condition go on for so long and worsen that much, then surely the surgery required when they first discovered it YEARS ago shouldn't have had such a high risk???

My other main issue with this episode is that Black killed Baek Eun-Do, then appears to not think about it again. Yes it was self-defence, but shouldn't he still have to come to terms with the fact that he killed another human being?

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Thanks for the recap! I was trying to decide whether to keep watching past episode 7. You've just saved me 13 hours of my life.

I can't believe how many times I said WTF while reading this recap. Truly a finale to remember! Or to forget as quickly as possible. Thanks for bearing with it for our sakes!

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Goodbye . You wont be missed.

Now finally LR can air!!!!!!!!!!

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What a classic adaptation gone to waste.

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I was so mad they ruined my favorite book. When the first time the news of adaptation came out, I was the one who against Lee Jin Wook. No offense but I already imagine Black is someone with strong alpha aura and charisma that I never found in him. I was expecting Kim Nam Gil, Joo Won or Kim Rae Won.

Such a waste of Kim Kang Woo.

Anyway, it is already finished. Goodbye Mr. black. Goodbye..

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Well, for me the ruin of this drama not because of LJW, it is because on how the story was written. Even with A-listed actor cannot save the drama from failure, with this type of story.

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Of course i got what you mean. ;) what I meant is this drama really wasted solid acting and it is the biggest regret. I cannot imagine how much regret I will have if KRW in this drama.

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I never found Lee Jin Wook has strong screen presence. He always could be overshadowed by everyone even from supporting characters, such as Song Jae Rim in this series. The worst thing is, he always paired up with strong female leads like Ha Ji Won and Moon Chae Won. Such a waste of them.

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I think Lee Jin-wook can be compelling in the right role and with the right director on board. This just wasn't it for him.

Moon Chae-won was better in the earlier episodes. She kind of wilted once the story moved to back to Seoul.

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SJR's character may outsmart Black in the earlier episodes, but he definitely did not overshadow LJW. LJW had acted along other famous actresses previously, such as Bae Doo Na, Kim Hee Sun, Chae Rim, Choi Ji Woo, so he deserved to be paired with HJW & MCW now. I, however find these 2 actress overshadowed by LJW in their respective dramas..... If only the writing of these dramas could be better.

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thanks for the recap..i thought they can make the ending much better but since the main otp didnt die, im just satisfy with this ending..its funny and cute at the same time..

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Was laughing at the cheesiness & absurdity of the first 30 minutes of the final episode. I find secondary characters like Sun-jae & Mari more compelling which is kind of sad because I followed this show for Lee Jin-wook and Moon Chae-won. Oh wells. On board new shows! :)

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The cheesiness in GMB can't beat the cheesiness in DOTs but I think more cheesy a drama is, more knetizens like it.

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I had that idea that Black will die since the title itself says Goodbye Mr.black. However while watching ep 20 i burst into tears because i want him to survive. i mean everyone wished for a happy ending. I was caught off guard when black came running to swan in the beach and she was living well. ep 20 was a bomb. i like the ending though and i loved their characters.
i guess the revenge part wasn't well planned and black ends up beaten .However i salute the actors for their dedication to give us a good drama. i noticed jiwon's ear movement and i end up laughing.
the villains were real badass and they convinced me how cruel they can get.
i will miss this drama and ost especiallby su jung pae.
another thing i thought that black would die because they had so many scenes together in the previous episode. i was yelling don't die black and i was so happy that they finally lived their happily ever after.

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LOL, I laughed seeing how Black got out of that aneurysm situation. It's just so absurd. I wouldn't have minded if he'd died in a logical manner, but that's probably too much to ask for in this drama.

Baek Eun-do is such a lousy and boring villain. Pity the drama didn't spend more time on the ex-best friends and build that relationship properly. I wanted to see more Black and Sun-jae face-offs. Ah well.

Thanks again for the recaps!

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I don't know if I should laugh at all the illogical things that happened at the end.
Anyway, to me the best thing of this show is definitely Kim Kang-woo. I've always loved the guy and I think he didn't disappoint. His portrayal of Sun-jae is so real that at the end of everything, I just wanted him to become good again and gain some happiness. I'm glad that the writer gave him and Mari a second chance.

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and no drama can beat the illogical survival of the lead actor in dots. It was everyway impossible to survive

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I am happy with the sweet ending, I feel LJW is the most perfect Mr.Black with MCW as Swan really have a strong chems, love you Black Swan, , This drama will be in my heart 4ever...

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Oh, GirlFriday - you made me chuckle all the way through your final comments!!! I admit I gave up in episode 8 - it was just so bad. And I felt sorry for you stuck in recapping it. But I happily read the recaps as the weeks went on, hoping for some glimmer of hope that the drama had suddenly gotten better and I'd better finish watching - or else. NOPE!
And by the way, the reader above who said they gave up on Marriage Contract really missed something wonderful. Now, THAT's a show worth finishing.
On to better things after this weird, long one or two months of drama wasteland. It's funny how it seems to flow like that - like the inexplicable way traffic slows to a stop on the freeway in waves and you can never figure out why.

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Agreed! Marriage Contact with a gem to watch, from start to finish.
I was forced to watch the last few episodes of GMB with my sister and couldn't ignore the failings of this drama. Smh. When i can predict the basic plot down to the actor's lines... yikes. Seems nothing beats the original Count of Monte Cristo.

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I don't know if the reader you are saying is me, since I gave up marriage contract. But what if I tell you the same thing? That you said you gave up Goodbye mr black on ep8 and you really missed something wonderful?

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Only one thing to say ," Goodbye , Mr black" ;)

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Oh dear, I absolutely tried to watch this drama beyond episode 17, and I found that I couldn't. I didn't care enough about the characters or the plot which bordered on the ridiculous, to invest another three hours watching it. So I came to read the recaps on the final episode to see how things ended up.

Kudos to Javabeans and GirlFriday for sticking with this drama.

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So many things to say about this drama and not in a good way. And I just have to let all out because it really is bothering me and I think I have to let it out of my system, after all I did painfully watched all the 20 episodes (by the way the story could have been tolled perfectly in 16 episodes)

This drama was such a disappointment, because when they said it was a Conde de Mote Cristo kind of story, I was hopping this to be some awesome revenge drama, but instead we got blah! Also when they said they'll have a "marriage contract" kind of relationship I got excited because I'm such a fan of those dramas. I thought that they'll have to fake the marriage in order for Black to get his revenge or fake his identity or something like that but that it will help in his revenge plan. But until now I'm wondering where is the fake marriage?? It is suppose to be the one at the beginning in the island for about 2 episodes, where the only one that knew about it was the old lady that stole their hens???

This last episode was such a nightmare for me for me it was like a 2hour episode!! It was so slow and pointless. That last escape of Teacher Baek, was just meaningless and only for the sake for filling time of the episode because they clearly had no more plot.

I don't get why they had to fake Swan's death in order to get teacher Baek in jail. Didn't they finally get the recording they were searching for about the entire drama that was supposed to be the decisive evidence that will prove he is a murderers and imprison him for life?? If at the end they had to fake evidence for taking him down, then what was the purpose of searching for the real evidence? Couldn't they manufacture the evidence from the beginning??
(I do understand why Sung Jae didn't leave the original recording on the pen to make him believe he got what he wanted, and that's because Sung Jae didn't know who was going to get the pen and if anyone but teacher Baek got the pen then he'll be screwed that's why he only leave that phrase, because it was only a decoy)

Also I don't know if it's just me but I don't get the timeline of the jail imprisonment. For Woo Jin's dad he was supposed to get 2 years, but we saw when Woo Jin went to receive him, but at that time teacher Baek and Sung Jae where about to enter prison, so what their trial lasted 2 years?? It doesn't make any sense to me.

Other thing I don't get is how was Swan able to go to Thailand and back to Korea when she was supposed to be death, did she used a fake passport like in the old days??

Finally I have to say that the Kang Woo was the best thing in this drama, his acting was great and his character was the only one that made sense through out the drama. So thank you Kang Woo for giving your all in this drama, you were the ray of light in this darkness of drama.

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Moon Chae Won has two identities in the drama. The one who died was Baek Eun Jung. Kim Swan, the reporter for Panda is alive and well. The fact that Baek Eun Do's name was used by Jo Sung Bae who's the real murderer, Swan pretended to act as his daughter to help Black. When she regained her memories, she learned that Baek Eun Do, aka Jo Sung Bae, actually killed both her parents and used her father's name to gain wealth and power. With all the Baek family members dead, then Jo Sung Bae, aka Baek Eun Do, went to jail.

Jail sentences to me is not so questionable anymore. Different countries of the world have different punishments for crimes one may commit. Timelines also differ depending on what happens after a trial whether there's a plea for reconsideration or request for retrial.

Anyway, Goobye, Mr. Black! is a drama. It doesn't require too much thinking to enjoy it. If one is trying to really make sense out of it, it rubs one of truly enjoying the whole story.

My five cents...

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One of those dramas where at the end you think.. Why the hell did I waste time watching this? I am a sucker for revenge plots, but this was one of the worst ever.

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this is a good drama witth,beautiful ending, thanks for the recap!

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Hahahahahahahaha

it was beyond belief, even though it had happy ending.
Thanks for the recap!

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Duck and Mr. Green.

Huh. Somehow, I feel, if these were their names, I would have never stopped watching...

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This was a beautiful drama. Thank you.

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Thank you for completing the recap of this drama. Halfway thru this episode, I thought I was watching another drama! Everything suddenly became so fairy-tale like... I was stunned too seeing Black meeting the real Swan in the same clothes that he imagined her in the previous scenes. Can't they change her clothes! It's a happy ending but everything feels just so out of place. I can't agree more that this is LJW's 2nd drama failure. It's not about his acting, it's the script and it's been 2 years in a row. I have watched some of his older dramas in the early years and I find him a decent actor with good looks. It's a pity that he got such bad dramas lately. Hopefully there will be a 3rd time he will work together with the Nine team. He's just amazing when he's working with this team!

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It wasn't the worst drama ever, it had some good points, also some bad ones. But what pisses me off the most is how they wasted such cast in at best mediocre drama. This is a sin I cannot forgive.

P.S On the screen where there are patients' names in surgery, there are the names of our main cast, only changed up a little (Kim Jin-wook, Yoo Chae-won). Such a cute detail. Am I the only one who noticed?

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I wanted to say thank you to you JB and GF for finishing the recaps.

The pacing remained heavy. The lines corny. And I am surprised to say even MCW looked and sounded stodgy.

And ergh the plot and scene jumps so abrupt. Never felt the tenseness and suspense in this drama. Even the confrontation scenes were so contrived. It wasn't a drama I particularly looked forward to but I have been surprised in other dramas. Pleasantly surprised to happily addicted. This hasn't been the worst. Hyde, Jekyll and I took the cake. But it surely was one major disappointment. How did the writer ruin such a great cast? Although the PD had something to contribute as well. Boring as heck directing.

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I wouldn't have been too mad either if they had killed the lead character(s) in in the end to meet its premise as a dark revenge drama but maybe we've shed too many tears & broken too many hearts in the previous dramas since long time ago so now is time for one more happy ending.

The scenes of Swan's dream jail forced wedding looked like someone had made a Freudian slip and then decided to go all out for it.

Nonetheless I enjoyed this drama (and the recaps. Thank you!). I'm moving on, maybe to Another Oh Hae Young. I've read that it's been receiving lots of love?

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I love this drama, I love Lee Jin Wook.. But somehow I would prefer Mr Black to die at the end instead of the happily ever after ending.

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@prettysup, agree with u , i also prefer Mr.Black to die at the end, it will be very tragic, but surely will make this drama more loved and popular :-P

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The only thing i will remember from this drama is real relationship between MCW and LJW other than that i wasted my time watch this crap.

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SO FAR THIS IS MY BEST FAVORITE DRAMA IN 2016!

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Thank you, gf and jb! You are the true heroes here, you endured many hardships but never gave up on recaps.
The final scene and the backyard scene were very well acted and sort of inspired but did they really, really fit into this genre? Swan's dream was a comic interlude that probably made a somewhat connection with the original work (the era, the clothes, the wings were so funny) but did it actually made any sense? I hate nagging because, tbh I have a high tolerance for TV shows whether they're good or awful and since I've watched so many of them from so many countries kdramas are really short for my patience, buuut...I was watching a different show inside my head right from ep. 5 on and it was not this drama, unfortunately.
It's obvious that the actors did their best with the script they were given. The prison scenes made the most sense in a revenge-plot story, the hospital scenes as well as the medical conditions were simply laughable, the psychotic evil was more cartoon-ish than a true villain, the aces up Mr. Black's sleeve were most of the times so random for someone who was supposed to have calculated everything carefully for such a long time...well, everything's pretty much said by you, ladies.
So, was it a good show or not? I think that whenever a story can be told from each character's point of view at any given time that's by definition an epic story. And this one, with a few adjustments, could have been the ex- bff's story, the blind's sister story, the ex-fiance's story, Teacher Baek's story (and how he survived during the tsunami days under a name he actually usurped) and of course Swan's.
But Mr. Black's story is the one I'd have loved to watch and by that I mean the original work. Too bad the writer didn't read(?) it, MBC wasn't ready for DoTS's phenomenal success (is that the reason why the PPLs became too "painful" the last couple of weeks? The waterproof Samsung was the peak!) and the PD got bored after the shots in Thailand, otherwise this drama was meant to be a masterpiece.
Goodbye, Mr Black!

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good bye mr.black, ljw acting is so awful painful too watch and i really hate that kind of man who has voice likes him yikes please don't come back in 2017 with my favourite actors/actress in yor next drama, bcz i can't stand your actings!!!

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Aww... this is so mean. I bet you have the nicest voice on earth then!

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I don't really like his actings, but your comments are too harsh.

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each person with different opinions, I personally really like Lee Jin Wook's look and acting, he makes me love watching K dramas which I was nvr interested before.
For me,his expressions are never wooden, but he got many different facial expressions that fit with the scenes and his roles.
I always hope he comeback soon with his new dramas ,no matter who is his female lead, he always makes the drama good to watch and good chemistry with all his female leads..

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+ 1

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THIS IS LITERALLY THE WORST DRAMA I'VE EVER WATCHED. and i've watched a lot of bad dramas before. but this really tops the list.

NOTHING makes sense! i know i've learned that sometimes dramas dont make sense, but this REALLY does not make sense! i've just been taking it with a grain of salt, but this last episode made me roll my eyes and laugh out loud more times than i can count.

first of all, why did swan run off to confront baek eun do?? like i know she has evidence and i know that black is lying there unconscious and shes emotional, but SERIOUSLY? how does that even make sense?? like if you have evidence dont you want to prove it to the authorities first?? why would you confront the baddie and know that you're prolly going to die??

and dont get me started about baek eun do's friggen ANNOYING laugh and screams. i can tell the actor is really trying to get into character, but seriously. stop it. when he's trying to be evil i actually laugh.

and omg that scene when swan got shot, the next second her brother is yelling for people to help them, and then the camera zooms out and the door is closed and nobody is there. where did all the police go?? did they not notice a girl bleeding on the floor?? and her brother screaming?? thats literally the worst staging of a scene ever.

and when black woke up from a coma....seriously?? thats how the writer wanted to write that scene? he's sitting half up in bed and looks and feels perfectly fine? even though he's been in a coma for 3 months he can still somehow get discharged from the hospital and visit swan's shrine? AND even though he's been in a coma for 3 months he can still somehow kick and fight? HAH. yeah right. if someones been in a coma for 3 months, forget about fighting, let alone friggen walking!

and how the hell did black find baek eun do's last minion literally 5 minutes after he has woken up from a coma? he just so happened to run into the minion when he doesnt even have a friggen cell phone on him? THIS WHOLE EPISODE DID NOT MAKE SENSE. LIKE THE WRITING AND SCENES WERE JUST SO POORLY LAID OUT.

and we're going to end this drama with the girl running saying that black is her first love? and OMG swan's wedding dress was ridiculously ugly...i know people have commented on swan's fashion during this drama, but yeah. what is her stylist thinking??

i usually dont complain much but SERIOUSLY. oh god. i really really wanted to love this drama from the beginning (revenge, epic love, whats not to like?) but no. seriously. no.

end of rant.

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GOODBYE MR.BLACK is my best favourite K drama so far!
LJW n MCW , hope you both win best couple award! you both really sweet ! good chemistry!

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the ending was great nice job

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Thanks for the recap. I kind of got tired of watching after Ep10 and just wanted to see how it ended.

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