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Black: Episode 7

Butterfly watch, butterfly watch, who’s got the butterfly watch? Tracking down the owner of the butterfly watch could mean the difference between life and death, but it’s no easy task when Ha-ram’s human instinct to save lives comes up against Black’s otherworldly determination to make sure those who are fated to die fulfill their destiny.

 
EPISODE 7 RECAP

 

Black is stabbed and thrown off the bridge, where he sinks and drowns. Except instead of escaping Moo-gang’s body, Black realizes he’s still trapped inside. He reappears at the Halloween party (presumably due to teleportation, since he ends up in the bathroom), where he yanks out the knife in his gut.

Ha-ram, worried about finding the party-goer with the Shadow, discovers Black in the bathroom. He locks her out as he tries to regain his composure, suffering through what should be a fatal wound. She tells him the Shadow she just encountered doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Leo, but because she couldn’t see the face in the vision, she doesn’t know who will die.

Man-soo watches as Black and Ha-ram run out of the party. I’d say he’s green with envy, but it could be just the makeup. He definitely starts to drink a lot more after they leave, telling himself that he was foolish to think Ha-ram was his type.

When Ha-ram gets home, she also has to shake off the sadness from seeing Soo-wan kiss Black. She tries to focus on who might have had a Shadow.

Black’s got his own problems, though, and tells Joseon and Hip-hop that he can’t get out of Moo-gang’s body. Moo-gang should have died again tonight, but because Black is still trapped inside, the body healed from the stab wound.

Since Reapers should be able to come and go from bodies at will, Black tries to force his way out of Moo-gang’s body, but all it does is make him look constipated. He’s stuck.

Joseon admits he hasn’t seen anything like this before, but at least once of their concerns is resolved. As long as Black is inhabiting Moo-gang’s body, it can’t die. That means Black can continue to use Moo-gang’s body indefinitely, no matter how many times somebody tries to kill him. Well, that’s reassuring.

 

Soo-wan is chained up in an abandoned building, and she hears the missing-finger man apologize to someone about killing Moo-gang, since “that jerk” won’t let it slide.

In the morning, the missing-finger man is irate that no one has been able to find Moo-gang’s body in the river. But he catches a glimpse of Black through his telescope, leaving Moo-gang’s home. The missing-finger man’s eyes grow wide with shock as he realizes that Black is still alive.

Black is annoyed that he isn’t able to teleport (and worried that this means he’s really becoming more human, just like Joseon warned would happen). He grumbles that he’ll have to actually walk to Ha-ram’s house, but then discovers Moo-gang’s car keys in his pocket. Bingo.

Black is confident that he can drive, especially since he’s spent so much time in cars waiting to reap souls who were going to die in traffic accidents. He’s baffled by the keyless start, but somehow manages to get the car running — only to smash into other cars as he tries to get out of the parking spot. Ha!

Man-soo’s passed out from drinking too much at the party, but wakes up when the hospital calls, concerned that his father’s taken a turn for the worse. As he hurries out, we see a broken game console and blood splatter on the bed’s headboard. Uh-oh.

Man-soo calls Ha-ram to meet him at the hospital to confirm if his father really is going to die soon. As Ha-ram hurries into the hospital, she bumps into the estranged husband of the woman dying in her mother’s ward — he now has a Shadow on his back. Ha-ram has a vision of the husband dying by being stabbed in the stomach, but the man stabbing him is wearing the butterfly watch.

Unfortunately for Man-soo, Ha-ram sees a Shadow on his father. Man-ho bursts into the room, demanding to know what they’re doing there, and Ha-ram stumbles, accidentally touches the Shadow. In her vision, she sees the man with the butterfly watch removing Man-soo’s father’s oxygen respirator.

Ha-ram wonders if the same person who will kill the woman’s husband will kill Man-soo’s father, but before she can say anything, Moo-gang’s mother — Man-soo’s father’s primary physician — arrives to encourage Man-soo to wait and see what happens.

 

Just then one of the other doctors (who I originally thought was an administrator, but apparently not) gives Moo-gang’s mother Soo-wan’s resignation letter that was found on her desk. Moo-gang’s mother tries to call her, but Soo-wan’s phone is turned off.

Ha-ram hurries to her mother’s ward, asking about the woman’s husband. Even though no one will give her any information, she at least learns the woman’s name, Kim Soo-hee. She calls Black to ask him to go to the hospital, since the hospital will give information out for official police purposes even if they won’t give them to her.

Black’s just annoyed that he managed to make it all the way to Ha-ram’s house and will now have to drive to the hospital. Considering how scraped up the car is, it can’t have been an easy drive for him, and struggles to leave Ha-ram’s tiny alley.

 

Ha-ram tells Man-soo about the man with the butterfly watch. Ha-ram suggests they catch the butterfly watch killer before he stabs Soo-hee’s husband, and that way they can save Man-soo’s father.

Black finally arrives at the hospital. Ooooh, I detect some jealousy as he watches Ha-ram put her arm on Man-soo, reassuring Man-soo everything will be okay. Black drags her to where he — with his detective authority — has found out where Soo-hee’s husband has been living.

There’s no one in the tiny room, so Black and Ha-ram look around. Ha-ram finds news clippings and photos of the Mujin store collapse — the same kind of clippings that were on Moo-gang’s wall. She recognizes the photo of a middle-school boy standing between Soo-hee and her husband. It’s Seung-chun, one of Joon’s friends who offered to watch over Ha-ram after Joon moved away.

In a flashback, we see that Seung-chun seems super nice and sweet as he reminds Ha-ram that Joon told her not to wear her sunglasses, but when he takes them off for her, she sees nearly every middle-school student — including Seung-chun — with a Shadow on their back. She pleads with Seung-chun not to go anywhere after school.

Current-day Ha-ram dazedly stares at the photograph, blaming herself for being too young back then and not stopping Seung-chun from going to the mall. She shows the photo to Black, explaining that was his (Joon’s) best friend back then, and that he and hundreds of others died when the new Mujin mall collapsed.

 

Even though there was suspicion of construction corruption, the case into the collapse was closed when the building owner, Woo Byung-shik, tried to flee the country. Instead, he got into a car accident that killed him, burning his body beyond recognition.

Ha-ram isn’t the only one who feels guilty about Seung-chun’s death, because he actually told his parents that the “young fortune teller” said he shouldn’t go to the mall that day. But his parents dismissed his concern and forced him to go, insisting he should have fun with his friends.

Back then, they were so poor that Soo-hee had pawned her gold ring to get money so that Seung-chun could enjoy being with his friend while she and her husband went to a prayer retreat to help cure her sickness. Soo-hee reassured Seung-chun that she’d buy the ring back once she felt better and could go back to work.

 

But by the time Soo-hee and her husband returned from the prayer retreat, the mall had collapsed and the rescue team were days into searching for survivors. Soo-hee and her husband were relieved that their son’s name wasn’t on the list of those who were killed, but he wasn’t on the “found” list, either.

At least, not until a rescue worker handed them a cooler, asking if they can identify their son’s hand that was found in the rubble — which was wearing the ring Soo-hee pawned, because he bought it to return to her. Soo-hee broke down sobbing, realizing her son is dead.

Black and Ha-arm stop by the head of the Mujin mall protesters, Pastor Kang. Even though the collapse happened twenty years ago, there are still loyal protesters fighting against the injustice.

 

Pastor Kang explains that Seung-chun’s father, Park Soon-nam, used to be a part of the protests, but ever since Soo-hee accepted the settlement from the construction company to stop protesting, which made the other protesters feel betrayed, Soon-nam was no longer welcome.

Black “accidentally” drops his cup of tea on Pastor Kang’s foot, and as the man takes off his wet shoe and leaves to clean up the mess, Black points out that Pastor Kang’s shoe matches the tread mark they saw on Soon-nam’s blanket.

He also points out that Pastor Kang has the same photo in his office that’s hanging up in Royal Hospital. It looks like Royal Group made a donation to protesters. When Ha-ram asks Pastor Kang if he’s seen Soon-nam recently, Pastor Kang innocently says he hasn’t, but he’s curious if she has. Hmmmm, suspicious.

 

Ha-ram alerts Man-soo about Pastor Kang, but Man-soo already knows who Pastor Kang is. Ever since Man-soo’s father became sick, Pastor Kang has been visiting regularly to pray for him. Man-soo agrees to look into him anyway.

At Royal Insurance, Man-ho asks about a file, and is reassured that the original has been locked up. Man-soo bursts into the office, wondering if Man-ho knows anything about Pastor Kang. Man-ho scoffs that Pastor Kang is just a greedy fraud, only concerned about money. Man-ho told Pastor Kang that he’d think about giving them more money after his father died.

After Man-soo leaves, Man-ho listens to an audio recording of his father’s last will, whereing he leaves the entirety of Royal Group to Man-soo. That does not please Man-ho.

Black is just as terrible a driver as you’d imagine. Ha-ram clutches the grab handle as they follow Pastor Kang to an expensive home in the suburbs. Ha-ram realizes that Pastor Kang must have been embezzling the settlement money that Man-soo’s father kept sending monthly.

Black offers to search Pastor Kang’s house for the butterfly watch (since that means they’ve found their killer). The house is filled with designer goods which clearly shows Pastor Kang is embezzling, and Black quickly finds the butterfly watch. Ha-ram is ready to arrest Pastor Kang, but Black says they should wait and find out why Pastor Kang went to Soon-nam’s place.

 

They go back to Soon-nam’s room, and as Ha-ra frantically paws through the man’s belongings, Black is distracted by an annoying mosquito. Black slaps the wall, trying to kill it, but that triggers a secret hiding spot in the ceiling to open. In it is evidence of Pastor Kang’s embezzlement that Soon-nam had collected over the years, and could be the reason why Pastor Kang wanted to kill him.

Once Pastor Kang is arrested, Ha-ram is relieved that both Soon-nam and Man-soo’s father will be okay since the man with the butterfly watch is now locked up.

A nurse notifies Ha-ram that Soon-nam is at the hospital to see his wife, so she and Black hurry over to Royal Hospital. As Black waits in the car, he sees Soon-nam leave the hospital — with two Reapers following him.

 

A flashback reveals that Pastor Kang confronted Black in his fancy house, but Black easily took him down. Pastor Kang confessed that he actually stole the watch from Soon-nam’s room — just minutes before Ha-ram and Black had arrived to look through the man’s belongings the first time. If Pastor Kang isn’t the killer, then someone else must be.

Black and Ha-ram aren’t the only ones interested in the butterfly watch. Kwang-kyun is still continuing his investigation into Jin-sook’s death, and he believes a man wearing the butterfly watch is somehow responsible. Kwang-kyun has plans to meet with some of the hostesses who knew Jin-sook when she lived in Mujin.

 

First he has to make sure that another team doesn’t try to steal the case (not that losing cases isn’t uncommon for their team, since they’re considered the third-rate back-up team). But there’s one particular detective who’s interested in taking over Jin-sook’s case — the same one who faxed Jin-sook’s phone records to the missing-finger man.

He’s definitely a mole, because the detective calls the missing-finger man, informing him that no one here knows what happened to Black (well, technically Moo-gang). The missing-finger man finds it odd that Black didn’t report him after the man tried to kill him.

When Ha-ram calls Black to ask if he’s seen Soon-nam leaving the hospital, Black straight up lies and tells her that he hasn’t — even though he’s following Soon-nam’s delivery truck. Black doesn’t want Ha-ram getting involved and trying to save a life.

 

Even though Man-soo and Ha-ram are convinced that Pastor Kang was the killer, Ha-ram realizes that Man-soo’s father’s the Shadow is still there. It’s also the same vision: a man with a bloody butterfly watch removes Man-soo’s father’s oxygen mask.

Man-soo and Ha-ram study the CCTV footage of the hospital to figure out Soon-nam went. Ha-ram wonders how Black missed seeing the man leave (ha!), but she also recognizes the coat he’s wearing from her Shadow vision at the party. Man-soo also recognizes the coat — it’s part of the uniform of the delivery drivers who provided beverages for his party.

They head to the beverage company, but Soon-nam has already left for the day. However, Man-soo recognizes part of his nephew’s friend’s costume that was found in the delivery truck.

 

Man-soo and Ha-ram go to the hotel where Man-soo’s nephew’s friend, Steven, was staying with his mother. Steven’s mother explains that they actually live in the Philippines but returned to Korea to visit Steven’s favorite housekeeper who practically helped raise him. The housekeeper got into an accident and was sent to a Korean hospital. Ohhhh, the housekeeper has to be Soo-hee.

When Steven’s mother insists her son left Korea to go back to school, and that he’s perfectly safe, Ha-ram asks why she’s lying. Ha-ram knows that Steven has been kidnapped by Soon-nam. Steven’s mother orders them to get out, stubbornly insisting her son is fine.

Meanwhile, Black follows Soon-nam to an empty building, where he’s set up a camera to film the kidnapped Steven. Soon-nam also has quite a collection of bomb-making material. This can’t be good.

As Black looks around the empty building, Soon-nam suddenly appears behind him, asking Black why he’s been following him. Soon-nam holds a knife against Black, and once he sees Black’s detective badge, he says he warned Steven’s mother not to call the police.

He yells that he’ll kill Black as well as Steven, but Black easily disarms him, telling Soon-nam that he can do whatever he wants. Soon-nam finds the butterfly watch that was in Black’s pocket.

Ha-ram hurries to Soon-hee’s hospital room. A nurse comes in to take Soon-hee to get an MRI scan. As the nurse moves the bed, a photo is knocked off the bedside table. The frame is broken, and the other photos hidden behind the family photo fall out.

 

Ha-ram is shocked to see that one of those photos is of Byung-shik, the man who supposedly died in a car fire while trying to flee the country after the Mujin mall collapse. He’s very much alive — and wearing the butterfly watch.

Back at the empty building, Soon-nam explains that Steven was wearing the butterfly watch, and Soon-nam had intended to send it to Byung-shik as proof that Steven was kidnapped. Since Soon-nam blames Byung-shik for killing his son Seung-chun, then it’s only fair that Soon-nam will threaten to kill Byung-shik’s son, Steven.

Soon-nam tearfully explains that he first found the photo of Byung-shik hidden in Soo-hee’s belongings when he visited her at the hospital. She also sent him a letter before her accident, which he had ignored, explaining that she took the Mujin mall settlement to pay for her to track down Byung-shik. Soo-hee vowed to make Byung-shik pay for the death of her son.

She used the settlement money for flights to wherever she heard rumors he might be, until she eventually got a job working for Byung-shik’s mistress — Steven’s mother — in the Philippines. Byung-shik would normally only visit the villa after the staff was sent home, but Soo-hee furtively took photos of him as proof he was still alive.

Soon-nam is convinced that his wife’s accident — falling off a cliff — was a result of Byung-shik finding out who she was.

Soon-nam adds that they call someone who’s lost a spouse a “widow” or “widower,” and a child who’s lost his parents an “orphan,” but there’s no word for a parent who’s lost a child. He reassures Black that he only kidnapped Steven to lure Byung-shik out — he has no intention of killing the boy. The bomb is fake.

Soon-nam plans to broadcast online proof that Byung-shik is alive. Black, remembering Ha-ram’s Shadow vision, asks what will happen if Byung-shik kills him. But that’s exactly what Soon-nam wants — it’s part of his plan. Yikes.

Soon-nam kneels pleads with Black to give him just a little longer, but then, when Black is off-guard, Soon-nam suddenly stands and tasers Black in the neck.

Steven’s mother calls the number Soon-nam sent with the kidnapping video, and as Man-soo tries to track the number, he discovers that Byung-shik’s name is trending online.

They tune into Soon-nam’s live broadcast. Soon-nam declares that Byung-shik is still alive, and will appear on camera in person by 8pm. He shows a video of the tied-up Steven, his head still covered, publicly warning Byung-shik that if he doesn’t show, then Steven will die.

Kwang-kyun’s in the middle of talking with one of the hostesses from the old Pumpkin Singer bar, but before they can get any information about what happened to Clara, the news breaks about Byung-shik and Steven’s kidnapping.

The hostess wryly tells Kwang-kyun that he should talk to Byung-shik, since he used to be a regular at Pumpkin Singer and Clara made a hefty amount of cash through him. The hostess adds that it’s no surprise the mall collapsed, since Byung-shik was more interested in spending money on entertaining clients than on quality building supplies.

 

Ha-ram believes that Soon-nam must be at the site of the oldMujin mall, since the video said that Steven would die the same way Seung-chun did. Kwang-kyun’s already thought of that, but when he and the Mujin police check out the site, it’s empty.

When Ha-ram sees photos of the site, she realizes that Steven can’t be there because it doesn’t match what she saw in her vision. With Man-soo’s help, they narrow down the possibilities to another mall construction site and head that way.

Soon-nam’s broadcast isn’t garnering him the sympathy he thought he’d receive, since most people think he’s crazy or greedy for a larger settlement. Soon-nam, agonized, screams into the camera that he really will kill Steven.

 

Ha-ram and Man-soo hurry up the stairs of the building, worried that they’re too late. Soon-nam presses his detonator button and a bomb goes off — except it goes off because a mysterious man in a leather jacket set up a live bomb.

Man-soo throws himself over Ha-ram to protect her from falling debris, getting trapped himself as she goes to see what’s happened to Steven.

The bomb shocks Soon-nam in more ways than one, particularly since he never actually built anything that could explode. Ha-ram finds Steven’s body, dead just like in her vision, but when she takes off the head covering, it turns out to actually be Soo-hee.

 

A flashback shows that the missing-finger man found Steven and took him away, replacing him with Soo-hee (courtesy of the so-called nurse who said she needed an MRI scan), and then set the live bomb. Because the kidnapped person’s head was covered the whole time, Soon-nam never realized the switch.

When Soon-nam discovers that his wife is now dead, his agonized screams are broadcast to the world. A SWAT team arrives at the mall, snipers at the ready. Black reaches Soon-nam’s location just as the snipers shoot, killing Soon-nam. Black screams “No!” and rushes over to the man’s body.

Soon-nam and Soo-hee watch their bodies being taken away, and he apologizes both for failing to get their son’s justice and for killing her. She tells him it’s okay, because at least they never gave up, and now they can finally be with Seung-chun.

They slowly follow their Reaper guides to the afterlife, and as they do so, Black stands on top of a building and throws down the hundreds of photos of Byung-shik that were left in Soon-nam’s locker. It’s proof Byung-shik is still alive, and the news cycle transitions from talking about the deranged man who killed his wife to the fugitive Byung-shik.

Soon-nam and Soo-hee see Black throwing down the photos and bow in gratitude to him before continuing their journey to the afterlife.

 

Byung-shik, panicking as he tries to flee the country, meets up with the missing-finger man who reassures him that Steven and Steven’s mother are waiting for him on a boat that will help them escape.

But as soon as Byung-shik turns his back on the missing-finger man, the man cuts Byung-shik’s throat, and Byung-shik topples into the water.

A photo that Black dropped under the lockers is half-hidden, but we can see it’s of Byung-shik hugging a man — who is wearing the butterfly watch.

COMMENTS

That damn butterfly watch. There’s no way it can be that unique because I feel like everyone seems to have one. I’m trying to think of a likely progression of how it has been handed down, based on the vague ownership timeline that we know so far. It started with Man-soo’s father, who gave it to Man-ho, then somehow Byung-shik got his hands on it, and then gave it to his son, which was then taken by Soon-nam, except Pastor Kang stole it, and then found by Black, who (I believe) still has it in his possession. I could see Man-ho giving the watch away to someone in order to buy their loyalty and silence (especially if it’s to protect Royal Group by covering up something his father did), but considering all the twists and turns we’ve encountered so far, I’m not convinced that Man-ho is the one in the photo, the man who (presumably) gave Byung-shik the watch in the first place. Then again, we only have Man-ho’s word that his father gave him the watch, and there’s nothing about Man-ho that makes him a reliable source of information.

I love that Black is becoming more human and caring (even if it’s against his will). Despite his insistence that he’s going to prevent Ha-ram from saving anyone’s life, that last scene shows he’s starting to have empathy and compassion. He knew that Soon-nam had to die — the Shadow was following him, after all, and Black purposefully didn’t tell Ha-ram where Soon-nam went so he could make sure she didn’t try to save his life. Making sure death is orderly and proceeds as scheduled is of utmost importance to a Reaper that doesn’t want the Death Squad finding him.

Yet it totally looked like he wanted to intervene when Soon-nam was shot. It could be excused that Black wanted to make sure Soon-nam was killed in the same manner as Ha-ram’s vision (stabbed by the man in the butterfly watch) instead of shot by SWAT snipers, but I think it’s more than that. I believe the man’s story about his son, and the desperate and agonized way he and his wife have been living the past twenty years, actually got to Black. Soon-nam wanted the world to know that he and his wife weren’t greedy or crazy, and spent his life trying to find a way to make the person largely responsible for the tragedy in Mujin deserves to pay for his crimes — and I think Black also sensed the injustice of it all and wanted Soon-nam’s voice to be heard. I can’t wait to see the inner turmoil this new-found humanness brings, especially once he becomes a Reaper vigilante of justice.

I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on and how everything is connected, but it does seem that all those random details from before do indeed serve a purpose. Mostly, it seems to all come back to Mujin. Since Byung-shik was Clara’s most loyal (and generous) client, she probably knew more about the collapse and Byung-shik than was good for her, and I’m assuming that’s what got her killed twenty years ago. Jin-sook was part of the teenage prostitution ring in Mujin, along with Soo-wan, the tapes of which apparently got her killed and Soo-wan kidnapped (is this where I make my regular statement that only a few minutes of Lee El in an hour-and-a-half episode is not enough Lee El? Because it isn’t). Everything traumatic seems to have happened in Mujin, which makes me wonder what kind of Hellmouth they’ve got going on over there (can you imagine how many reapers were wandering around the day of the mall collapse? I’ve got the chills just thinking about it, especially when I think of poor little Ha-ram who was losing her mind).

Of course, the only real Hellmouth seems to be greed and vice, where the rich want to be richer and not take responsibility for how that harms others, while also enjoying their sinful pleasures without worrying they’ll be arrested. All I know is that if I’m a greedy fat cat, I definitely want the missing-finger man on my side. He seems to have no problem killing people if they get in his way. I’m betting all my sunglasses his backstory will tell us he lost his finger in Mujin, just because everything terrible that’s happened to everyone has happened there. I even momentarily convinced myself that the missing-finger man was somehow a grown-up Seung-chun, until I remembered that Seung-chun’s entire hand was cut off during the mall collapse, not just a finger.

This show has made me so suspicious that I can’t take anything at face value, especially when death is on the line. Everything is connected, and even though we’re slowly getting answers, it seems we’re still only scratching the surface. The butterfly watch is the proverbial flap of the butterfly’s wings — there’s still a tsunami to come.

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