Black: Episode 8
Black’s humanness and humanity begins to show itself, much to his confusion and frustration. Hiding behind a sense of “justice” and “honor” seems to be the only way he can excuse his sudden compassion and compulsion to actually help other people. Despite Black insisting he doesn’t care about “uncultivated humans,” his actions scream otherwise.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Kwang-kyun sees the photos of Byung-shik that Black’s scattered from the rooftop. Kwang-kyun runs up to the roof, but by the time he reaches the top, Black is already gone.
Black’s back home, re-reading Soo-hee’s letter to her husband. Black’s deeply affected by Soon-nam’s death, and Joseon gently tells him that when the mall collapsed, it was a difficult day for everyone — including the Reapers, since all of them had to be on duty.
It wasn’t easy reaping so many children’s souls, especially since those souls were filled with hopes and dreams. Then Joseon pointedly looks at Hip-hop. Noooooooo, don’t tell me he was one of the Mujin children!
Defensive, Black explains he was just doing his job by making sure Ha-ram didn’t interfere and try to save lives. But Hip-hop wonders if Soon-nam and Soo-hee’s deaths were actually because of Black’s interference, a comment that only makes Black glare at him, before Black retreats to the bathroom.
Black broods in the shower — while still fully clothed, which seems a pity, but whatever it takes to help a Reaper get over the traumatic shock and grief of the first death he’s ever cared about.
Meanwhile, Ha-ram discovers that the nurse who escorted Soo-hee to her MRI scan was actually never really nurse, and was how Soo-hee and Steven were swapped. Ha-ram believes Byung-shik is the one responsible for the switcheroo.
Black’s still bothered by the way he reacted to Soon-nam getting shot. It doesn’t make any sense for him, a Reaper, to not want someone to die. Black justifies it as not wanting Soon-nam to die unfairly — but still his human heart feels heavy, much to his Reaper annoyance.
When Ha-ram calls and says they should find the fake nurse in order to catch Byung-shik, Black grumbles that she always wants him to help, but heads out anyway. He explains to Joseon he’s only justifying someone’s death, not actually saving a life, so technically it’s not against the rules.
After reviewing the hospital CCTV footage, Black and Ha-ram identify the fake nurse’s vehicle. Black’s teleportation skills must still be working because he steps out of the security room and then exits the fake nurse’s van, which is parked right outside a building where the fake nurse and a bunch of other guys are playing cards.
The men are all gangsters (or wannabe gangsters) who think they can defeat Black and scare him with a knife. Puh-lease. Black easily knocks them all to the ground.
It’s still enough of a distraction for the fake nurse to make a run to the rooftop, causing Black think he’s in a different stairwell than he really is. The fake nurse is super cocky when he sees Black on the opposite rooftop. Um, it’s probably not the best idea to taunt a guy who can teleport.
Fake nurse calls the man with the missing-finger, complaining that a detective came to see him. Missing-finger is in the middle of doing something bloody to Byung-shik’s body (we also get a glimpse of Soo-wan in the background — she’s still alive!).
Fake nurse is confident that Black won’t be able to catch him, but of course Black suddenly bursts through the rooftop doorway and knocks fake nurse to the ground. Fake nurse babbles out the story Missing-finger told him to say, about Byung-shik trying to stow away with his family and make his escape.
Missing-finger apparently also raises pigs, and lovingly tells them that if Soo-wan doesn’t reveal where the tape is, then he’ll chop her up into little pieces and feed her to the pigs. Based on what we know about him, I don’t think he’s kidding.
Byung-shik’s body is later found all tangled up in a fisherman’s net, his shoes, knife (to explain the cut throat) and final will left nearby (courtesy of Missing-finger). Everyone assumes, of course, that it’s suicide.
Ha-ram wonders why she keeps making mistakes in her visions about how people die. She clearly saw Soon-nam being stabbed by a man with the butterfly watch, but instead he was shot. She’s also shocked to discover that Byung-shik has been found dead.
As she leaves the hospital, Ha-ram sees her drunk stepfather yelling and pushing around her mother and stepbrother. He’s angry that Ha-ram reported him to the police for domestic violence and is taking it out on them, even though Ha-ram’s mother told the police that she didn’t want to press charges.
Ha-ram furiously warns him that he’ll soon pay for what he’s done, which seems like a reasonable threat since she can clearly see the Shadow at his back.
Ha-ram then checks on Man-soo, who’s recuperating from his injuries sustained when he tried to protect Ha-ram from falling rubble. Despite being in obvious pain, he jokes that all the bandages are for show — he wasn’t trying to save her life like some movie action-hero, oh no, of course not; he just slipped and happened to fall on top of her at the same moment the ceiling fell.
With Byung-shik dead and the butterfly watch gone, none of Ha-ram’s visions have come true, so she runs upstairs to check on Man-soo’s father. Even though the bodyguards refuse to let her in, she manages to get enough of a glimpse to verify that there’s no longer a Shadow by the old man.
Man-ho purposefully watches the news about Byung-shik in his father’s room, pointing out that Dad’s old friend died at a very convenient time.
A flashback shows that back when Mujin mall collapsed, Chunsu Insurance (the precursor to Royal Group) had approved a contract with the mall, despite Man-ho’s protests, and thus became responsible for millions of dollars of insurance payouts for the victims.
As Man-ho angrily asked his father what they were going to do, the news broke about Byung-shik’s (supposedly) burnt body, and that all the files about the Mujin mall being burnt along with him. Or almost all of them, as Man-ho’s father calmly sets fire to the original contract they had with Byung-shik. With all the files burnt, there’s no proof that Mujin mall or Chunsu Insurance ever had an agreement.
Later, Man-ho stepped outside to smoke (while wearing the butterfly watch!). The sound of his father arguing with Commissioner Song (or whatever his rank was before commissioner) caught his attention, and he eavesdropped as his father begged the commissioner to take care of Clara for him since she knew too much.
Man-ho finally intervened, grabbing Commissioner Song’s notebook and asking if it was true that Dad agreed to the contract with Byung-shik in return for sexual favors. Furious that is father would sell out the company for a foolish reason like that, Man-ho vowed that he’d use his money and prestige to keep the case hushed up.
In the present day, Man-ho sneeringly wonders if Man-soo would still idealize their father if Byung-shik had been captured alive and confessed to everything that had happened back then.
Also watching the news about Byung-shik is Moo-gang’s mother, who was working triage after the mall collapse twenty years ago. As she reaches for her phone and dials a number labeled “Son,” she recalls the rescue workers bringing in Seung-chun — missing a hand, but still alive. Ha! I knew it!
Ha-ram still blames herself for not double-checking her Shadow visions and for believing the fake nurse was real. As she buries her head in her arms to cry, Black notices the deep cut on her hand. In an attempt to distract her from her anguish over him previously defacing her favorite poster of Leo, he tries to apply first aid to her cut.
Aw, he gently dabs and blows on it when she complains it hurts, which makes her smile. Black says she should be more careful, then muses that she can probably see her own Shadow and knows when she’ll die, anyway.
Ha-ram admits that she can’t see her own Shadow, but she did nearly die when she was a child. Her mother tried to force her to overdose on sleeping pills, but small Ha-ram was terrified both of her mother and the Shadow she saw behind her mother. The Shadow only went away when Ha-ram called out for her father, and her mother suddenly realized what she was doing.
Ha-ram tells Black that since that day, she’s decided to survive, no matter what. She plans to live a long, quiet life and die an old lady.
Before Black leaves, Ha-ram gives him the red thread bracelet that she’d made for Joon. Black grumbles that it looks tacky, but he still takes it from her. Black tells himself that he’s foolish to care so much about a human, especially since he’ll reap her soul as soon as they can find Loser.
When Black arrives home, he finds Moo-gang’s mother waiting for him, worried because he didn’t answer his phone all day. She asks him about Soo-wan, and he nonchalantly tells her that Soo-wan left for America.
Mom warns him that once his memories return, he’ll regret letting Soo-wan leave so easily — especially since he was the on who kept following her around. Black wonders about Soo-wan, bewildered that his heart hurts whenever he hears her name.
Black continues to blame himself for not catching Byung-shik, causing Joseon and Hip-hop to worry about why a Reaper cares so much about someone who’s dead. Black angrily explains that it’s all part of the side effects due to being stuck in a human’s body for so long — he’s learning to pity other humans.
The butterfly watch is now in Kyung-kyun possession, presumably taken from the explosion crime scene. Kwang-kyun confirms the ownership of the watch, and gets as far as placing Byung-shik as the original owner. But since Byung-shik is dead, they can’t question him about Jin-sook’s murder.
Even though the watch expert Kwang-kyun spoke to said there’s a chance there could be more than one butterfly watch, if they do prove it’s the only watch, then it’s evidence Byung-shik was indeed the one who ordered Jin-sook’s death.
In the morning, Ha-ram’s determination is renewed as she heads out to verify more VIP clients for Man-soo. She’s surprised to see Black waiting for her outside her apartment. She also notices that the rock she usually trips over is gone. Awww, Black removed it for her.
But before Ha-ram can stop by Man-soo’s, she needs to give her witness statement for being at the site when the bomb went off. Ha-ram says it was just a big ol’ coincidence, as was her being at the hospital and seeing the fake nurse take Soo-hee away.
So-tae doesn’t seem totally convinced that these are all “coincidences,” but he lets her go. Ha-ram is just relieved that Seung-chun’s parents are finally getting the justice they deserve. She smiles dreamily as she says she’s thankful to whomever threw around those photos of Byung-shik, and Black silently smirks with pride.
Black reminds Ha-ram that they still need to track down the Shadow near Leo. Ha-ram insists she needs to focus on the VIP’s first so she can get her father’s file. Just as she turns to leave, Black grabs her and pulls her into a hug.
Even though he awkwardly says it’s because he’s sorry for what happened, it’s actually to keep Ha-ram from noticing a woman heading into the police station with Reapers following her. Black knows that Ha-ram will try to save the woman’s life if she sees the woman’s Shadow. But his hug is in vain, because as soon as he releases Ha-ram, she notices a little girl with a Shadow.
When Ha-ram approaches the girl, she has a vision of the girl falling off from someplace high. The woman that Black tried to prevent Ha-ram from noticing is the girl’s mother — and when Ha-ram touches the mother’s Shadow, she realizes that both the woman and the little girl will fall off the cliff together.
The woman isn’t just any woman, though. It’s Tiffany, who reveals that she got her scrapes and bruises from Man-soo the night of the party. Say whaaaaaaa?
Man-soo’s on his way to the police station to also give his statement as a witness to the explosion. Ha-ram marches up to him and punches him in the face. He’s baffled by her reaction until he sees the news that Tiffany’s accusing him of of physical and sexual assault.
Man-ho is furious that Royal Group’s name is being dragged through the mud again. He orders his assistant to dig up any dirt on Tiffany that they can use against her in the press.
Tiffany’s at home with her daughter, Hyo-jin, when she hears a strange noise outside the door. She grabs a knife to defend herself, but it’s only Ha-ram. Tiffany invites Ha-ram inside, and as Ha-ram looks around, she spots a stuffed dog that looks exactly like Man-soo’s dog. Aw, it even has a name-tag that says “Sip-gyeong.”
That reminds her that Man-soo doesn’t seem the type to sexually and physically assault someone, and when Tiffany returns to the room, Ha-ram sees the Shadow still following her. Ha-ram just wants to know that Tiffany is doing okay, and to check if she’s sure it was Man-soo. Furious, Tiffany assumes Man-soo sent her, and tells Ha-ram that she’s not going to settle for any amount of money Royal Group will offer.
Ha-ram is surprised to find Black waiting for her outside Tiffany’s apartment. He wryly points out that he knows her well enough by now to have figured out she’d try to save the mother and child. Ha-ram tells Black that in her vision, Tiffany leaves a note and then jumps off a building with her daughter, committing suicide because so many people kept calling her a gold-digging con artist.
Ha-ram’s convinced that Man-soo couldn’t have hurt Tiffany, but Black points out that there’s no way Ha-ram could really know. After all, Black doesn’t trust any human, no matter what — so Ha-ram shouldn’t, either.
Believing he’s innocent, Man-soo tells the press that Tiffany falsely accused him assault. Royal Group’s PR goes even further, spinning Tiffany’s claim as a gold-digger looking for a payout. The news reports are filled with Tiffany’s past as a hostess barmaid.
The detectives are trying to find proof that Byung-shik was the man responsible for Jin-sook’s murder (since the butterfly watch is their only lead, and it’s relatively tenuous), but the commissioner tells the chief of Kwang-kyun’s team that they should treat the case as closed now that Byung-shik is dead. If the detectives don’t start producing results soon, then the commissioner will dissolve the team and reassign everyone.
In order to save his team, the chief orders the detectives to connect Jin-sook and Byung-shik’s cases and tie them up ASAP. Kwang-kyun protests, since right now it isn’t clear how the cases are related. But the chief angrily says that they have to close Jin-sook’s case, now, and officially declare Byung-shik as the killer — no questions asked. Unless, of course, they want to remain third-rate back-up detectives forever.
Kwang-kyun throws a fit after the chief leaves, accidentally knocking out one of Black’s desk drawers. In it, he finds the file showing that the body that had been killed twenty years ago is actually Clara — a fact that Moo-gang had hidden from him.
Weary, Man-soo returns to his office. He sees the trash-talking news articles about Tiffany being a gold-digger. He calls his lawyer to try and take the articles down, but the lawyer says it’s the only way they can convince the public to be on Man-soo’s side. Man-soo studies the file he has on Ha-ram’s father, but when Ha-ram shows up to his office, he tells his assistant to send her away.
Meanwhile, Black has taken over Ha-ram’s watch over Tiffany and Hyo-jin. He’s supposed to prevent them from leaving the house, but he only watches in detached amusement as Hyo-jin cries because bullies keep calling her mother a gold-digger.
Tiffany demands that the boys apologize, but the boys’ mothers are more angry at Tiffany for being a lowly hostess and creating a scandal that dropped the worth of Royal Group stock. As the women scream and grab each other’s hair, Hyo-jin pleads with Black to help, offering him a lollipop as payment.
He stubbornly refuses, and Hyo-jin throws candy at him from the second story in retaliation. Black mockingly tells her that it doesn’t hurt so she can keep throwing all she wants. But then she gets a basketball and perfectly beans him in the noggin. HAHAHAHA!
Knocked out from the ball to the head, Black wakes up in Tiffany’s room as Hyo-jin continues to glare at him. Black tastes her lunch, finds it delicious, and literally stuffs his face as Hyo-jin cries about her lunch being stolen. Tiffany offers to make Black some food, and then he smugly shows off his own meal to Hyo-jin. Pffft, what a child.
Tiffany’s boss, Madam Hwang, arrives with a lawyer. They’ve drafted up an agreement that says if Tiffany rescinds her official complaint against Man-soo, then she’ll receive a million dollars. She’ll instead confess that she was responsible for her own injuries and only accused Man-soo to get money — which, of course, would only confirm that she’s a gold-digger after all.
Madam Hwang points out that there isn’t much hope for women like them, and if Tiffany wants a better life for her daughter, then she should sign the agreement.
Black, still keeping watch outside, sees Hyo-jin — with her accompanying Reapers — leave the apartment. Black follows the little girl to Royal Group, where she asks to see Man-soo.
Hyo-jin gets on her knees and tearfully begs Man-soo to save her mother. Man-soo’s assistant drags Hyo-jin out of his office, but she’s left behind the crumpled up agreement — which Hyo-jin signed for her mother (literally “my mom”) in crayon. Aw. This is the first Man-soo’s heard of the agreement, and as he calls up his lawyer to yell at him, he realizes that this must be why Tiffany will kill herself.
Royal Group’s security team tries to drag Hyo-jin out, kicking and screaming, but Black intervenes and orders the man to leave the girl alone.
Ha-ram finds them in the lobby of Royal Group after her failed attempt to see Man-soo, who calls her just then to ask about the vision she saw of Tiffany and Hyo-jin. She leaves Black in charge of Hyo-jin, who promptly clings to Black’s leg, refusing to let go. Snerk.
Ha-ram tells Man-soo that in her death vision, Tiffany and Hyo-jin leap off a high place somewhere. Struggling to process what it all means, Man-soo orders Ha-ram out of his office. He reads through Tiffany’s statement about what happened that night, noting that one of the witnesses was his drug-dealing buddy and professional baseball player, Byung-ho.
Tiffany is furious that Hyo-jin left the apartment, but soon starts crying along with her daughter as she asks why Hyo-jin went to Man-soo to beg for help. Neighbors throw eggs at them, and as they both weep, Tiffany tries to protect her daughter from the protesting neighbors who don’t want a good-for-nothing gold-digger in their neighborhood.
Man-soo visits Byung-ho to get a better idea of what happened that night. Byung-ho tells Man-soo that he was nearly passed-out drunk when Man-soo told Byung-ho to bring Tiffany to his room so he could give her a game console for Hyo-jin. Man-soo’s starting to believe that he must have done it, even though he doesn’t remember anything.
But he also remembers tripping over Leo that night, when Leo was sprawled out in Man-soo’s room, passed out on the sofa. Man-soo finds it suspicious that Leo also disappeared around the same time Tiffany did, and that Leo was in the room the same time Tiffany reported being raped.
Man-soo angrily accuses Leo, but Leo insists he was just leaving the room when he saw Tiffany enter. Then when he was outside, Tiffany jumped from the second story. Leo couldn’t see the guy’s face on the balcony very well, but it didn’t really matter because it was green.
Shocked, Man-soo falls to his knees, wondering just what he’s done. He tells himself that he just needs to keep his mouth shut and everything will blow over quietly.
Tiffany takes Hyo-jin to a high point in the city, crying as she watches her daughter play. Later, she carries her sleeping daughter up a hill. Black follows behind, keeping his distance, both literally and figuratively. He reminds himself that he’s the cold-hearted Reaper, and that death is no big deal, humans do it all the time.
Black’s reluctant to leave the two, but he forces himself to walk away, anyway. As he does, Tiffany sets a note under a rock. She asks if Hyo-jin wants to fly like a majestic bird, and then, with Hyo-jin still asleep on her back, Tiffany steps over the edge of the cliff.
Black tries to distract himself, repeating the Reaper mantra that it’s simply their destiny to die today. Finally, after he thinks it’s all over, he returns to the hill top. There’s nothing there but Tiffany’s note. He sees an ambulance down below, then turns a walks away.
Black barges into Man-soo’s office, where he grabs the younger man by the throat. As he pushes Man-soo up the wall, Black orders him to call the police and confess that Man-soo’s responsible for Tiffany and Hyo-jin’s death. Black may not save lives, but he will make sure they get the justice they deserve. As Man-soo gasps for air, two Reapers appear behind Black. Black realizes that Man-soo is going to die, too.
Well, at the rate things are going, I’d say that Man-soo is going to die by Black’s hand if he keeps strangling Man-soo like that. I’d add, “Not that I could blame him,” but I’m not fully convinced Man-soo was the one responsible for Tiffany’s injuries. Of course, it’s hard to refute the evidence of a green-faced man when Man-soo was the only one dressed as Shrek, but I feel like it has to be a set-up. Just like Ha-ram, I find it hard to believe that Man-soo is the kind of guy who would sexually assault and hurt a woman, no matter how much he’s had to drink. There’s got to be another explanation (and I’m suspicious of Leo, since he’s already shown himself as being violent with Tiffany before at the bar). I also hope that somehow Hyo-jin and Tiffany didn’t die — that we’ll see they survived the fall. I can’t handle another kid dying on this show, especially one as adorable and spunky as Hyo-jin (I won’t admit to how many times I rewound to see her bounce that basketball off of Black’s head, but let me just tell you it was deeply satisfying each time).
I do love how hilariously accepting Black is of his gradual transition into becoming more human. He hates that he’s having all these strange and unusual emotions, but he also realizes that he can’t fight against them (and I’m also delighted by the way he’s learned to anticipate Ha-ram’s moves so well, just by getting to know her. I’m still squeeing over the way he tried to walk away from the tripping rock, only to sigh and realize he couldn’t ignore his desire to remove it for her). Yes, that’s right, Black is actually starting to become considerate, of all things, and even though he’s not exactly perfect (far, far from it), I’m totally enjoying watching the push-and-pull as he tries to maintain his cold-hearted Reaper persona but is totally sucked into doing all the right things, anyway. “For justice.” Yeah, uh-huh. Not because he actually cares or anything. Suuuuuuuuuure.
I did think I’d have a better grasp on the supernatural laws of Reapers by now, considering we’re halfway through the show (or almost halfway, since thanks to a two-episode extension, we’re now getting eighteen episodes instead of sixteen). But I actually feel more confused than ever. I had the vague idea when we first met Seung-chun in the previous episode that his adorable rapping buddy was Hip-hop, but I dismissed it because it didn’t make sense. Based on what we’ve been told so far, I was under the impression that only those who committed suicide or who were pure-born from the Other World became Reapers — but it’s looking like Reapers come from those who have already died, no matter what. I don’t think Hip-hop, if he really was a victim of the Mujin mall collapse, could be classified as committing suicide, but then again he’s not a pure-born, either. It’s also odd that Hip-hop doesn’t have any of his human memories, because you’d think he’d remember the Mujin mall collapse and have some reaction to it coming up in the news again.
Then again, we’ve all been assuming that Black isn’t who he thinks he is, either, which makes me wonder if the whole “pure-born” Reaper is all a lie. It seems obvious that Black has more history than suddenly being a Reaper (even if he’s not aware of it yet), and I wonder if his Reaper number has anything to do with it. Are the numbers chronological? Joseon’s is #007, which I thought was an amusing take on the famous James Bond number, but it could be that he was the seventh Reaper. Hip-hop is #416, which is very close to Black’s #444 (which I assumed was just a joke about the number 4 meaning “death”). That could mean Black and Hip-hop died around the same time, or perhaps Black’s true body died a little later. Is Black really Joon? Is he Moo-gang? Is he someone else? How does Seung-chun come into play, since Moo-gang’s mother was so troubled after she saw the boy’s photo in the news and it made her instinctively want to check on her son.
I feel like I keep repeating “Everything is connected!” until I’m blue in the face, but everything is, and much of what I find so compelling about this show is trying to figure out the truth and what secrets will be revealed next. If the first few episodes were like digging through a random assortment of puzzle pieces, I think we’ve reached the point where the corner edges are slowly coming together to complete a frame, and it’s only a matter of time before we’ll find out if our wild guesses about the big picture are actually true or not.
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