Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 11
Ratings more than doubled for Goodbye Mr. Black today, and while I’d like to attribute it to a rise in story quality (which did happen), I suppose really we have to attribute it to the fact that Descended From the Sun is no longer in the race. (Although, is it sad that ratings doubled and are still in single digits? Today’s episode drew an 8.1% rating.)
In any case, the obstacles mount and sacrifices are made, and bad guys gain the upper hand and lose it and maybe gain it back again, or do they? The constantly changing upper hand is one of the aspects I enjoy about the show, since nobody’s smug for too long… even if that means that conversely, nobody’s triumph is longstanding, either.
SONG OF THE DAY
Song Yoo-bin – “아마도 이건” (Maybe this) from the Goodbye Mr. Black OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Faced with a direct threat to Swan’s safety, Black concedes to Sun-jae, agreeing to take the murderer’s rap. Sun-jae’s satisfied with this, and says with this air of regret that he didn’t mean for Ji-soo to come to harm, and that he’ll inquire into hospitals and make sure she sees again. It’s fascinating how Sun-jae seems to be able to convince himself of the craziest things, spinning everything around to make himself less of a bad guy.
Black tells him not to do anything for (or to) Ji-soo or Swan, promising, “If you do that, I’ll take on all your crimes.” Sun-jae agrees, and magnanimously offers to listen to anything Black has to say to him.
“I should have killed you,” Black says, and Sun-jae’s smug smile fades. “If I’d known things would turn out this way, I should have killed you. I regret that.”
Swan gets turned away when she tries to visit Black, since he’s used up his visitor quota for the day. A bit later, however, Black is handed a letter by the guard, which I’m thinking must be hers.
Teacher Baek gets briefed on Swan’s background, hearing how she was rescued from a tsunami in 2004, and didn’t remember anything of her past life. Five years ago, she became a Korean citizen and is connected to Ji-ryun, who is likely also her connection to Black.
Teacher Baek eyes that elephant drawing on the wall, and flashes back to a memory of a young girl drawing it with her smiling mother watching. “Eun-young is alive,” he says, because what we really needed was another identity secret in this drama.
Sun-jae’s mansion is searched by police, who discover a surveillance bug, which in turn leads them to Black as the culprit. The officers storm into Black’s home, while Sung-min ineffectually tries to block them out, and gets caught watching videos of scantily clad women.
This search was ordered by Sun-jae, who is told that nothing turned up. Mari calls him to restate her intention to reveal the truth of Sun-jae’s stabbing, and as she’s already with Ji-ryun and ready to turn over evidence, Sun-jae bolts up in alarm.
But it’s a voice recorder she hands over, not that stabbing video, explaining that she found it among her father’s things after his death. It’s a phone call from five years ago between the commander and Black, who had been on the run and vowed to find proof of his father’s murder.
Sun-jae bursts into the room, and Mari states that they won’t prosecute Black on attempted murder charges. She places the phone containing the video on the table, then looks to Sun-jae for his reaction. Put on the spot, he can only agree.
They relocate to the river to continue their conversation, and Mari thanks Sun-jae for agreeing, while he continues to be convinced that she intervened because of her feelings for Black. Mari replies that this is “the last thing I can do” for him, saying that she’s Sun-jae’s wife and a baby’s mother. Only able to hear what he believes, Sun-jae says tersely, “It’s for the child, then.” Anyone else want to beat some sense into his thick head?
Mari returns, “No, Ji-won is the past, and the one in front of me now is you. I’m only going to think of that. Sun-jae-ya, I love you.” Sun-jae’s reaction is to tell her to turn in Black’s hidden camera into the police, insisting that Black is watching them and tried to kill him.
He argues that he was only thinking of Mari and their baby in the fight, and that if he hadn’t stabbed himself to stop the fight, Black would have killed him. That makes no logical sense to me, but he’s so impassioned that I think he actually believes it. Sun-jae begs Mari to stop (doubting him), saying, “I did everything you wanted, because I love you so much.”
He holds out his hand to her, and when she takes it, he kisses her and holds her close.
In his prison cell, Black opens the letter from Swan, where she shares her exciting news about Ji-soo speaking again, assuring him not to worry and to be well. Her letter is written in her cute style of speech, and it brings a smile to Black’s face.
Ji-soo regains some of her earlier sweetness as she talks to Swan about meeting Black and how they’d faked a marriage to hide their identities. Swan fudges the circumstances a bit, making it sound like Black kept chasing her around, not correcting Ji-soo when she guesses that her oppa fell for Swan first.
Swan shares that Black had called Ji-soo an ugly duckling who turned out beautiful, and says he found the two of them similar. Ji-soo wonders why her brother broke up with Mari, and Swan tells her she’ll have to ask that herself. Ji-soo would love to do just that, and pleads to be taken to see him.
Team Black convenes to review the footage showing Black supposedly shooting that man in Thailand. It’s Woo-jin who notices that there’s no recoil from the gunshot, but Ji-ryun knows that’s not enough evidence to exonerate Black. He does, however, get a promising lead on tracking down Sun-jae’s slush fund.
Swan joins the group to tell them that Ji-soo wants to see her brother, so they decide to make it happen while keeping her sheltered from the full truth. Sung-min convinces the prison guard to not contradict them as they lead Ji-soo into the prison and lie that they’re at a construction site, where Black has been working nonstop.
Black is led in handcuffed, and when Ji-soo reaches out her hands eagerly toward him, he resorts to gruffness to cover why he won’t hold her hand. He also asks Swan to leave them, and while she’s a little hurt at his curt request, she leaves the siblings to their privacy.
Black encourages his sister to think of her blindness as a temporary condition, saying they can get surgery to heal her. Ji-soo holds out her hands and says those are her eyes now, which makes him break down silently. He composes himself and leans in to let her touch his face, and then Ji-soo makes a sudden grab for his hands and feels the handcuffs—it seems like she had her suspicions, and is confirming them now.
So Black promises that he’ll get out soon and assures her that Sun-jae won’t be able to touch her, and Ji-soo thanks him for not giving up on finding her. She promises to wait for him with Swan, his two ugly ducklings.
That night, Black sits in his cell when suddenly the door opens and Swan enters dressed in a prison uniform, joining him in the room. He realizes that he’s dreaming, but admits that he’s still afraid Sun-jae will found out about his feelings, and draws an invisible line to keep Swan on her side.
When he wakes up, he thinks with heavy heart that even dreaming of Swan is difficult, because it makes waking to reality more of a nightmare. “So don’t come in my dreams either,” he thinks.
Another hearing is held, and before the proceedings begin, the prosecutor informs the court that Black would like to make a statement. He “confesses” to committing murder five years ago, which shocks everyone in the courtroom except Sun-jae, and when Ji-ryun speaks up to argue, Black states that he will be switching lawyers. Ack, noooo.
The prosecutor paints Black in the harshest possible light, and requests life in prison. The sentencing will be announced in a later hearing, and as Black is escorted out, he ignores his team’s attempts to talk to him, stone-faced as he walks on. And when they try to see him in prison, he refuses visitors.
Ji-ryun smells something fishy and confronts the prosecutor, who’s awfully flippant about the case, saying that Black must have just given up on a lost cause. Ji-ryun asks shrewdly how much Sun-jae paid him—the prosecutor’s reaction tells us it’s true—and notes that Sun-jae was the last visitor to see Black before the hearing.
Mari rests at home, attended by her doctor, who is then offered a large envelope of cash by Sun-jae. Aha, so there were shenanigans afoot! The nervous doctor argues that Mari will know she’s not pregnant soon enough, since she has to be taken off progesterone soon and will resume menses. Sun-jae seems to think he can fool Mari forever and literally requests a natural miscarriage, like it’s something you can order off a menu. The doctor looks conflicted, but ultimately takes the money.
Sun-jae sees the housekeeper nearby after the doctor leaves, and while she acts like she knew nothing, he seems to suspect she may have heard more.
Swan sees Black in prison, pressing him for an explanation for his confession. He says it’s the last thing he could do for Swan and thanks her in a way that sounds like goodbye, which she finds unsettling. And then he grows steelier as he tells her not to visit again, painting it as though Mari’s pregnancy was the catalyst for his behavior—he’d been trying to use Swan to forget about her, but realized Mari was forever out of reach. He says that surely she didn’t believe he really cared for her, sneering, “I felt sorry for you.”
So the dream’s over, he says, and he’s a murderer who can’t have the one woman he wants, and he’s furious that he can’t do anything to help his sister, and he doesn’t want Swan coming by anymore. Ouch, ouch, and ouuuuch. He’s really laying it on, making sure to shove her away but good.
Stung, Swan takes a long moment to compose herself, but tells him to get out of prison so he can see Mari, rather than sitting here like this. “I knew it was a dream,” she adds. “There’s no reason for you to like me. I liked you on my own. But one-sided love is still love.” She tells him she won’t come back, and leaves.
He thinks, “Yes, Swan. Just as you do now, go and don’t come back.”
Woo-jin is outside with an umbrella when Swan gets out, though she lets it fall out of her grasp, too wounded and tearful to care about being drenched in the rain. She cries, and Woo-jin just waits quietly.
The next day, Swan ambushes Sun-jae at the office to confront him about being the last visitor to see Black, asking outright if he coerced or blackmailed him into confessing. She vows to tell the world what he’s done, and Sun-jae has her thrown out of the building, literally.
It’s Teacher Baek who offers her a hand up from the ground, which she coldly ignores. He looks at her with more interest now that he thinks (knows?) that she’s the lost Eun-young, and suggests a meal together to get that interview she wanted. Swan treats him coolly, warning that she’ll dig deep and reveal all his and Sun-jae’s nefarious deeds.
A church choir sings in the prison chapel, led by… Sung-min? Well, man of god is not exactly how I pictured him, but it does get him into the prison to see Black, and he offers him a sweet bun and pretends to counsel his soul in front of the others. When they’re alone, he reveals the stash of pills baked into the bread, to treat Black’s head injury.
That’s the condition Black refers to as he asks Sung-min to take care of Ji-soo after he’s gone, to make sure she recovers her sight. Sung-min asks about his attitude change, since Black had wanted to live before and is now talking like a dead man.
Black thinks of Swan as he admits that his desire to live must have been greedy, and just asks Sung-min to take care of her, too.
Woo-jin stuffs a note into the tongue of a brand-new sneaker, then presents the pair to Swan as a gift. He frames them as something to help with her work, since she’ll need them to pound the pavement and find the truth. Swan thanks him, and Woo-jin tells her to do a good job at court tomorrow.
But at the courthouse, after Black receives his life sentence, she’s unable to do anything as Black is led back to the prison bus, frozen in place. Woo-jin urges her into action and ends up calling out to Black instead, but Black is as impassive as ever and ignores him.
When the bus starts moving, that finally spurs Swan into calling out and trying to run after it, and she yells after Black to assert his innocence. She vows to go after the truth without giving up.
Black gets harassed by his cellmates, who mock him and poke at him derisively. He remains unresponsive until one picks up Swan’s letter and comments crudely about having some fun with his girl, at which point Black snaps into action, grabs him by the throat, and warns him to shut his mouth, since he’s already decided to die. Nothin’ to lose.
Teacher Baek congratulates Sun-jae on taking care of Black, though he cautions that it ain’t over till Black’s already dead. Seeing as how he already came back from the dead once. Sun-jae seems confident that he can handle it, and Baek wants to collect on the favor now—he tipped Sun-jae off about Swan being Black’s weakness, and now he wants control over that casino resort deal.
Sun-jae doesn’t want to give it up, and proceeds to sign the contract with MRB. It’s a curious alliance given how things turned out with Black, but Sun-jae needs their money, and MRB is following Ji-ryun’s instructions to keep Sun-jae close so they can see what he’s up to.
Word gets back to Sun-jae that Ji-ryun is making inquiries into his slush funds, and that’s enough to spur him into checking all their records to see if any information leaked. This reveals that VP Seo’s office was breached, and an analysis of the logs reveals that certain documents were downloaded—those bidding papers from that natural gas project in Thailand.
VP Seo tries to act unworried, saying that the project is already over with, but he can’t help gulping nervously when Sun-jae reminds him that he was in charge of the project—it’ll be his head that rolls if anything happens.
This puts both Teacher Baek and Sun-jae on edge, reminding them that Black can still be a threat even after they’ve thought him neutralized.
That night, Sung-min is walking home through the park when he gets
ambushed with a beam to the head. Teammates May and Gye-dong rush out to find him while Swan and Ji-soo prepare dinner, and thankfully they find Sung-min intact and none the worse for wear. Well, I suppose he is built like a tank.
They wonder why the attack ended on such a wimpy note, and the realization dawns: They’re after something else. Ji-soo.
At home, Ji-soo drops silverware and kneels down to retrieve it, then hears an ominous sound and stills. Gangsters intrude and confront Swan, and when the rest of the team arrives, Ji-soo’s distraught and frightened, telling them that Swan’s been taken. A note has been left behind, warning the team to return the stolen files.
Ji-ryun and Woo-jin get word of Swan’s kidnapping and react in alarm, while Swan is taken away in a blindfold. She gets taken to a dark warehouse, where she’s left for hours.
In prison, a shadowy figure passes by Black’s door, and his eyes widen to recognize the face behind the bars—his old nemesis and Baek’s right-hand man, Killer.
Baek lets Sun-jae decide what to do with their next target, and Sun-jae orders the kill. Baek agrees readily, and reminds him to hand over that resort in exchange. They must be talking about Black, because he then hears of Swan’s kidnapping and finds that alarming.
Ji-ryun barges in on Sun-jae to demand Swan’s whereabouts, and is so upset that he readily hands over the USB file containing all his research on Sun-jae’s slush funds. Ack, all that hard work! It’s a different story for Woo-jin, who launches himself at Sun-jae trying to get in a good blow, who threatens to go public about his slush funds if he doesn’t return Swan.
Sun-jae doesn’t find either man very threatening, however, and smirks that if that story gets written, at worst he’ll get slapped with some minor time that’ll be like a vacation break, and then he’ll come back.
Ji-ryun drags a furious Woo-jin out, and while Woo-jin can’t believe that Ji-ryun would stoop to making a deal, Ji-ryun counters that there’s no other way. Sun-jae’s crime is small potatoes compared to everything else, and in order to really bring them down, they need Black and a way to pin Sun-jae for the chairman’s murder.
Black receives a visit in prison from his sidekick Gye-dong, who’s beside himself with panic, telling him about Swan’s kidnapping at Sun-jae’s hands, and Ji-ryun handing over all their information. On the one hand, I’m not sure what he expects Black to do from prison, but on the other, I’m glad somebody thought to apprise him.
I’m hoping it sparks a plan in Black’s brain, and also hoping that it’s not my imagination seeing a glint in his eye when he takes a shower. Afterward as he’s drying off, his cellmates come at him in a sudden ambush, but he’s quick enough to counter the move and thwart a stranglehold.
Then Killer steps in, and the two old enemies go at each other. Black fends pretty well until a blow to the head sets off that ringing pain, and he falls to the ground, taking multiple blows. His attackers muffle his mouth when a guard passes by, and Killer stoops down with a shiv in his hand to finish the deed.
He drives the shiv forward—and Black grabs his hand mid-stab. He does get jabbed with it, but musters newfound strength to shove him back, and then the attackers scatter before the guards arrive.
In the warehouse, an exhausted and abandoned Swan falls to the ground. She lies prone on the ground just as Black does. He closes his eyes.
Sometime later, Swan stirs awake as gangsters taunt her with water, spilling it on the ground. That makes her think of Black cleaning her cut with water, calling her hand precious.
Black is rushed to the hospital, badly beaten and bloodied, and the first question he asks Sung-min is about Swan’s whereabouts. He falls unconscious, though, and Sung-min takes over and demands a CT scan.
That night, Sun-jae makes his way to Black’s darkened hospital room, approaching quietly, a little nervously. He reaches for the oxygen mask, brimming with hatred—and then a hand falls on his shoulder.
It’s Ji-soo, and she reaches out to touch his face. Sun-jae freezes as she feels his features and recognizes him, and she asks where Swan is. At that, Black’s eyes open.
Okay, please tell me that this whole last segment was part of an elaborate plan that Black devised, and that he’s totally in command of the situation, and that it only looks like he’s in grave danger while next episode will reveal that he’s really devising another escape. That’s not a tall order at all, is it?
Actually, now that I think of it, this doesn’t seem an impossible scenario, given how it mimics the very first sequence of this drama when Black faked his death to go on the run. I thought it was a little unreasonable for his sidekick to dump everything on him while he was in prison because it’s not like Black could do anything from where he was, but I did hope it would give him the impetus to get the wheels turning in his brain again.
Considering what a badass he’s been shown to be, it was frustrating to watch him give everything up—his plan, his revenge, even his fight to live—to secure the safety of his loved ones. It’s noble, yes, but weaksauce for the hero of a revenge thriller, and thus it’s a plotline I can put up with for one episode, tops, before it had better turn into Payback, Part 2. And I do think it sparked a renewed fight, since he agreed to take the fall in exchange for Swan’s life, only to hear that Sun-jae took Swan anyway. I mean, sure you can’t expect a power-hungry, backstabbing crook to honor his word, but you’d think that was the least Sun-jae could do.
I have to say, Sun-jae’s totally off his rocker (faking a pregnancy what!) but I really enjoy the way Kim Kang-woo is portraying him—not from a position of power and privilege, but from one of massive insecurity and defensiveness, always thinking everything’s going to be stolen away (and ignoring the part where he stole things first). It’s interesting to see how he reacts so thick-headedly with Mari, because I think it’s pretty clear she wants to save their relationship and maybe also his soul, except that he always expects the worst of her. He could have been grateful for what he has, but instead he’s turning into a stingy, volatile tyrant, and Kim Kang-woo works all those elements into a cohesive, compelling performance.
Now, we just have to hope Badass Black is back, because I’m tired of seeing him moping in prison. Even if that includes showering in prison. I mean, there are showers in the outside world, too—so get on that escape plan! Chop chop.