Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 15
It’s a pretty satisfying episode today, with solid losses and gains on both sides. And while I’m used to the conflict swinging back and forth in favor of the good guys one moment and the bad guys the next, I like that today’s reversals get an added boost by having an unexpected twist. At this stage, anything unexpected is a nice bonus, to keep us—and our axis of evil—on our toes.
SONG OF THE DAY
2BiC – “참아” from the Goodbye Mr. Black OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 15 RECAP
At night, Black sneaks into Swan’s new room in Teacher Baek’s mansion and says he can’t wait. Taking her hand, he asks her to come with him—but Swan pulls her hand free, saying this is her home now.
He persists, repeating his words to her from five years ago: “Then put me up for one night.” He holds his hand out again to take her away, and this time she goes, albeit wearing a long face. He takes her to a hotel suite, which sounds sexier than it is; he means it as a temporary solution, since she doesn’t want to stay with him or Ji-ryun.
She asks if he feels sorry that she’s Baek’s daughter, and he says no, he feels awkward for having pretended not to like her for her safety, when she knew all along he was faking it. “That time feels so wasted,” he says, as though that’s news.
He orders room service and keeps up a stream of cheerful talk while Swan remains withdrawn and downcast, which has the one upside of preventing her from seeing him drop his fork when his grip fails. Black covers it up by joking that the food is bad and hides his shaking hand out of view.
Swan’s burdened by the weight of her father’s crimes, and reminds Black that Sun-jae and Teacher Baek were responsible for what happened to Black’s father and sister. How can she face Ji-soo, she asks, afflicted with dramaland’s time-honored tradition of guilt by proxy.
She rises from the table and he asks her not to leave, reminding her how she stuck with him through all the mean things he told her. Now the idea that she’d turn her back on him frightens him, he says.
Swan tells him firmly not to act weak, advising him to forget about being Black for the time being and live as Ji-won. He replies that he knows her well enough to know leaving like this will just end with her crying alone.
She sidesteps his attempt at a hug, asserting that her name is Baek Eun-young. She doesn’t know what happened to her mother, or why her father never searched for her, or how the kind man in her memory turned out to be Teacher Baek—she moved into his home to ask those things. She urges Black to forget her for now and focus on Baek, because Black can’t beat him this way.
She takes off the black swan necklace, places it in his hand, and walks away. He tells her it’s mean to return a gift just because you’re breaking up, returning it to her hand. “Baek Eun-young,” he says, “I just got dumped by a woman named Kim Swan. Give me a hug before going.”
He holds her close, and she lets him.
Ji-soo goes in for her eye exam, accompanied by Ji-ryun, and asks to feel his face. She recalls Black teasingly saying that Ji-ryun’s looks went from church oppa to church ajusshi, though she amends the ajusshi mention in the retelling to super-successful oppa. Ha.
Ji-ryun has to break the news that her surgery has to be pushed, but tells her Black’s motto, “Spero, spera,” as encouragement: Where there’s life, there’s hope.
He steps aside to let the doctor speak with Ji-soo, and the first thing she does once they’re alone is ask the doctor about that pill she’d found.
Outside, Ji-ryun reads a text from Black, in which he apologizes for wanting to be with Swan despite his condition. His right hand failure will be followed by his right leg, but while he can hold her with that hand, and run to her with that leg, “I want to live being with your sister. I want to die by Swan’s side.”
Just then, the doctor rushes out asking for help, because Ji-soo is having a full-on outburst in the wake of being told what her brother’s pill is for. Ji-ryun grabs her tightly as she struggles, and Sung-min tries to calm her down.
She demands to know what’s wrong with her brother’s head, insisting that they tell her the truth. She screams for someone to bring Sun-jae to her so she can kill him, then sobs as she calls to her father to help her.
Sun-jae sits in an empty room, mentally replaying Mari’s departure. He’s calmer now, and that tearful desperation when he’d begged her to stay has turned into steely determination. He crumples the divorce agreement that Mari’s already signed, and when the housekeeper tells him his father went after Mari to bring her back, he replies coldly, “Don’t allow someone who has left my house without my permission, no matter who that is, back in without my permission.”
The housekeeper agrees, then resumes her search for that recorder fountain pen, breaking into Sun-jae’s office safe. She finds it this time, and stows it in a different safe, where Sung-min later retrieves it.
He plays the recording and confirms that it’s got that incriminating conversation from five years ago when Teacher Baek had promised to make Sun-jae the owner of Sunwoo Group.
But moments later, Sung-min’s cornered by a crowd of gangsters, and with one threat to May’s safety, he gives up the pen. Arg!
Breakfast is a stony affair for Swan, with Teacher Baek already starting in on the stern admonitions not to wander around at night and to speak more obediently. He says her stunt at the stockholders meeting where she revealed Sun-jae’s divorce proceedings is likely to affect the company negatively, and tells her to stay cooped up at home for now.
But Swan challenges him, asking why there are no photos of her mother in this house (he doesn’t want to speak of her mother) and why he ordered Killer to take out Black, saying that he should admit to his wrongs or ask forgiveness. Teacher Baek angrily shoves his dishes off the table, then says that instilling fear in someone is about actions over words.
He also lies that he’s not the one behind Killer, telling her to ask Sun-jae. Swan asks if he knew she was kidnapped, and tells him to be the person to save her next time, rather than someone else.
Black reads breaking news that paints him as the bad guy for revealing inside information, making Sunwoo Construction’s bankruptcy his fault. The story was supplied by Sun-jae, of course, who’s already siphoned away Sunwoo Construction’s assets into Sunwoo Capital and is happy to bankrupt Black’s company.
Sun-jae calls a board meeting and plays the part of the beleaguered leader, attributing the bankruptcy to the deceased chairman’s corrupt activities and failed deals. It’s his duty as the new chairman to do the painful thing and cut Sunwoo Construction loose rather than pouring more money into it. And it’s Black’s fault, he says, for making public something that could have been handled quietly from within.
Black counters that Sunwoo Construction won’t fall so easily, and Sun-jae replies that he can put Black in charge, then, to save it. Everyone knows that’s impossible, but Black accepts the challenge, saying he’ll find out what happened to both the company and the Thailand gas project.
Swan’s still rather glum as she tells Woo-jin that despite being related to Teacher Baek, she’s determined to uncover his crimes as a reporter. Woo-jin advises her to focus on the reporter part and not the rest, jokingly calling her Kim Gil-dong, who shouldn’t call her father her father. (Hong Gil-dong’s famous lament was that his illegitimacy made him unable to call his father his father; Woo-jin’s turning that around as a good thing in Swan’s case.)
Swan also thanks Woo-jin for finding the video to clear Black of his murder charge, and having the conversation turn to Black makes Woo-jin sigh. He notices the swan necklace she’s wearing, and from her reaction he seems to know where it came from. He promises to buy her a real swan later: “A white one!”
Mari calls Swan to the office for an interview, which is how Swan is there to witness the brief face-to-face between Black and Teacher Baek. When Teacher Baek takes him to task for sneaking around at night with his daughter, Black merely introduces himself formally, then approaches Swan and takes her away by the hand.
Black is his usual joking self as he talks about the bankruptcy like it’s a minor bummer, and tells Swan to come talk to him if something happens, rather than holding it in and struggling alone.
Sun-jae asks to speak with Mari, and tells her that her filing for divorce is detrimental to the company and to Black. She replies that she’ll be doing things for herself, not others, from now on.
Sun-jae asks if Mari ever loved him, telling her he spent years loving her as a shadow, and that he’d finally won her over, only to have Black reappear—can’t she understand how he felt, wanting to grab onto her even with that lie about the baby? Mari brings up what he did to Ji-soo, and he counters that Baek was the real culprit there.
But that doesn’t change Mari’s mind, and she tells him to move quickly if he’s going to establish Sunwoo Capital out of the ruined Sunwoo Construction, and suggests that she’ll be the CEO of that company, since she has more shares.
Swan arrives at the table for the interview Mari requested, and Sun-jae is dismissed.
Mari explains to Swan that she can help Black get his company back with her shares, seeming pleased to cling to that hope of being useful to him. Swan says that her work is done here, having broken the divorce story, and that Black will take care of the rest. Mari says with (faux?) understanding that it’ll be difficult for Swan to help him, since it was reportedly Teacher Baek behind everything five years ago.
Black visits Killer in prison to demand to know who’s giving him orders, pointing out that he’s going to be on the hook for the murder of that man in Thailand, showing photos as evidence. Killer isn’t threatened, and smirks as he toys with Black, asking who he thinks it is. Then he names Black’s father, saying that he ordered him to do everything, driven by his drug addiction.
Black just points out that Killer knows too much for his boss to keep alive, and says he hopes he’s still alive the next time he visits.
Killer reports the visit to Teacher Baek and asks for a decision on who to name as his mastermind. Baek meets with Sun-jae to figure out a deal, and Sun-jae replies that they can talk after Baek has cleaned up this messy Thailand problem.
Team Black gets to work trying to prevent Sunwoo Construction’s bankruptcy, and Black hones in on VP Seo as a place to start looking, since he was the most agitated when finding out that the Thailand gas project would be investigated.
They wonder where Sung-min is, figuring he’s shirking work, not knowing that he’s currently being held by Sun-jae’s goons, refusing to sign a document. Sung-min keeps his hands clapped over his eyes, to insist that he never saw his captors and is safe to let go. When Sun-jae drops by to have a word, Sung-min is at his breaking point and begs for one promise, agreeing to do whatever Sun-jae wants as long as his daughter May is kept safe.
Sun-jae agrees, and Sung-min signs the document—a contract between Sunwoo Capital and MRB.
Swan visits Ji-soo in the hospital, and their mood is light enough until Ji-soo asks Swan for information about Sun-jae’s co-conspirator, knowing that there was someone else. Swan’s shaken by that, particularly when Ji-soo vows to seek the man out once her vision is back, swearing never to forgive him.
Black intervenes, getting Swan off the hook, but as a result Swan’s mood is heavy for the rest of the day and she ignores Black’s calls.
Teacher Baek drops in to see Swan’s mother, who is shocked at the news he drops in her lap of recent revelations. Baek insists that Swan misunderstands his role in the chairman’s death and asks Mom to set her straight, but Mom is wary of Baek and warns that if he has the least connection to any of the Cha family’s misfortunes, she won’t let Swan go to him.
Swan arrives and is surprised to see the two sitting together, while her mother is hurt that she didn’t share any of these discoveries with her. Too upset to deal with it now, Mom sends her away for today.
Swan is upset that Baek dropped the bomb with Mom rather than letting her do it, while Baek just tells her not to call her Mom anymore. He adds that the official family registry will be updated soon, which doesn’t sit well with her.
Black sits with his sister and encourages Ji-soo to think ahead to her surgery and of meeting someone and having a happy life, just as he’s hit with a wave of pain. He bears it without making a sound, but Ji-soo notices the extended silence and senses something amiss, not believing his excuse that his mind was just wandering.
Black calls Swan from outside her home, smiling up at her from the street, and sighs in relief as they sit together in his car. He pulls her close to him, and the fall asleep sitting side-by-side, heads resting against each other.
Black identifies VP Seo as an important link in uncovering the Thailand incident, and hears that his second-in-command has just left for Thailand. The baddies are scrambling to cover their asses, especially now that the prosecutors are about to descend on VP Seo for an official investigation. Seo argues that it was Sun-jae who instigated the incident by stealing that bid and embezzling money, but Sun-jae argues that Seo was his superior then. Sun-jae could very well say he was merely following orders.
That puts VP Seo on the defensive, though he does have a strong counter: The chairman discovered Sun-jae’s embezzlement and was sent a strange video right before he died. Seo insinuates that if he’s investigated, Sun-jae’s at risk too.
Sun-jae seems unconcerned, and orders Baek to pin the chairman’s death on VP Seo, agreeing to hand over the casino deal. “Trust me,” he says, which sure sounds like famous last words to me.
Still, VP Seo’s subordinate, Director Nam, calls from Thailand and is on his way to check on their “item.” Ah, that mysterious final card that Seo has against Sun-jae…
Mission: Save Sunwoo Construction is not going well, and a meeting of executives puts a lot of pressure on Black to find a solution. He states that there’s a good possibility of recovery with a casino deal in the works with MRB… and Sun-jae cuts in and hands out some paperwork that makes jaws drop. It’s the contract Sung-min signed, aligning MRB with Sunwoo Capital, which means Construction is out of luck, as well as their rescue plan.
Afterward, Sun-jae “encourages” Black to work hard at saving the company (now that he’s made it nearly impossible), warning that the more information that comes out, the more his father’s name will be posthumously stained. Black returns that he’ll have to reveal Sun-jae’s crimes first, which he pinned on Black’s father.
Sun-jae taunts Black about how it feels to have Swan, the woman he was so determined to protect, turn around and backstab him by being the daughter of his father’s killer. Unruffled, Black just asks, “Aren’t you lonely, Sun-jae-ya? At least five years ago, I’m pretty sure I, Ji-soo, my father, and Mari all loved you. Nobody’s at your side now.”
Sun-jae scoffs at the word “love,” saying that life was more hellish back then, calling them all “cowardly hypocrites.” His mind flashes to his pleas for a second chance five years ago, which the chairman had coldly refused, and says, “Your father, even in his dying moment, turned his back on me as I cried and begged. Do you know that?!”
Black narrows his eyes: “His dying moment? You were with Father then?” He calls Sun-jae a cowardly liar and says that’s the reason he’ll never forgive him.
Sun-jae looks up when Mari steps into the home, though she’s not here to reconcile: She tells the housekeeper to throw away the wedding photo on the wall and change the bedroom furnishings.
Ji-soo asks Ji-ryun about her brother’s condition, guessing that his prognosis is not good, just as hers is for regaining her sight. Still, she asks him to go forward in planning for surgery, and also requests that he look into tracking payment information—while she was imprisoned, there was a man who would come by and pay her caretakers. He agrees, happy to feel needed, and Ji-soo thanks him.
In prison, Killer gets slipped a note. He smirks—it must the message telling him who to name and take down with him.
But VP Seo isn’t out of the game yet, and he gets confirmation from Director Nam that “the item” is there. Nam stands before a vault of some sort, and in a flashback, we’re reminded that he had seen the chairman’s dead body five years ago, when Sun-jae had faked big crocodile tears of grief over the man’s drug problem. But Nam had been able to see then that drugs weren’t the cause of death, and VP Seo had instructed him to swap bodies. Ahhhh—is that a morgue he’s standing in?
Another Sunwoo Construction board meeting is called, and this time a gathering of reporters is present, busily snapping photos as Black and his team joins the grumbling stockholders. Swan and Woo-jin enter in reporter mode, and Black sends her a smile before beginning the meeting.
Sun-jae smirks to himself as Black begins, finding Black’s plan to cut spending and extend repayment terms weak. But then Black says MRB will be investing as well, which takes everyone by surprise, since MRB already signed with Sunwoo Capital.
“Did that happen?” Black asks innocently. And Sung-min joins the group and winks at his team, before stepping aside to make way for a group of men—one of whom Black introduces as MRB’s CEO.
The CEO states that there’s been a misunderstanding, and MRB has no intention of proceeding with anyone other than Sunwoo Construction. Sung-min had actually resigned his position as CEO, telling nobody else but Black. So his signature has no validity.
A flashback reveals that Black had come up with this idea a while back, anticipating Sun-jae’s shenanigans.
So now the pendulum is back on Black’s side, and he states that the biggest factor in the company’s ruin was mismanagement, pointing to Sun-jae’s carelessness in contracting without doing his due diligence. As such, he makes the motion to fire Sun-jae as president.
This time it’s Sun-jae who’s left stewing as the meeting closes, and Sung-min tells great pleasure in warning him not to lay a hand on May, threatening him with the secret video he’d shot while held captive. Muahaha.
Teacher Baek and Sun-jae both receive a disturbing text message: a photo of the chairman’s corpse with the demand for a huge sum (10 million won) if they want to know where the body is. If they fail to pay up, the info goes to Black.
Both villains gape in alarm, got good.
Swan writes the story (under Woo-jin’s watchful pestering) and heads home on the bus that night. At the last moment, a figure darts onto the bus.
Swan gets a string of texts from Black, asking where she went and suggesting they eat dinner together. The messages make her smile, and the next text reads, “So you smile when I’m not around.”
She looks around in surprise, and there he is, kneeling in the aisle right in her face, wearing that charming smile.
“I love you,” he says. He puts her hand on his heart and adds, “While I’m living… and when I’m dead. I love you.”
Well, finally! I’m not sure this confession really changes anything for the couple on a philosophical level, since it doesn’t change the burden she feels of being Black’s father’s killer’s long-lost biological child—and really, that description alone should point out how absurd her guilt complex is. But on a broader meta level, we all know that this bout of tag-team noble idiocy was more necessary for the plot than it was for the characters in the plot, so I’m not about to argue against seeing it end.
And I’m not even sure it is at an end, because we’ve still got a while to go and maybe the angst will be rebounding for another round. But I like seeing that despite being determined to rule themselves with mind over heart, it’s getting harder to ignore the heart side of things, which at least helps me feel their romantic tension more. (It’s not really a coupling I’ve felt very strongly for, sadly, so any bit helps.)
I do want to move on from Swan pushing everyone away now, not least because I’d rather see people happy. But it’s also because while her feelings do make a certain amount of logical sense, inasmuch as it’s a classic case of the “sins of my father” conflict, it’s a rather weak example of that trope. Even if I concede that perhaps she’s feeling unstable in a position she’d only just gotten settled in, and maybe she’s never felt like she belonged, or deserved to belong, I can’t believe that anybody in Black’s circle would hold Swan the least bit responsible for her father’s actions, or even unconsciously resent her for it. It’s stretching the martyr complex pretty thin, and I’m ready to move past it.
Now that his wife has turned against him too, I like seeing Sun-jae pushed against the wall, because that’s where he’s the most interestingly complicated, a blend of blubbering weakness and iron-fisted cruelty. While he could initially fool himself by blaming circumstances beyond his control—his reckless father, his disadvantaged background—it’s sad that he lost his best thing (Mari, and to a lesser extent his friendship with Black) on his own merits alone.
The business dealings are only ever marginally interesting for me, so I’m really much more invested in this whole bit-of-metal-in-Black’s-brain thing, which is escalating to a worrisome degree. This is a case where I’m unsure of what direction the story means to take, and while I’m fairly certain the producers will take it in a blander route than I would like, I do still look forward to the progression. I mean, it’s not like I want Black to die… but I want to feel lots of fear that he might! It’s storytelling sadism, and it’s a time-honored tradition!
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 14
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 13
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 12
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 11
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 10
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 9
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 8
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 7
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 6
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 5
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 4
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 3
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 2
- Goodbye Mr. Black: Episode 1