Black: Episode 2
Who knew that a Grim Reaper could be so hilarious? Not that death is exactly all fun and games (just ask Ha-ram and her terrifying visions), but when there’s a supernatural being who barely deigns to tolerate humans and their petty rules of polite society — despite becoming human himself — then zany shenanigans are bound to happen.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
A bride and groom drive along a road, happy in their newly married life. But in the back seat sits a Grim Reaper, patiently waiting for the moment a truck driver dozes off at the wheel and drifts into the oncoming lane. The groom is forced to swerve around the Truck of Doom, causing the car to roll.
Bloody and injured from the accident, the bride calls out for her dying husband. As the Reaper walks closer to the car, a voice reminds him that he must not look into the eyes of anyone who’s ever been in love. If he does, then a horrible tragedy will befall him. The Reaper looks into the woman’s eyes.
Moo-gang’s mother rushes to the ER, but her worst fears are confirmed when Soo-wan, still bloody from her failed attempt to save Moo-gang’s life, starts to cry. Another doctor runs to them, freaked out because he just saw Moo-gang in the hallway. Everyone runs to the morgue, but much to their shock, Moo-gang’s body is no longer there.
Ha-ram attempts to hang herself, and just as she’s pushed away the chair, the news reports that Moo-gang is still alive. Ha-ram struggles to get her footing, but the chair is too far away. As she begins to lose consciousness, she desperately begs her father to help her live.
Ha-ram wakes up to Man-soo’s dog licking her face. She freaks out to find him and the dog in her apartment, but Man-soo quickly explains that he’s not a thief — the dog actually saved her life.
Man-soo totally believes she’s a fortune teller, and he got her information when she was the police station. He wanted her to tell him if his dog is gong to die soon, but when no one answered the door, he was just going to leave. His dog kept insistently barking at the door, though, so Man-soo broke in and managed to pull Ha-ram down in time.
Instead of answering, Ha-ram gets him to drive her to the hospital. On the way there, she spots the Reaper-possessed Moo-gang waiting to cross the street. She orders Man-soo to park so she can run over to Reaper Moo-gang. Ha-ram calls him “Joon Oppa,” the name she knew him as during her childhood, but Reaper Moo-gang just shoves her out of the way, causing the red thread bracelet to be ripped off his wrist.
Reaper Moo-gang staggers and passes out, and Ha-ram takes him back to the hospital. Even though there’s still a bullet in his brain, all the tests that are run on him came back normal.
One of the hospital administrators arrives to check in with Mom and see how she’s faring with this surprise news of her son. The administrator seems super shady when he’s alone in his office, though, and glares at CCTV footage of Moo-gang leaving the hospital.
Moo-gang is asleep when the masked figure from before appears at his bedside, this time with a syringe filled with something that he puts into Moo-gang’s IV bag. The masked man tells someone over the phone that “it’s taken care of.”
As the man leaves the room, he runs into Ha-ram at the elevator, where she accidentally knocks the empty syringe from his hand. Ha-ram doesn’t think anything about it, except to grumble at how rude the man is when he doesn’t thank her for picking it up for him.
Reaper Moo-gang wakes up in the hospital bed to find Soo-wan asleep by him, still holding his hand. Moo-gang snatches his hand from her as he sits up, and she wakes up, worried about how he’s feeling. Soo-wan tearfully apologizes, saying that it was all her fault.
Going back to the conversation they had a month ago on the rooftop, she tells Moo-gang that she didn’t approach him on purpose. But Reaper Moo-gang (who we’ll call Black when he’s in Reaper form) cuts her off, wondering why seeing her makes his heart do strange things.
He puts her hand to his chest, asking why he feels a fluttering. A flashback shows that the first time Moo-gang met Soo-wan at the hospital, he felt the same fluttering. Black wonders if his heart is defective, and Soo-wan repeats the words Moo-gang told her originally — that the heart recognizes the person you’re supposed to be with.
Black scoffs at such ridiculousness and orders Soo-wan to get out. Soo-wan slowly does, and Ha-ram, who’s been listening at the door all this time, scurries to hide around the corner.
Ha-ram has fixed the broken bracelet, and she quietly enters the hospital room where Black is once again sleeping. She studies his face, realizing that she was an idiot not to recognize her childhood first love, Joon Oppa.
In a flashback, young Ha-ram confesses that she loves everything about Joon Oppa, much to the boy’s amusement. She even promises to become his bride when she grows up, then bursts into tears as she asks him to not like “that other girl.” In order to appease her, Joon Oppa promises to marry her, and they pinky-swear on it.
At the hospital, Ha-ram smiles as she remembers that day, and then tries to put the bracelet back on the sleeping Black. But he wakes up and swiftly pins her to the bed as if ready to attack, until she coughs out that she’s Ha-ram.
She pleads with him to remember who she is, and Black growls at her to get out. His head wound still seems to cause him pain, and he writhes on the bed. Ha-ram finds it impossible to believe that he can’t remember her when he’s been wearing the bracelet all these years, and calls him a jerk as she storms out of the room.
In the morning, Ha-ram’s angry and determined to make Moo-gang remember her. But just as she barges into the hospital room, she finds him with one foot in the refrigerator. Ha! Black is mostly annoyed that his exit has been interrupted, and Ha-ram’s anger disappears as she stares at him in bafflement.
Sighing, he leaves the hospital the normal human way, but Ha-ram follows after him, begging “oppa” to remember her. Irritated, Black finally stops in his tracks, demanding to know what she wants from him.
Ha-ram’s convinced that Moo-gang recognized her that day at the fast food restaurant, because he kept track of her and said the exact same thing that Joon Oppa did about her visions being a blessing and not a curse. After all, there aren’t many people out there who have the ability to see death.
As she chatters at him, Black lifts up a manhole to escape, but at Ha-ram’s terrified reaction that he’s going to throw it at her, he sets it back down and runs off to the closest bus stop. He’s trying to lose Ha-ram, but when he orders the bus driver to hurry and go, the driver refuses until Black pays his fare.
That gives Ha-ram enough time to catch up, much to Black’s annoyance, and she pays for both of their bus fares.
Moo-gang’s mother throws a fit when she finds out that her son has once again vanished from the hospital, but a call from Ha-ram reassures everyone that she’s with him, although she doesn’t know exactly where he’s going.
Black is determined to find a way to shake Ha-ram. But Black also causes endless issues on the bus by refusing to hold onto the bus straps, refusing to apologize for stepping on a passenger’s toes (“Why? Would it cause your foot to hurt less?”), and refusing listen to a woman who tells him to sit down and shut up (“I don’t take orders from humans!”).
Black refuses to give up his seat to a little old lady, matter-of-factly telling her that she won’t die soon. He then considers the old woman to be rude because she keeps pushing him, although he’s actually the rude one, since the elderly have priority for those seats. When Ha-ram is distracted by holding onto the woman’s belongings, Black hurries off the bus.
He steps into a wardrobe that’s sitting next to a moving truck and disappears, only to reappear in the police station bathroom. Kwang-kyun is at the urinal, surprised to see his partner there — and wearing nothing but a hospital gown, jacket, and boots. Black stares him down, but once he realizes that Kwang-kyun is a detective, he literally twists Kwang-kyun’s arm to help him find an address of a man he’s looking for.
Kwang-kyun reluctantly gives the address to him, realizing that Moo-gang is probably suffering some effects of the gunshot, which is why he isn’t his usual self.
The address takes Black to a food cart ahjumma, who stares at his odd attire. He tells her that he’s tailing someone, and she wonders who it could be. Black: “You.” She takes pity on him, assuming he’s not in his right mind, and gives him a few dollars.
But Black actually has his sight set on a loan shark that’s there to shake down the food cart ahjumma for money. The loan shark sees Black, but can’t take him seriously in his strange getup. It doesn’t matter, because Black easily knocks the loan shark to the ground, but as soon as he puts a gun to the man’s head, he realizes that he’s not the person he’s looking for after all.
The loan shark has gangster friends, though, and not just any gangsters — they’re the same ones Moo-gang vomited on that night at the restaurant. They’re confident that they can take on what they think is a weak detective, but the kickass Reaper easily defeats them all.
The next place Black goes to is a girl’s high school, since apparently, the person he’s trying to find has a sister. He crouches as he waits outside, unconcerned that Moo-gang’s genitals are on display for all to see. He sees an ad for a black trench coat (the classic Reaper attire!), and heads to a high-end shop to buy one for himself.
The shop keeper is stunned when Black proudly hands over the 3,000 won the food cart lady gave him, even though the coat costs over 2,000,000 won.
Before she can do anything about it, Black disappears though the dressing room door and reappears in the girl’s high school bathroom, where he admires his new coat — completely unconcerned that he’s still naked beneath it.
He’s immediately arrested as a pervert, a word that doesn’t mean anything to him — nor does common decency, as he sees no reason to cover up just because the officer tells him to. Black finally remembers what his human name is, but when the exasperated officer asks for his social security number, Black grandly says that he’s not of this society, so he doesn’t need one. Pffft.
Black is distracted by the scent of food as he realizes that he’s hungry. He shoves his way to where the other detectives are eating and, without asking, starts chowing down. When he’s given the phone to speak to Kwang-kyun, Black seems vaguely offended when someone points out that he’s holding the phone upside down.
Kwang-kyun is calling because there’s a murder they have to check out. The woman, a head doctor at a local mental health clinic, was slashed repeatedly in the abdomen, enough that her intestines spilled out. The attacker was a patient at the hospital, staying there under an assumed name, and the only clue they have right now of the killer’s identity is a partially burnt photograph of a high school student — a student that looks an awful lot like Joon Oppa.
Black realizes that he has to follow Kwang-kyun’s orders or else Moo-gang will be fired as a detective, which will screw up all of Black’s plans. So he goes to the hospital by way of his magic bathroom portal.
Hahaha, when the detectives realize that Moo-gang is headed their way, they hurry to shield the body, since they assume that he’s going to vomit all over it. One of them even gives him a bag to use, asking him to just throw up now and get it out of the way.
Black surprises everyone when he not only doesn’t lose his cookies, but he also crouches next to the body, accurately analyzing the brutal way in which the woman was killed. He even picks up a portion of the woman’s intestines, which causes all the other detectives to retch.
They’re stunned by Black’s detailed assessment that the woman was likely killed by a professional assassin, but he just nonchalantly tells him he’s been studying causes of death for years.
Kwang-kyun is furious that someone ordered food delivered to a crime scene, but of course it’s for the hungry Black, who delights in a stew filled with bits of offal. The other detectives are stunned that the Moo-gang they know can eat right now, and when they get sent a video of Black easily taking down a gang of dozen men, Kwang-kyun wonders if Black really is Moo-gang.
That causes Black to spit out his food, which lands next to the dead body. A good piece of offal can’t be wasted, though, and all the other detectives go diving for a place to puke when Black picks up the food from where it’s sitting in the dead woman’s blood — and then happily eats it. Ew.
Realizing that something is clearly not right with his partner, Kwang-kyun escorts him back to the hospital. Moo-gang’s mother is worried that the gunshot wound has given her son amnesia (in addition to his other odd behaviors) since he can’t seem to remember who she or Soo-wan are. For Soo-wan, Moo-gang’s memory loss would be an asset, because it would mean he’ll have forgotten about their conversation on the rooftop.
When Ha-ram remembers how Black didn’t recognize her, she tosses the red thread bracelet away, declaring that she’s giving up on her first love.
Meanwhile, Man-soo happily polishes his new CEO name plate, but his joy is quickly dashed when he learns that Royal Insurance is declaring bankruptcy and will be sold off.
Ha-ram gets a call from her landlady, who tells Ha-ram that she’s returned her security deposit because Ha-ram’s father stopped by and said that Ha-ram was moving out. That’s a surprise to Ha-ram, who of course doesn’t have a father.
Ha-ram goes to someone’s house, where she pounds on the door until the woman’s son lets Ha-ram in. Ha-ram searches the woman’s belongings until she finds a package hidden in a corner. When she opens it, Ha-ram’s surprised that it’s her father’s old detective’s badge, wallet, and keys. Ohhhh, is this her mother’s house?
The boy says that sometimes his mother pulls out those items and cries over them, which also surprises Ha-ram. She looks at the photos in the wallet, then pulls out an old folded paper that says that they know that Ha-ram’s father didn’t die from losing his footing, and the note’s author asks to meet with Ha-ram’s mother.
A flashback shows young Ha-ram shocked to see the Death Shadow lingering around her father. Dad quietly reassures her that it’s okay, then asks if she can see how he will die. Young Ha-ram touches the Shadow, revealing that someone with a spider tattoo on his hand will push Dad off a building.
Dad promises young Ha-ram that he’ll catch the bad guy before anything can happen, and that he’ll be home soon. He leaves despite young Ha-ram’s desperate attempts to get him to stay.
Adult Ha-ram runs to the hospital, where her mother works as a nurse, and as she does, she remembers that day when she saw her father’s dead body. She also saw a man with a spider tattoo disappearing into the crowd, but no one listened to her when she insisted that he was the man who killed her father.
At the hospital, Ha-ram demands to know why Mom never reported Dad’s death to the police, even after receiving a note from someone who knew his death wasn’t an accident. Ha-ram angrily asks why Mom didn’t bother to even meet with that person, but Mom says it’s not like it would have changed anything.
Ha-ram screams in frustration, because once again, her visions of Dad’s death are dismissed, but Mom pleads with Ha-ram to keep her visions a secret, like she’s always told her to do. Ha-ram blames Mom for abandoning young her and Dad though, and for not following up with how Dad died. Ha-ram shrieks that Mom is no better than Dad’s murderer.
Mom screams that back then she didn’t care if Dad’s death was a murder or an accident. She says that Dad had to die because everything went wrong, including her falling in love with him and giving birth to Ha-ram. Ha-ram cries as she runs away from the hospital.
Moo-gang’s mother and Soo-wan drive Black home — or, at least, Moo-gang’s home. Black wanders around the house, sneering at the tacky decor. Ha.
Ha-ram realizes that Moo-gang should be able to help her track down the person who originally wrote the note, but she doesn’t know where Moo-gang is now that he’s been discharged from the hospital. She wonders if he’s still living at the address that Joon Oppa gave her when he moved away.
Ha-ram returns to her apartment to find a man rummaging through her belongings. He’s the one who lied that she was moving out so he could take her security deposit, and now he finds her secret stash of savings, promising that he’ll hit the jackpot and pay her back with interest. The man seems to know about her visions, since he blames them for her father’s death.
Ha-ram threatens to give him a “reading,” using her “powers” just like when her father died. She screams and flails about as she tells him that if he leaves her house with the money, he’ll immediately die. The man doesn’t really care, though, since he needs the money to protect him from the loan sharks who will kill him anyway.
It’s dark and stormy, and Black watches out the window as a man walks slowly towards the house, leaving bloody footprints in the rain.
Huddled on the floor of her apartment, Ha-ram quietly calls out for Joon Oppa. She hears Joon Oppa’s voice telling her to get up so she won’t catch a cold. In a vision, she sees the young boy surrounded by a black cloud. She tearfully asks why he never wrote her, and why he pretended not to recognize her. She reaches out for him, but he fades away.
Ha-ram, coming out of her vision, wonders if Joon Oppa is dead, seeing the red thread bracelet on the floor where she threw it away previously.
At the police station, the detectives have been working on tracking down the murderer from the mental hospital. But even though the man was supposedly a patient, there are no hospital records, and no DNA evidence was found in the patient’s room.
The man with the bloody footsteps enters Moo-gang’s house, and it’s none other than Moo-gang, in the outfit he was killed in, with blood streaming from his head. Moo-gang stares at Black, asking, “Who are you?”
Watching from a telescope across the way is the man who had originally tried to take Moo-gang’s eyes. Behind him is a wall filled with photographs of Moo-gang, and a flashback reveals that Moo-gang was actually killed not by the man holding him hostage, but by a sniper under someone’s orders.
As Moo-gang fell to the ground after being shot, he saw an outline of three figures, one of whom vowed to catch someone with his own hands. These are presumably three Reapers, because Black tells the confused and bloody Moo-gang that Moo-gang actually died that day.
Moo-gang continues to ask who the man is, and Black’s appearance changes into his true Reaper form.
Oooooh, what a fun and unexpected cameo from Kim Tae-woo, who will hopefully stick around a little longer and explain what the heck is going on — not just to poor Moo-gang, but to all us viewers as well. It does make me wonder if only Moo-gang can see Reaper’s real form, since he kept asking “Who are you?” even when we only saw Black. Then again, I have to remind myself that Moo-gang is dead (sniffle, sniffle), so of course he’s probably on some spiritual plane and therefore only sees the true Reaper form. I’m foolishly hoping that there will be some way to save Moo-gang, if only because my heart breaks for Ha-ram’s affection for her childhood oppa and her resulting despair in realizing that something dire has happened to him (especially after realizing he was “alive” gave her reason to live). But I’m also excited that we’re actually delving more into the supernatural and slowly unraveling some mysteries.
I’d really appreciate it, though, if OCN would make me a relationship chart so I could figure out why all these minor characters seem to matter (just who is that guy that was digging around for money Ha-ram’s apartment?), or that I wouldn’t feel dumb realizing their connections much later (such as realizing that this woman is Ha-ram’s mother). I’m trying to relax and let the story take its natural course and unravel itself at its own pace, but when there are so many details that continue to be thrown my way, how can I not be impatiently desperate in my desire to organize and understand how everything is connected?
Black seems to be on the hunt for someone — another Reaper, I presume — but needs Moo-gang and his detective status to do that. Moo-gang, who has also been investigating a twenty-year-old mystery, had his secret room filled with… secrets. Moo-gang’s mother, who works at a hospital owned by Royal Group, works with an administrator who I can already tell is super shady. Then there’s Royal Group, who’s about to throw its goofy superstitious chaebol Man-soo under the bus to protect their other businesses. And also Soo-wan, who hid her identity even though she grew up in the same town as Moo-gang (and whom I’m assuming was “the other girl” young Ha-ram was crying over in the flashback when Ha-ram begged Joon Oppa to marry her instead). Then there’s the fact that Moo-gang apparently can’t remember he’s Joon Oppa of Ha-ram’s childhood, the mysterious mental patient assassin who left no traces behind except for a partially burnt photograph of Joon Oppa, the man with the spider tattoo, who’s definitely going to show up again, because why else would they give us that important detail and then let him vanish without a trace?
I’m definitely in no rush for Black to figure out human society, though. Given the heavy tone of the first episode, I was not expecting so many laughs in this show, but I’m not complaining. I loved every minute that Black was obnoxiously arrogant as he single-mindedly pursued his goal, yet all the while being completely clueless about everyday human life. I have no idea why he can enter anything closet-like and only exit into bathrooms, but it’s a delightful detail (and makes me wonder if Black was the one who entered Ha-ram’s sauna locker in the previous episode, causing her to think she imagined the door closing despite it being locked).
Also, I’m not above admitting that I appreciated every moment of Song Seung-heon’s nakedness. From what I’ve heard, I suppose I should consider myself lucky that this is the first drama I’ve ever seen him in, but honestly I think he’s doing great — and not just because of his sculpted six pack. Even though I know that Black’s confident and obnoxious behavior is diametrically opposed to the bumbling, weak-stomached Moo-gang just so we can appreciate the difference between the human and the supernatural being, I still appreciate that Song Seung-heon has me fully believing they are definitely two different, uh, “people.”
While the first couple of episodes have been a little bumpy just based on the sheer volume of information that’s been shoved our way (nearly three hours of details that will probably end up important later), I have faith that the show will settle in and that I won’t feel like I’m constantly scrambling as scenes zip by. If nothing else, I’m excited that we’ll finally get to experience more Reapers and maybe learn why Ha-ram can see the Shadows.
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