Black: Episode 5
Ha-ram does all she can to save a child’s life while Black takes a walk down memory lane. Or at least he has some of Moo-gang’s memories. Or maybe they are Joon’s memories. At any rate, there are memories, and they may help explain the connection of the present to what happened twenty years ago.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Ha-ram agrees to stay by Black’s side, but in return begs him to help her save the life of Gun-young, the little boy whom she saw, via a Shadow-vision, be buried alive inside a suitcase. When Black realizes that the Shadow she saw wasn’t inside the boy (which is the only Shadow he’s interested in), he tells Ha-ram that she can save the boy by herself.
When he grumblingly returns back to the house, Black’s startled to see Hip-hop and Joseon hanging out on the porch. Joseon wonders what Black will do if Ha-ram saves the little boy. If she does, then word will get back to the Death Squad that Black is meddling in human affairs, because if Black hadn’t ignored his original assignment to reap Ha-ram’s soul so that he could use her ability to help find Loser, then she wouldn’t be alive to save the little boy’s life.
Joseon reminds Black that the punishment for meddling with human lives will put Black’s fate in peril. Haha, Hip-hop scoffs at Joseon’s imperious way of speaking, adding that Joseon watches too many sageuks.
Black desperately tries to track down Ha-ram, but she isn’t at home, so he portals his way to the police station — via the bathroom, of course. So-tae, with his never-ending need to pee, is at the urinal, and when he sees Black pop out of stall, So-tae tells him that he knows Black’s secret. Black holds his breath. So-tae: “You have constipation.” Ha!
So-tae refuses to help Black track down the location of a phone number, pointing out that it’s illegal unless there’s due cause. But he does show Black that Moo-gang saved Ha-ram as part of his Friends Locator (which Moo-gang did right after Ha-ram had the original hostage arrested for his own safety, so Moo-gang could find Ha-ram faster than he did that day).
The app shows Ha-ram back in Mu-jin, where she’s patiently staking out Gun-young’s house. The boy’s teacher stops by, asking Gun-young’s mother if he’ll be coming to school, but his mother says that since he was out wandering late last night, eating sugar that he shouldn’t have, he’ll be staying home today.
Ha-ram pops out of her hiding place (accidentally dropping her banana peel as she does so), asking the teacher if he knows of anyone at the school that might be wearing a bandage. Her Shadow-vision showed that the person burying Gun-young had a bandage with a stamp on his hand. Before the teacher can answer, a passing bicyclist slips on Ha-ram’s banana peel and swerves towards them. The teacher tries to shield Ha-ram, but ends up falling and cutting his hand.
Feeling responsible, Ha-ram waits at the hospital for the teacher’s wound to be tended to — and realizes that the bandage he’s wearing on his hand is similar to the one from her vision. Ha-ram finds it hard to believe, though, and reminds herself that the hand in her vision had a stamp on it.
Black portals into Mujin, trying to track down Ha-ram. But not even a supernatural being can prevent a phone battery from dying, so he’s left without his GPS tracker. Black sees a boy with two Reapers following him, and assumes it must be Gun-young. Black decides to also follow Gun-young, since he needs to make sure that Ha-ram doesn’t save the boy’s life.
Ha-ram keeps an eye on the teacher, but just as she’s convinced that the killer can’t possibly be him, he tells his students to line-up so he can put “good job” stamps on their art works. The stamp falls, and one of the students picks it up and stamps the teacher’s bandage. Ha-ram realizes that this is the killer from her vision.
Mujin police chief commissioner Song Jae-geun stares at the photo of teenage Soo-jin, remembering when he was a simple patrol officer and saw her walking past his car late at night.
He’d called to her, teasing her about her bowl-shaped hair cut and warning her not to wander around so late or “Clara” will kick her out. He explained to his patrol partner (Ha-ram’s father!) that he pities Jin-sook, since she was born with polio and consequently abandoned by her parents, and as a teenager was taken in by the owner of a bar who makes her do chores for a living.
Commissioner Song digs around in his locked files until he finds his old case notebook from back then, where he’d noted the possibility that Jin-sook could be involved with a teenage prostitution ring that had vanished as soon as the cops had tried to crack down on it.
Ha-ram calls Man-soo, asking him to help her find information on Gun-young’s teacher. Man-soo’s in the elevator at Royal Hospital, and grumbles that Ha-ram must think he’s her own personal detective.
Also in the elevator is Soo-wan, who ignores him until she sees Commissioner Song step on the elevator. Her eyes grow wide in fear as she hides her face behind her patient’s charts. Commissioner Song pleasantly greets Man-soo (since he’s an old friend of Man-soo’s father), and Man-soo offers to take Commissioner Song to his father’s hospital room.
Soo-wan hurriedly rushes off the elevator, desperate to avoid Commissioner Song seeing her, but he calls out to her as she passes. Terrified, she slowly turns around — but it’s only to tell her that she dropped her pen. He doesn’t seem to recognize her.
Commissioner Song isn’t just there to see an old friend, but to confirm his suspicions about Man-soo’s father’s watch. He remembers years ago when Man-soo’s father bragged about the one-of-a-kind designer watch with a butterfly on the face. Commissioner Song saw that same watch on the man in the CCTV video of Jin-sook before her murder — but when he checks Man-soo’s father’s wrist, there’s no watch.
Commissioner Song suspects Man-soo’s father, since previously Clara had accused him of getting sexual favors from a teenage girl. He’d desperately asked Man-soo’s father if it was true, warning him that the police would have to investigate.
Man-soo’s father pleaded with Commissioner Song to help save him and bury the case since he heard the girl ran away, so there wouldn’t be witnesses. Commissioner Song pointed out that it could ruin his career. Both men, though, were surprised when they saw Man-ho standing nearby, having overheard everything.
Man-ho also surprises Commissioner Song in the present day by entering the hospital room. Commissioner Song asks Man-ho about the butterfly watch, and Man-ho says that his father gave it to him years ago. Man-ho carefully watches Commissioner Song leave the hospital room, and Commissioner Song calls someone, asking to meet right away.
Black follows Gun-young and his Reapers to an apartment complex. Gun-young seems to be looking for a particular apartment window, and when he finds it, he starts to scale the pipes on the outside wall until he reaches the window a couple of stories up. Gun-young crawls through the window, calling for someone named Eun-hye.
The teacher, watching a security camera feed on his phone, sees Gun-young inside his house. The teacher quickly leaves the school to go home. Ha-ram follows him as Man-soo calls to report his findings on the teacher.
According to Man-soo’s intel, there doesn’t seem to be anything strange about the teacher. The man graduated from a good college, won educator awards, and worked at a special education school in Paris. But when Man-soo pulls up the teacher’s French file, he finds that the teacher was arrested for child molestation and child pornography while in Paris, but the case was suspended because the man fled back to Korea.
Ha-ram recognizes the neighborhood as the one where she found Gun-young last night, and realizes that Gun-young must have been looking for the teacher’s apartment. She goes to a rooftop to get a better view, and spots the teacher dragging a suitcase into his car. Ha-ram calls Gun-young’s parents to make sure he’s at home, they tell her they’re actually out looking for him because he’s disappeared again.
Ha-ram runs downstairs to block the teacher’s car. He remembers her from earlier, but has no idea what her problem is as she continually throws herself in front of his car, trying to get him to stop. As he traps her hand in the window, causing her to be dragged alongside the car, the teacher says that he’ll kill her if he has to.
Suddenly Black appears and slams his hands down on the car’s hood, using his supernatural strength to force the car to stop. Black then drags the teacher out of the car, punching him until the teacher is knocked out. Ha-ram hurries to the trunk to unzip the suitcase, revealing a child bound-and-gagged inside — but that child is not Gun-young.
A flashback to yesterday shows Gun-young playing with his friend, Eun-hye, when the teacher appears and asks if they want to see his new puppy. Both kids are excited to go with the teacher, but he only wants Eun-hye, telling Gun-young that he can see the puppy another time.
Later that night, the teacher rolls his suitcase into his apartment, whispering to Eun-hye who is hidden inside that if she keeps quiet, she can see the puppy soon.
Outside, Gun-young wanders the apartment complex, pouting that he wants to see the puppy, too. When he spots his teacher in the apartment window, the boy clambers up the side of the building and enters, calling for the puppy.
Gun-young finds Eun-hye huddled on the floor. She tells him that her stomach hurts, and Gun-young thinks it’s because she’s hungry. He climbs out of the window, getting his sock caught on the window sill, as he heads to the store to get her something to eat.
That’s when Ha-ram found him at the convenience store, gobbling down chocolate with his pockets filled with candy. When the teacher returned home that night, he found Gun-young’s sock and checked his security video, realizing that Gun-young was there.
Which is why he stopped by Gun-young’s home that morning to see if he would be going to school. But Gun-young saw the bag of snacks Ha-ram bought him and decided to take it to Eun-hye, which is where Black followed him.
As Gun-young tries to feed her, Eun-hye cries that she misses her grandmother. Gun-young tries to convince the scared Eun-hye to follow him out the window and climb down the pipes, but poor Eun-hye is too scared. The teacher suddenly returns home, and his sudden appearance at the window startles Gun-young, causing him to lose his grip and fall to the ground below.
The teacher tries to silence Eun-hye so none of the startled onlookers below will know she’s there, but his efforts accidentally throw her against the wall, where she hits her head and is knocked out. That’s when he loaded her into the suitcase and tried to make his getaway before Ha-ram and Black stopped him.
Commissioner Song drives along a pleasant country road, on his way to meet someone. But a Truck of Doom barrels down at him, and Commissioner Song swerves to avoid the truck, only to smash into a tree.
The truck driver jumps out and walks over to Commissioner Song’s car. It’s not to help Commissioner Song, who is bloodied and unconscious, because actually the truck driver is also the man with the missing middle finger and the man who tried to steal Moo-gang’s eyes. He calls someone, letting them know “it’s taken care of.” That’s Truck of Doom: 3, Humans: 0.
Thankfully, Eun-hye’s head injury isn’t serious, and she should be better soon. A social worker informs Ha-ram that the teacher didn’t have a chance to do anything to Eun-hye once he kidnapped her, since he was more concerned about Gun-young telling someone where she was. But the teacher did specifically target Eun-hye because she has developmental disabilities and only lives with a grandmother, so the teacher was confident she’d never report him.
At the police station, Ha-ram confirms that the teacher was planning to kill Gun-young since Gun-young knew too much, which means her vision was originally correct. As she and Black leave the police station, they run into Gun-young’s father just arriving, who reassures Ha-ram that Gun-young is okay at safe at home. But then Gun-young’s father is ready to kill the teacher, and has to be physically separated from him by his fellow policemen.
Ha-ram still wants to see Gun-young with her own eyes and make sure he’s okay. She stops by his house, and sees him asleep in the living room, which is enough proof for her that she successfully saved his life.
Ha-ram, in a happy mood, thanks Black for saving her own life by stopping the teacher’s car. She wonders how Black knew where she was, and he reminds her that she’s added to his friends network. She also thanks him for helping, even though he said he was too busy. Black: “There’s nothing more important than saving lives.” Pffft, sure, buddy.
She muses that even though Black lost his memory (or Moo-gang/Joon’s memory), he’s still the same because he did the right thing. Ha-ram: “You were really cool.”
Black puffs up with pride by the compliment, arrogantly admitting he is, indeed, pretty cool. But Ha-ram shuts him down by telling him she was actually referring to how he was as a kid. When Black demands to know what she thinks of him now, she says she’ll tell him later after she’s kept an eye on him. Once he’s out of earshot, Ha-ram confesses that he’s actually become more handsome and cool.
Back in Seoul, Kwang-kyun painstakingly goes through the CCTV footage he got from Mujin, but it’s so low quality it’s hard to make out anything useful. He’s still waiting for it to be restored by the lab, but in the meantime, he checks his old-school flip phone to see that there’s a voicemail from Commissioner Song, asking to meet.
But when Kwang-kyun calls, he gets the voice of a stranger telling him there’s been an accident.
On the bus ride back to Seoul, Ha-ram dozes off while Black stares out the window. He sees what looks like Joon and the younger boy headed into a school, and as he wonders what it could be, Ha-ram wakes up and yells at the bus to stop. It’s their old elementary school, and Ha-ram is surprised that Black remembers it until he points out that the name is on the sign. Ha.
She hopes it might spark some memories, though, and as they wander the grounds, she tells him that she used to feel like an outcast. The other kids at school would mock and tease her because she kept her eyes on the ground, afraid of seeing Shadows.
Then one day Joon showed up and, in a total swoonworthy moment for a sixth grader, put his headphones on her so she could listen to music and tune out the other kids’ taunts. Then he single-handedly beats up the bullies.
Once the other kids run away, Joon introduces himself and tells her that she shouldn’t cry when the other kids bother her. Instead, she should tell them: “Shall I poke your eyes with utility poles, spoon out your eyeballs, and suck the fluid out of them?” Hahaha, so that’s where Ha-ram learned her colorful threats.
Ha-ram muses that it’s interesting the very first words she told Moo-gang that night at the fast-food restaurant were the same words that he taught her as a child. She also uses that phrase as a sort of talisman to help her the past twenty years, when dealing with all the people who would whisper about her strange eyes that are like a ghost or goblin’s eyes.
Black reassures her that ghosts’ eyes are duller and goblins’ eyes are bigger than hers. Ha, he means that literally, but Ha-ram takes it as reassurance, and she starts to get heart-flutteringly nervous as Black tells her that there’s something special about her eyes. Black: “They’re deep and brown — like dogs’ eyes.” Hahahaha.
In a memory-vision, Black sees Joon and the younger boy walking into the nearby woods behind the school, and curiously follows them. The two boys discuss the time capsule that Joon and Ha-ram buried, promising to open it up twenty years later.
Ha-ram finds Black digging at the dirt near the time capsule, and wonders excitedly if he actually remembers burying it. When he uncovers the metal of the capsule, Ha-ram tells him that they shouldn’t unearth it just yet — there’s only one more month to go until the date they said they’d unbury it, so they should wait.
As they wander around Mujin, Ha-ram wonders if Black’s memories are coming back. They stop at an alleyway where Joon used to live, that also used to be a place for seedy hostess bars. One of the bar owners was Joon’s mother, and they had a caustic relationship where Joon’s mother wished he had never been born, and he was embarrassed by her.
Back on the bus, Ha-ram dozes while Black keeps pushing her head away from his shoulder. He sees the wound on her hand from where it was caught in the car window, and wonders why she’s willing to go through so much pain to save another human’s life. He then wonders why she must die. Aw, then he lets her rest his head on his shoulder.
Speaking of death, Kwang-kyun attends Commissioner Song’s funeral. He’s shaken up by the loss of his old friend, wondering what it was Commissioner Song wanted to talk to him about. when Kwang-kyun sees the box of belongings from the car, he rifles through it, looking for a clue. He finds the commissioner’s old notebook with Jin-sook’s photo, as well as a business card with the image of a singing pumpkin that was tucked into the sunroof.
That seems to mean something to Kwang-kyun, who goes to an abandoned bar called “Pumpkin Singer.” This used to be Clara’s old bar, and it’s odd that the exact same pumpkin design could be on the business card.
Black walks Ha-ram home, telling her that tomorrow she has to stay by his side and check on a Shadow for him. As she heads to her apartment, she trips over a rock in the street, one that’s been there for so long Ha-ram even painted it white as a way to see it so she wouldn’t constantly trip over it.
When Black returns to Moo-gang’s home, he finds Joseon and Hip-hop watching the news, which is all about the child molesting teacher. They remind him of what will happen by meddling in human’s lives, since Black helped saved Gun-young. But Black smirks, telling them that he never saved Gun-young.
When Ha-ram went to Gun-young’s home to make sure he was okay, she saw his brother sleeping, not him. Black saw the boy creeping along the hallway, the Reapers still following. Gun-young will still die, and it looks like somehow his father will be responsible. Black smiles to himself as he vows that he won’t allow Ha-ram to save a life. Meanwhile, Ha-ram sleeps peacefully, a smile on her lips, believing that she’s saved Gun-young.
Nooooooooooo. I can’t bear to see Ha-ram have another existential meltdown when she realizes that after all of her effort, she still isn’t able to save someone. While I understand Black’s dilemma about preventing her from drawing any notice from other Reapers until he can solve his own problems, I still really want them to actually save people’s lives. I thought we were there — or nearly there, since Black currently seems like a reluctant hero, only stepping in when it seemed like Ha-ram might die herself (which must not happen, of course, or he’ll suffer the Death Squad punishment once they find out he’s purposefully put off his reaping assignment and inhabited a human body to find his lost partner). I wonder which vow will become more important in the end — the one where Ha-ram must not die at any cost, or the one where she must not save any lives? Because I doubt this will be the last time she’ll put herself in peril if it means a chance to save someone, especially an innocent child.
Although, the person who deserves to die is definitely the teacher. His story made my blood boil, and I really hope that he never gets a chance to harm or molest another child again. While I know this isn’t a new or unique situation (which makes me even angrier), I’m sick to my stomach just thinking about the way he preyed on young girls who didn’t have the support and ability to fight back. How was he even hired after he left Paris? Did he just rely on a small town like Mujin to not bother checking into his French records? Ugh. Still so disgusted and furious.
Then again, it’s not like Mujin is all that squeaky clean to begin with, since apparently there was a teenage prostitution ring going on back in 1997 for who knows how long. And one where presumably they also targeted someone with a disability and no family support. (Can I just set fire to the world, please?) While I’m relieved that Commissioner Song didn’t seem to be directly related to the case and wanted to clear things up about Jin-sook, he was complicit originally since he apparently helped cover it up to protect Man-soo’s father (which, ugh, I don’t even want to think about who Man-soo’s mother might be, if his father was the type to hire teenage prostitutes). Poor Man-soo — how can such a precious little bit of fluff be from such a terrible family?
I do like that we’re getting more hints about who Joon/Moo-gang really is. Or who they really are, since based on Black’s memory-visions, I’m now thinking that Moo-gang must actually be the younger boy, since the memories all involve both boys and not just Joon. It’s weird, though, that Ha-ram wouldn’t know about the younger boy. You’d think if she was aware of Joon having a brother, she’d try to reconnect them in order to help Joon/Moo-gang regain his memories. Which makes me suspicious that there’s more to this younger boy than meets the eye.
Then again, I’m banging my head in frustration about Ha-ram’s adamant decision to keep the time capsule buried for one more month. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy? It makes no sense! If Ha-ram really wants to help the person she believes to be Joon regain his memories, why wouldn’t she be willing to unearth the capsule a month early, especially when Black seemed to know about it? Plus, there’s the fact that the area will soon become developed by Royal Group, so waiting a month could be too late — the capsule might be destroyed by then (a fact Ha-ram knows full well). It makes no sense to me, and seems like a weak way to prevent us from finding out too soon about who Joon/Moo-gang really is/are. I’ve been happy so far to give this writer the benefit of the doubt because I’ve been intrigued to see where all these seemingly random details will take us, but in order to stay engaged as a viewer, it would help if those puzzle pieces would start to come together a little bit faster.
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