Black & White, Episode 1

Harmonious right? Hah, not if you count the phone calls and the angry mother who is making the calls.

The calls are from the girl’s mother, demanding to know why the girl didn’t come home last night. The daughter replies lazily that she has just turned 18 and is now an adult (and hence it’s okay to indulge in adult-like behavior, like, one-night stand — of course, this second half is left unsaid to prevent further inflaming the already volatile mother). She removes the phone from her ear with a wince and says to the man lying next to her, “Hey, my mother wants to talk to you”. He waves it off as if to chase away a fly and says, “Tell her not to worry, I’m a cop.” At that, the girl inches closer and says sweetly, “I forgot to tell you last night, my name is Lin Ke Le…” “Coke…” he chuckles to himself at the homonym.

**[Ke Le is typically the shorthand for either Coca-cola or Pepsi, depending on the prefix. In other uses, it can mean the ability to be happy or the state of being happy.]

She rolls her eyes at his reaction — she probably gets that a lot — and continues, “My mother is your North District Branch’s… Director.” What?! Yeah.

That’s how Chen Zai Tian the riffraff (thug/rascal/punk/coward) is forced to transfer to the South District Branch.

Perhaps that is all for the better.

The South District Branch is one intense place to be. Today they are on a mission to capture a drug manufacturing organization called Blue Butterfly, specialized in a hallucinogen named Dreamer. (Fancy code names, those drug dealers sure know how to market their products.) Detective Wu Ying Xiong and his hacker friend from the South Branch are the bait for this operation. With money in a sports bag, the two of them arrive at the destined exchange spot and nervously anticipate the dealer. Instead, they receive an express delivery containing a phone. Without hesistation, Ying Xiong picks up the phone just as it starts to ring. They are instructed to go to the men’s room and show that they are not carrying any weapon.

Surprise to them both, they are attacked and forced to verify that no listening devices are attached. Then, the voice in the phone instructs them to head towards the subway.

They are given 15 seconds to get on the subway across from them, or the exchange will be called off. In an effort to continue the pursuit, the two baits ignored all warnings of caution and hopped on the subway weaponless, losing all contact with the base.

Frustrated at Ying Xiong’s disregard for danger, the investigation team leader lashes out on a nearby chair.

Having ensured no one is following, the baits are cornered by four men in black on the subway. They are taken to a deserted factory where the lofty mastermind descends from a splendid moving cart, like a king stepping down to meet the peasants.

He tosses them a tiny vial of translucent liquid with a blue glow and boasts that only they, Blue Butterfly, can make Dreamer as concentrated as 98%. And the butterfly on the bottle is their symbol.

If they are called Blue Butterfly, it would be more iconic to make the bottles blue.
Digression: If they are called Blue Butterfly, wouldn't it be better to make the butterfly blue?

Money is exchanged, as Ying Xiong bends down to examine the product, Gao Yi, the mastermind receives a call. The call informs him that the two men at the exchange are in fact undercover policemen. With the covers blown, a gun fight immediately takes place. In the end, Gao Yi escapes the factory with the money…

Chen Zai Tian’s first day at the South District Branch is relaxing so far. On his way to the department, he stops at a local coffee shop and takes the opportunity to flirt with the waitress.

“I’m a transfer detective of the South District Branch. Today is my first day on the job. When I drove by, I was allured by a wonderful smell. I thought it was the coffee, but it turns out to be you.”

Flustered but pleased, the waitress covers her mouth to giggle. The coffee shop’s owner interjects, “Are all detectives sweet-mouthed like you?” “Nah. Nowadays, there aren’t many sweet-mouthed good-looking policemen who also happens to be good at what they do. I’m probably the only one.” (He’s so full of himself, yet it’s endearing.) Apparently Chen Zai Tian does have a reputation that proceeds him. Not only is he infamous for having a way with women, he is also the Case King, named after his efficiency at solving cases.

As they speak, Gao Yi with his briefcase of money runs into Zai Tian. Gao Yi drops the briefcase, picks up a gun and shoots blindly in the direction of Ying Xiong who is pursuing him like a hawk chasing its prey. Fight or flight kicks in instantly, Zai Tian ducks down and covers his ears to evade the threat of bullets.

When Gao Yi intercepts a car and drives away with his money and Dreamer, the chase is finally put to an end. At which point, Zai Tian walks out from his hiding place and points a gun at Ying Xiong, mistaking him for one of the bad guys. Much to his embarrassment, Ying Xiong grabs the gun from him and aims it at his face instead.

The aftermath of the chase isn’t too pretty a picture, but at least, Mr. Black meets Mr. White. Literally.

Ying Xiong is not the only one who’s less than thrilled about the outcome of the operation. Back in safety, Gao Yi is filled with rage for being betrayed (after all how would the cops know how to contact him for drugs in the first place if everything is kept a secret as they ought to be?) and he vows be bestow the cruelest vengeance upon whomever betrayed him.

Back in the police department, the ball of responsibility is tossed around for the failure of this big budget operation. In the end, the director of the district department decides that since Mr. Wu and Mr. Chen are the reasons they can’t capture the man behind Blue Butterfly — nope, not incompetency on the team leader’s part — then they must work together and redeem themselves.

Of course, here we have them wearing white and black respectively.
Of course, here we have them wearing white and black respectively.

Ying Xiong is on it once his boss turns his back. He calls his informant for a list of participants involved in the organization. After some persuasion that felt like squeezing the last bit of toothpaste out of an already empty tube, the informant reluctantly agrees to meet with Ying Xiong; at his place, in an hour. That gives Ying Xiong an hour to spear. With his mind set on solving the case, he turns to his good friend Lan Xi Ying (the ravishing Janine Chang).

Xi Ying is the forensic researcher in the lab.

And she’s as good as they come. One look at the sample bottle of Dreamer, she is able to discern the production pattern of the vial and narrow down 15 to 16 factories that are capable of making such containers. (Believability aside, this chick’s got mad skills!) While Ying Xiong is discussing the case with Xi Ying, Zai Tian tours around the lab looking for entertainment. Carelessly putting down the cup of ice tea Xi Ying poured him earlier, Zai Tian grabs the prosthetic skull on the desk as a puppet and plays with it. When called off by Ying Xiong, Zai Tian puts down the skull and grabs the wrong cup. He takes a sip and spits it right out — rabbit urine.

Unabashed from the embarrassment earlier, Zai Tian makes certain Xi Ying is single before announcing his plan to pursuit her. In his words: he hasn’t dated anyone that carried as much perfectional charisma as Xi Ying and he is dying to see if she’s good at other areas as well.

Zai Tian’s crude inference to sex irks Ying Xiong. He spurs around and snaps at Zai Tian. Moving closer, Ying Xiong threatens, “I don’t care how, but find a way to get out of my sight before you I make you, like this orange”. As he speaks through clenched teeth, he squeezes the orange in hand, squirting the juice all over Zai Tian’s face.

Zai Tian on the other hand takes no further heed of Ying Xiong’s warning but finds it reasonable to get away from him. Ying Xiong’s approach to solve cases may be effective, but it’s also very extreme. Zai Tian doesn’t want to rest in a coffin yet, so he seeks out the director and tries to charm the director. Sorry buddy, not workin’. He is given two choices: 1) go back to help Ying Xiong 2) quit his job and lose his car, his house, and (by logical extension,) the 101 gold digging chicks who await him every night.

An hour later, Ying Xiong is at his informant’s place — with Zai Tian tagging along.

Sure enough, the informant’s dead by the time they got there. (Should have kept his head low and ran when he had the chance.)

Ying Xiong took the death hard. Not only did they lose a lead on the case, he feels responsible for causing his informant’s death. With a final promise to keep the dead man’s family safe, Ying Xiong marches away.

Back in the car, Zai Tian comforts, “I know how you feel.” “YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING!” Ying Xiong slaps the steering wheel hard with his hand. “I do. But for informants, shouldn’t there be a consensus that the risk is death?” “He is not an informant. He’s part of San Lian Hui” “WHAT? San Lian Hui? The biggest illegal organization whose symbol is a lotus?! Are you going against them now?” At this point, Ying Xiong reveals the pact he made with the dead man. In exchange for the informant to find out the source of Blue Butterfly, Ying Xiong agrees to arrange for the man’s brother to be released from prison on good behavior and allow the two brothers to spend time with their dying mother.

Now the informant is killed, Ying Xiong fears for his family’s life.

And unfortunately for everyone, the fears are coming true.

The informant’s brother, who is in the process of transporting is being attacked. Meanwhile, his mother is being taken away by a “pretty girl with long hair”.

Zai Tian caught a glimpse of the girl helping the mother in a white van and accidentally remembers the license plate (a skill developed from memorizing hot chicks’ phone numbers). They successfully intercept the van but the mother is no where to be found.

Zai Tian attempts to charm the pretty driver into revealing the truth, but his bad habit of not noticing where his hands are going ends him up on the hood of the car. This frail looking girl is a master of taekwondo. It takes Ying Xiong’s iron arms to bind her down. Finally, charing her with obstruction of justice, the cops arrested the driver and brought her to the police station.

Once in the interrogation room, she is roped down and threatened with starvation until she spits out the truth.

Unaffected, rather enjoying the excitement, she says playful,

I told you I don’t know anything. If you don’t believe me, bite me!

(Oh she’s gonna be one fiendish little trouble!)

As if to equip the girl more amusement, soon after Zai Tian decides to starve the girl, Ying Xiong brings in a large bag of fast food. Zai Tian reaches out to grab it, but Ying Xiong pushes it towards the girl and says nicely, “Missy, enjoy.”

In the lab, Xi Ying made a discovery after incidentally spilling the solution of Dreamer.

Outside of the police department, a row of cars rush to the department, surrounds it and congesting the flow of traffic. Pressures are exerted to those hold superior offices in the department. Then finally, the team leader bursts into the interrogation room and scolds the two clueless cops for taking the San Lian Hui mob boss’ daughter into custody.

Yep, Chen Lin, the mischievous girl in front of them is the mob boss’ daughter.

It’s still in the early stage, but I think this drama has the potential to develop and be great. The intensity of the plot is still lacking at this point — not that the plot isn’t intricate enough, but action/police drama is a well established genera; when placed in the larger context, it pales alongside other excellent productions.

It’s a pity when a perfectly well paced scene is broken up by the overexertion of the supporting actors. Despite that, there is a certain appeal about the main characters and the way they mesh that makes it interesting to see how things will unfold in future episodes.

9 thoughts on “Black & White, Episode 1”

  1. Oh……appriciate you so much.
    Thank you for sharing us.
    I can’t understand chinese but I love this drama so much.
    So your recap is very usful for me that I can understand almost of them.
    Love you.

  2. Hi there! Taiwanese dramas aren’t my usual cup of tea (although I do watch them on occasion), but because of your initial episode reviews (eps. 1-4), I decided to give Black & White a try – and I was glad I did.

    Truth be told, I actually came across your blog a few weeks ago while searching for any kind of comment about Black & White. I’m a huge police/mystery/thriller fan so I wanted to watch Black & White, but at the same time I didn’t want to invest in a show that would be a waste of my time. I hate spoilers so I try to stay away from anything that would give away anything (I don’t watch previews for the next episode for the same reason), but in this case, I had to make an exception. Anyway, to make a long story short, I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog. Now I watch the episodes first and read your reviews afterward to compare notes.

    Before I go any further, I really want to thank you for your hard work and dedication in writing these reviews. Even a review on a great episode and one that was really enjoyable can be time-consuming, so I truly appreciate what you’re doing. Plus, you have a gift for writing, so reading your reviews is always a pleasure.

    Well, on to episode 1. A lot was going on in and it seemed we had to play catch up to understand what was going on, but it wasn’t so hard to follow that I was overwhelmed by everything. The characters are interesting so far, so it’ll be nice to see how the relationships develop. That Chen Zai Tian is hilarious with his strange antics, and I love how Hero is so unrelenting in his pursuit of justice. I thought he’d be more concern with his informant’s safety given the failure of his mission, but I guess there were too many things going on (i.e., gaining a new – and annoying – partner). Intelligent women onscreen are few and far between, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of Lan Xi Ying, and Chen Lin’s character offers a cheeky impishness that shows a nice contrast with Xi Ying’s serious demeanor. Already I’m rooting for Hero and Xi Ying to pair up, but having read up to episode 4, I realize their relationship will have quite a bit to go in terms of developing romantically.

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