Black & White, Episode 3

Carefully walking around the unconscious (but not bleeding) Zai Tian, Ying Xiong (hereafter, referred to as Hero — because it rolls off the tongue and slides across the keyboard) approaches the creaking door.

Suddenly, a figure dashes out from behind the door. Instinctively, Hero raises his gun to face the aggressor. Their eyes lock, a glimpse of recognition registers. Without dropping the gun, Chen Lin reveals her surprise, “Why is it you guys? Did you pull the fire alarm?” Now further out in the hallway, she notices Zai Tian on the floor and demands briskly, “Did he get hit? By me?”

Hero breaks the tension by moving away his gun and holding up both hands in a defensive manner. In return, Chen Lin lowers hers and both of their attention turn to Zai Tian, who hasn’t stirred since he fell.

With a long gasp, Zai Tian wakes up. He is fine. Maybe a little shaken, but he’s as fine as he’ll ever be. The bullets did hit him, but they hit the bullet proof jacket he wore inside. (Besides, since Chen Lin shot the rounds from inside, the door must have slowed down the velocity of the bullets, so when Zai Tian was hit, the impact has already been reduced.)

Apologizing for shooting Zai Tian, Chen Lin explains that recently, she has been attacked and her apartment raided. When she heard the commotion triggered by the fire alarm, she feared that she might be under another attack. (The possibility of being burnt to death mustn’t sound as bad as being shot to death to a mob boss’ daughter.)

Chen Lin reasons that the attacks must be linked with her hiding the dead informant’s mother. Perhaps the people responsible for killing An Zai the Informant are behind this. (I fail to see how looking for a person could turn an apartment upside down like that. But at least, Gao Yi’s druggie sidekicks got the point across — give up the mother or die.)

She takes the two men inside to see An Zai’s mother, assuring them that all she intend to do is to keep the poor woman safe. While bickering with the cops, An Zai’s mother wanders out, mindlessly looking for her son. Chen Lin gently ushers the woman inside and into bed. Then, sitting down next to the quivering mother, she starts to sing quietly.

Her singing is echoed by Zai Tian’s humming. As if possessed by a strange power, Zai Tian closes his eyes and hums incoherently with Chen Lin’s soft voice. His recognition of the melody draws Chen Lin and Hero’s attention. The enchantment is broken when the mother falls into an uneasy sleep and Chen Lin stops singing.

Hero witnessed the entire scene with guilt in his eyes. Content with Chen Lin taking care of the sad woman, he hands her the family photo that belonged to An Zai and heads out.

After the faulty fire alarm interlude, Chen Lin decides to flex her muscle of power and actively have her men look for Gao Yi.

The next morning at the police station, Zai Tian pursuits the line of inquiry on his electric bill epiphany —Β  inexplicably large electric usage may indicate the site of Dreamer production. Hulk*, the geeky hacker who partook the operation against Gao Yi, has narrowed down the possibilities to three overnight.

*The literal translation for the name is Hao Ke (ζ΅©ε…‹), which is really the Chinese name translation for Hulk. It’s possible that the name is meant to be an irony, highlighting his physicality (or a lack of) and character weakness, as exhibited in Episode 1. But it can also mean that his programming skill is Hulk-like, even though I’m having trouble taking this guy seriously.

Giddy with his brilliant contribution to the case, Zai Tian pats Hero on the shoulder and beams, “Hey bud, thanks for backin’ me up today.” Hero stares back at him as if Zai Tian is some kind of idiot, “I didn’t back you up today. I only wanted to solve the case. And by the way, you have three days left.” Remembering Hero’s threat that if Zai Tian doesn’t find a way to transfer out of Hero’s unit within a week, he may never live to see the light of the day, Zai Tian gulps loudly.

The search begins (with beautiful shots of lavish houses and a terrible actor for a butler):

They found it on their third (and last) try.

Gao Yi escapes, but the factory is compromised.

To celebrate their success, Zai Tian invites Xi Ying and Hero over to his house for a drink of beer, which is just next door. Oh irony, how I appreciate you!

(I reserved my suspicion from the last episode when the black out occurred, just so I wouldn’t spoil the wonderful irony for ya’ll. So, let’s hear those “OHHH that’s why he tested positive for the drug screen!” πŸ˜€ )

Just to reiterate, when Xi Ying comes over to Zai Tian’s house, she discovers that his house shares the same pipe with the drug factory next door. Drinking contaminated water justifies the presence of Dreamer in Zai Tian’s system.

Ecstatic with the truth that will clean his name, Zai Tian rushes up to give Xi Ying a hug. Hero interjects between them, protecting Xi Ying from Casanova’s hands. They stand there nose to nose for a few seconds, until finally, Zai Tian steps away awkwardly.

(Just kiss already!)

Gao Yi may escape from the police, but he’s not so lucky against the extent of San Lian Hui’s control. Through a tapped phone line, San Lian Hui found out Gao Yi is staying in room 1505 of a hotel and sent an assassin to finish him off.

Fortunately for him, Gao Yi is too careful to be killed so easily. He is in fact staying in room 1506 and monitoring any activity in front of 1505, in case the person he negotiates with arrives with money. As soon as he spots a dark figure lurking inside 1505 with a gun, Gao Yi turns to leave and escapes narrowly.

The celebration party inside the police department is cut short when the Director scolds his men for letting Gao Yi escape with Dreamer. The cheery mood dissolves in an instant and the agents dissipate like a box of scattered marble.

To capture Gao Yi, the easiest way is to ask for help. And that, brings the gentlemen back to Chen Lin.

Ever the just police, Hero reasons with Chen Lin that if she knows where Gao Yi is, she should turn him over to the police. Because if she does anything illegally, he will personally put her behind the bars. Unbeknownest to Hero, Chen Lin is just as stubborn, perhaps even a little rebellious — she refuses point blank. As their heated argument gets louder and louder, An Zai’s mother hears her son’s name and approaches Hero to inquire about her son. Zai Tian steps in at this point and blatantly lies that he was just talking to An Zai downstairs. If he had known the mother is upstairs dining, he would’ve told An Zai to come up. Going bigger with the lie, Zai Tian even takes out his phone to fake a call to An Zai (he dials Hero’s number) — not a very smart move — the next thing he knows, An Zai’s mother is reaching up, gesturing the intent to speak to her son.

Hesitantly, Zai Tian hands over the phone. The mother takes it from Zai Tian with both hands and presses it close to her ears. “Hello?” she says in a shaky voice, “hello?” “Just pick it up and say ‘Hi mom'”, Zai Tian nudges Hero. “Hello?” the mother asks again uncertainly. Although against principle, Hero does as told and hangs up. The one “mom” brings tear to the woman’s eyes. She grasps the phone as if treasuring it with her life, but the line is cut. Not knowing what to do next, the sad woman fiddles with the phone with apprehension. Zai Tian inches closer and says, “Sorry auntie An, my phone has really bad reception. It probably dropped the call. I’m sure An Zai will call again… How about this, I will leave the phone to you, so when An Zai calls, you will be able to talk to him.”

Chen Lin shoots Zai Tian a quick, appreciative look at the manner in which he handled this. However, her look of approval turns into disgust when Zai Tian whispers later that he needs his phone back because it stores “a bunch of hot chick’s numbers”.

Life on the run isn’t too pleasant. Gao Yi sneaks into restaurants after dark to stuff down some food after a day of starvation.

(The lighting in this scene is horrible, but here, Gao Yi is putting plain pasta on a plate.)

Suddenly, lights flickered on. In front of him is a street full of local eateries decorated with colorful lanterns. He ventures on with pleasure and stops in front of a TV playing Korean drama.

He’s taking a trip. And this time, the dosage has been cranked up.

He takes one long, satisfying sniff and feels a shiver running through his four limbs. Then he bolts up and looks into the colorful street again.

A little boy walks toward him from the end of the street. Gao Yi reaches out and touches the boy. Running his finger across the name on the school uniform, Gao Yi’s expression cracks at his own name. Distantly, the phone rings. He turns lazily toward the source and locates a red phone. Picking it up, a voice chants, “Take everyone to heaven”. Over and over again.

The next morning in the bar, detective Zai Tian skips breakfast and orders a cup of coffee when the fax machine beeps.

The first fax reads:

To Detective Chen Zai Tian: Someone wants to go to heaven.

The second fax, which arrives briefly after the first, reads:

To Detective Chen Zai Tian: The tips are not always reliable.
PS: You’re not eating breakfast this morning?

(Anyone getting a chill from the mysterious informant’s omniscience?)

Gao Yi is found. Chen Lin is informed of his location and plans to seek him out alone.

But not as alone as she thinks. She is followed by Hulk.

Meanwhile, in the real world, a massive amount of Dreamer is leaked by Gao Yi to “bring people to heaven”. While the police send out most of its force to help contain the situation, Zai Tian fears it’s Gao Yi’s tactic to misdirect the police force to the mall while he strikes elsewhere (thanks to the reminder brought up by the second fax). Bringing the two faxes as proof, Zai Tian consults the Director. Unfortunately, his concern is dismissed once the identity of the fax sender is brought up. Sorry bud, credibility IS sadly important in the real world.

Hulk follows Chen Li to the subway station but quickly looses sight of her. Instead, he sees Gao Yi. CALLLLLLLL the police department RIGHT NOW! Oh, he does something even better: he calls Zai Tian.

Without hesistation, Hero makes a U-turn and heads to the subway.

Gao Yi has already taken siege of the subway.

With only Chen Lin to confront Gao Yi on the inside and the two frantic cops trying to stop the subway on the outside, timing has never been crowned with so much importance.

Comments

The pacing of this episode is well balanced, things are happening at just the right speed. I don’t get the sense that events are being thrown at me for the sake of keeping the suspense going, nor do I find the need to cringe at space filling stretches — thank goodness. Yes, there is dry humor and there is certainly slapstick, but they are glossed over quickly enough that they turn into character traits rather smoothly.

As much as I think the timing is appropriate, I don’t get a thrill out of watching it, yet. (It’s still early in the series.) I wish there’s more subtext to make individual choices stand out, but more so because the possibility for multiple interpretation intrigues me.

Despite my impatience for more development, the recap length is picking up and I didn’t expect this to happen so soon. And that’s a good thing.

My favorite part of the episode is Gao Yi’s trip. This trip is represented so much better than the previous one, on account of acting, CGI (or a lack of), and directing.

Unlike a lot of people, I wasn’t too impressed with Kingone’s acting on Gao Yi’s Dreamer trip last week — it looked, almost a little ridiculous. Even this week’s trip, is still a romanticized depiction of drug use that focuses primarily on the euphoric aspect. However, while the feeling didn’t carry over the first time, it is delivered here, when there is more prop to play with.

The intoxicated feeling builds each time Gao Yi strokes his Dreamer with hazy adoration. It climaxes when he inhales it after all the set up and lays back in dreamy exaltation. And that does it for me.

But the highlight of this scene resides in the multitude of contrasts.

Light vs. Dark:

Immediately after Gao Yi gorges down the food, there is a brief moment of complete darkness. Then light flickers on, and the imagery before him starts to fill in color — all except white. Even when the child Gao Yi appears, the white uniform he wore remains translucent.

Reality vs. Illusion:

This one is obvious. What’s interesting about this contrast is that for Gao Yi, his reality is pitch black (which is his own doing) but his illusion is lustrous with color.

Finally, Innocence vs. Corruption:

This is illustrated when the adult Gao Yi is arranged to meet the boy Gao Yi. While the child dressed in white represents purity, the grown up Gao Yi is shown to be cruel (killing An Zai and his family) and suspicious (purposely stating the wrong room number — although in this case, I’m actually impressed with his cautiousness.)

8 thoughts on “Black & White, Episode 3”

  1. so fast!!.. thank so much..

    episode 3 run smoothly.. Pizi manage to clear his name. bout the fax.. really mysterious.. how the ‘faxer’ know Pizi not taken a breakfast… really confius ..

  2. thanks for your recap . It’s so fast & very clearly-I can understand although I

    haven’t wacthed it. But I will watch it soon.555+ I like the scence zai

    humming the song with Ivy and lying Auntie that Anzai is still alive. Drama

    maybe draws the gentleness out of Zai Tian.

  3. Very happy to read your recap BnW episod 3

    Feel excited like watching TV.

    Appreciate you so much for sharing us.

    Thank you.

    Waiting for BnW episode 4!!!

  4. thanks for the recap, but more so, thanks for the commentary and literary analysis and thematic exploration, that’s my favorite part of your recaps πŸ™‚

  5. Thanks again for another wonderful recap. πŸ™‚

    I’m actually quite intrigued by the whole singing/humming scene between Chen Lin and Zai Tian, which suggests a deeper relationship/tie between the two that will probably be explored later. – Unless it’s a common Taiwanese lullaby, in which case would lessen the significance of that scene and just make it another display of Zai Tian’s quirks in the many facets of eccentricity that makes him Chen Zai Tian.

    I like your take on Gao Yi’s Dreamer trip. Having read this recap before I watched the episode, I paid close attention to the scene when it came up. I have to admit, though, that its significance might have been lost on me otherwise.

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