Black & White, Episode 5

Recovering from his outburst, Zai Tian meanders along the streets and caught his reflection in the display window. He turns curiously and studies himself. With a slight hint of self loath, he reaches a hand and covers his face with the palm. Slowly extending all five fingers, he gasps his face as if it were a mask. Then, he lowers his hand and touches his reflection.

(I really like this scene. The arrangement of this scene is very simple — an actor and a reflecting surface — yet it conveys both a powerful emotional undertone and a creepy ambiance.)

With a bag of questions, Zai Tian seeks out Gao Yi.

Gao Yi teases, mean-spiritedly, that for a man with a history, it must be frustrating to be recognized and not know how and why he’s recognized. Zai Tian loses his temper and pulls out his gun. He threatens darkly,

“You better tell me who turned me into the way I am today.”

Shrewdly, Gao Yi replies, “I was captured on behalf of dealing and spreading drugs. The most I get is life imprisonment. But if I accidentally slip out a little too much, I may only have an hour left to live.”

Time is pulled back to three years ago.

A filthy homeless man is loitering in front of a McDonald’s. He looks into the transparent brickwall glass wall and peeps at the other side of the room, the one filled with warmth, laughter, and food. Like the Danish little match girl, he can feel envy and loneliness swelling inside of him, filling him with an impulse to… do something.

He takes out a blunt instrument from underneath his ragged garment and bursts into the fast food restaurant.

His hands shaking with hunger, his voice unsteady with fear, he grabs a female customer and threatens to kill her with the blunt instrument. A crispy voice from across the room brought him back and brought him over to the other side of the bell jar. She simply asked him, “Are you hungry?”

What happened next was a blur to him. He remembered waking up one morning with a new face, a new identity, a new house, and a post-it with a single line written on it:

Don't scratch your face within the next month.

With Zai Tian running off on his own, Chen Lin and Hero are left to finish the five hands of beer Zai Tian ordered. On the way home, Chen Lin jokes that they should make Zai Tian buy them dinner again and gather a lot of people to eat until Zai Tian goes broke paying for it. She then mentions that they should invite Xi Ying as well and observes as Hero remains tacit.

In front of Chen Lin’s apartment, the happy mob boss daughter turns to say goodbye. She thanks Hero for walking her home and heads inside. Then thinking of something, she turns back and says,

“The happiest memories of my life are from the time period before my mother died. That’s when my father started San Lian Hui and became extremely busy. To see him, my mother and I would stay in his car and use the brief travel time to talk to him. But whenever the car pulls up in front of the San Lian building, I would refuse to go home. To appease me, my father would carry me on a piggy back ride and go from the first floor to the 12th floor. Once he did that, I’m pacified and happy. He would hand me over to my mother in front of the elevator. I would then rest my head on my mother’s bosom and wait for the next opportunity to see my father.

Maybe Dreamer magnified that piece of memory, but when you carried me out today, your shoulder reminds me of my father. And the time when my mother is still alive. Thank you. Thank you for bringing back my happiest memory.”

(My first reaction when I heard “your shoulder reminds me of my father“, is “O! A Freudian touch on the Electra complex!” But-uh, I don’t think the readers here will appreciate the joke. So, I will settle for the more generic and slightly boring, shoulder=comfort=security interpretation.)

The next morning when Zai Tian shows up for work, he is promptly informed of a certain unhappy Miss Lin Ke Le waiting for him on the roof. Disconcerted, he greets her on the roof. Ke Le looks distraught.

When asked what went wrong, she says, “Yesterday I found out…” A loud bang finishes the sentence for her. As the bullet penetrates Ke Le’s skull, she falls (gracefully) with a thud and is dead instantly.

The death becomes a major event that involves both the Southern and Northern branch. While the Northern branch’s involvement has to do with Ke Le being the branch director’s daughter, sadly, the murder case sets the stage for an ugly internal power struggle between the two branches.

In the interrogation room, the anguished mother questions Zai Tian personally.

But no matter how she demands to know more, it’s always the “before she could say anything, she’s shot” explanation. (Minor point: if the director had put her finger on the trigger instead of holding the gun like one would with a knife, this scene (see picture above right) would maybe look more disheartening and definitely more convincing.)

Finally, Lao Li provides a piece of new information, though it unveils no mystery. According to him, Ke Le arrived at the police station at 8:30 am and asked to see Zai Tian. Lao Li informed her that he won’t be in until much later. She absent mindedly replied that she will wait and asked for a cup of coffee. Lao Li observed that Ke Le looked troubled. Her makeup was uneven, she seemed unusually pensive, and nothing like her normal lively self. But she wouldn’t say what was bothering her.

Later that day Hero waits in front of the investigation room for a chance to talk to Xi Ying.

She confirms that the bullet is shot from a long range, which excludes Zai Tian from the suspect list — as long as there is no evidence to indicate that he aided the sniper in any way. Relieved slightly, Hero awkwardly mentions the dinner party last night. He admits that he was surprised to see her there, partially because he knows she isn’t fond of drinking and must have felt out of place there. She nods in agreement. Then he ventures on to explain Chen Lin’s presence, saying that being the mob boss’ daughter, Chen Lin doesn’t have any friends so Zai Tian and him are… Xi Ying cuts him off and replies lightly, “You don’t need to feel obligated to explain anything.” To which Hero replies, “But you are a very important friend to me.” (Just a friend? That must’ve hurt! But at least, he’s not leading her on.)

Disappointed, Xi Ying tries to put on a smile. When she is unable to do so, she says instead, “You are a very important friend to me too” and turns to leave.

Hero brings food for Zai Tian in the interrogation room. Hasn’t eaten anything, Zai Tian devours the food ravenously. Taking the opportunity, Hero asks, “Do you really not know what Ke Le came here for?” “How should I know?”, Zai Tian replies between bites, “I’m sad she’s dead too!” “Don’t you think the director acted a little strange while she was interrogating you?” Hero wonders to himself.

In an empty parking lot, the said director is crying on the phone,

“Why did you have to do that? She has nothing to do with it! … How can you do that to me?! …
… … No, No you can’t do that! For this, I’ve, I’ve already… I… … Ok, I know… I won’t back out…”

Finally released from a day of confinement, Zai Tian receives a text message, reminding him to pay his credit card bill. Pissed off, he raises the phone to the air and yells, “Hey, didn’t you want me to be a cop? Then what’s with this crap? Keep it up, I’m gonna call it a quit! So, pay my credit card bills ASAP! Oh and, go find the sniper too!”

(Hey! That’s a great stress coping mechanism! Just make sure no one is around when you give it a try.)

Hulk happens to pass by the parking lot and sees Zai Tian’s hilarious behavior. He follows Zai Tian’s extended arm to find a point of fixation, then, when Zai Tian is gone, he imitates it!

I find this screenshot so endearing, I almost used it for the beginning of the recap.

(This is another scene I really liked. It’s an appropriate comic relief, not too cheesy, not too goofy. Nicely done.)

No matter what kind of mess Zai Tian is in, he always comes back as if nothing is wrong. This time, he’s bought Xi Ying a cup so that when she wants a drink, she doesn’t need to use a measuring cup anymore — and he, won’t ever mistake rabbit urine for iced tea. (Honestly, no matter how scientifically geared one may be, drinking from a measuring cup is just nasty.) As Xi Ying looks into Zai Tian’s face in close proximity, she remarks on the “perfect” curvature of his facial features. (And “perfect” is her word.) He leans in, intending to steal a kiss, but Hero shows up at the door and pulls him away from Xi Ying. They found where the sniper was shooting.

According to the evidences, the sniper shot the victim from a distance of 500 – 600 meter, using a 5.5 caliber shotgun instead of a sniper rifle — meaning, the sniper is the best of the best. That narrows the range of snipers down to only the elite ones.

Still thinking about the night when he caught a glimpse of Xiao Mei, the girl who made him who he is now, Zai Tian returns to the bar, hoping to bump into her. Not much luck. He dangles his feet on a low bar and closes his eyes, muttering to himself, “Dear God, if you are as omnipotent as advertised, please, let my Goddess appear right now.”

“What are you doing here?” a voice starts. Still immersed in the wishful thinking, he shakes his head slowly and repeats to himself, “NO, not this voice…” When he finally opens his eyes, he is startled by Chen Lin’s presence. (It’s a sign!)

She follows him into his car and makes herself comfortable there. Normally, Zai Tian wouldn’t refuse if any girl throws herself at him, but today is different. He’s waiting for Ah Mei to appear. When Chen Lin asks him to take her home because she drank and couldn’t drive, Zai Tian impatiently refuses her. Too tipsy to notice, Chen Lin blabbers on about Zai Tian running off at the bar the other day and leaving Hero and her alone.

Her mentioning of Ah Mei makes Zai Tian uncomfortable. His odd silence tips her off. Abashed, Chen Lin tries to joke her way out of it. By then, Zai Tian, who can see for himself that she is really on the verge of being drunk, offers to take her home. She refuses and gets out of his car, but her skirt gets caught between the doors.

Once he starts up his car, she is dragged forward. When he finally stops, the force of the stop pushes her forward and tears the skirt in the front. Just as she bends down to cover up her embarrassment, a passing by motorcycle splashed water all over her. Now, Chen Zai Tian has to give her a ride.

And… he takes her to his house. (When it’s a lot easier if he just drops her off at her own place.)

(The plot here is a little contrived, but I’ll go with it.)

Wet and groggy, Chen Lin demands to know where the restroom is. But Zai Tian takes his sweet time to get her a towel first, then looks through his closet twice until he finally settles on a shirt he’s willing to dispense for Chen Lin to change into. (His closet is pathetic for a self-congratulatory man like him.)

Once Chen Lin is in the restroom, Zai Tian muses himself and hurries to undress. (No, not that way. Just taking off the gun hoister and the belt. But, he sure needs to prepare himself for an eventful night.)

After Chen Lin has showered and felt clean, she starts to check out Zai Tian’s house. She takes notices of He Xiao Mei’s photo on the wall and lifts it to see. Not wanting anyone to trod on the sanctity of his vulnerability, Zai Tian fights to get the photo back.

But being the feisty little beast that she is, Chen Lin isn’t going to give it up without a fight.

In the end, Zai Tian has to lift Chen Lin up for her to surrender. In response, Chen Lin bites Zai Tian for being careless around her.

Zai Tian: “What did you do that for?”
Chen Lin: “Who told you you could lift me up?”
Zai Tian: “Not like it’s the first time.”

Chen Lin perks up at the mention of “not the first time”. She demands to know what he means by that. Zai Tian denys the significance in what he just said, but Chen Lin wouldn’t let him slide on this one. When Zai Tian continues to doge her question, she becomes angry and asserts that unless he provides her with a satisfactory response, she will not let him go.

Oho! This chick is really mad now.
Oho! This chick is really mad now.

Zai Tian responds, “Oh so you want to stay for the night? That’s fine by me.” Chen Lin attacks at the provocation, but Zai Tian blocks her off from trying to throw him across her shoulder. As they struggle to strike and to avoid being stricken, Zai Tian ends up holding Chen Lin.

Then, to her greatest dismay, he presses his lips on hers and kisses her.

Comments:

I really enjoyed this episode, more so than the previous four. It’s a shame how the ratings are still ridiculously low.

In regards to the fight segment between Chen Lin and Zai Tian at the end of the episode, I really like the dynamics formed around the tension between them. And I mean the uncomfortable, pain in the neck kind of tension. They get on each other’s nerves and take each other out of their comfort zone. Chen Lin’s repeated intrusion on the piece of memory Zai Tian carefully guards makes Zai Tian ill at ease. Likewise, Zai Tian’s disregard of Chen Lin’s mob boss’ daughter status (i.e. lifting her and not treating her like a lady) throws Chen Lin off as well.

What’s great about it is that beneath the edginess they both feel, there is a deeper layer of sexual tension blooming between them. And whether Chen Lin reciproates it or not, we’ll find out in the next episode.

7 thoughts on “Black & White, Episode 5”

  1. Come to say thank you again and again for your recap BnW#5.

    Poor Zai Tian. It’s not his wrong!!

    I love long kissing between Zai Tian and Chen Lin.

  2. Thanks for the great recap! Really enjoyed reading it.

    The flashback of Zai Tian’s past was pretty overwhelming. I can’t imagine how he felt waking up with a totally new face and new identity. I hope Dir Cai will show us this scene in fuller detail later on in the drama.

    I also super love the Chen Lin- ZaiTian bedroom fight-scene. Such delicious chemistry (though I hv the same doubt of why didn’t ZT send her straight home instead…..being the flirt he is, maybe he planned it that way, LOL!).

    And yes, that “mobile in the sky” scene was a pretty brilliant comic relief! Never expected that. Love how ZT can turn any depressing situation to humor. And Hulk is a cutie!

    Can’t wait for more ChenLin-ZT fireworks, and also ZT-Xi Ying too (I can see it coming).

    And Ying Xiong needs to confess his lie to Chen Lin soon.

  3. Thank you for sharing your recap of B&W and I really enjoyed reading it.
    I’ve been Zai’s Fan from the early days, but his performance in B&W really amazed me, as it is exceeding my expectation.
    Hope the drama getting more and more acknowledgment from others, as it delivers different kind of drama and really well made.

    Looking forward for your great recap and review..Thanks again ^_^

    1. I agree, B&W deserves more acknowledgment. But, because it’s a suspense/thriller drama, it makes it hard for people to jump in at a later point and pick up on the subtleties. For that reason, I doubt the ratings will show much spiking. But the least we can do is hope and maybe fangirl over it a little right?

      1. Definetely agree with you.. for action drama, you must watch it from the early stage, as they need to build the story, the character, the tension, including many mysteries to be solved..
        Well, I still hope for B&W to get the recognition they deserved ^_^

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