Black & White, Episode 11

When the hooded men dropped from the sky, the poor vagrant quivered in fright and slurred hastily, pleading forgiveness for his misconduct. He says, “I’m sorry… I was hungry… I didn’t mean to take the stuff… Don’t hurt me!” Relentlessly, the men came after him. They zapped him unconscious and transported him onto a cold operating table…

When he woke up, he found himself in an elegantly furnished, spacious house. Disoriented and thirsty, the nameless vagrant staggered to the marble desk and chugged on the glass of water. Then remembering the mismatch between the polished environment and himself, he dropped the glass and apologized to no one in particular that he was very sorry to have touched someone else’s belonging. Mumbling feebly that none of this was intentional — it was a reflex out of the need for survival — he tottered on.

He moved past the table and stopped at the doorway. Transfixed by the incandescent light shining on him from the outside, he stood motionless for a prolonged beat.

When he recollected himself and proceeded to survey around the room, he came upon another table. On it, carefully laid out money, ID, bank statement, badge, as well as a certificate of enrollment for police training school, which presumably belonged to the owner of the house. Staring at the photo on the paper, the vagrant read the name aloud, “Chen Zai Tian…”.

He continued staggering, apologizing tremulously all the while that he was sorry to have touched the money that didn’t belong to him — until he came upon a mirror. He caught the sight of his reflection and jumped back in horror — who’s this man staring back at him? Cautiously but curiously, he inched closer to the mirror and touched his face.

Not yet realizing he is now Chen Zai Tian and Chen Zai Tian is him, a wave of panic washed over him. He ran to the kitchen and came back with a large trash bag. Rapaciously, he started to stuff everything within hand’s reach into the bag, taking with him the luxury items he has only dared to dream of possessing.

(I have a few comments about this segment. First, it’s realistically played. Everything, save the peculiarity of the situation itself, is believable — except for the fact that given the extensiveness of the surgery, his face would and should be swelling at this point. But wth, it’s still a highly enjoyable segment to watch. For what it’s worth, the part where Zai Tian touched his face as if asking “who am I?” echoes the beginning of Episode 5. It may come up again, it may not. It’s just nice to see concordance. Ok, back to recap:)

The vagrant returned to the Mc Donalds he robbed on Christmas eve and saw the same waitress who serviced him. When she showed no sign of recognition, he carefully asked about the aftermath of the robbery. She expressed sympathy towards the robber, saying that the man must be desperate to resort to rob. She noted that the man robbed for burger but not for money, his intention mustn’t be bad. Therefore, she paid for the loss and told the store manager to let the matter drop.

Back in the present, Chen Lin and Hero continue their search for Zai Tian. Hero consoles that given the severity of the blow, Zai Tian must be in need of some privacy to readjust. Chen Lin disagrees, thinking the longer they leave matters unattended, the worse it will get. So intent in finding Zai Tian that she nearly called Wild Goose to help for the search — this sparked friction between Hero and Chen Lin. (Her intentions are good, but gee, she’d make one demanding, snappy girlfriend.)

Hero opposes Chen Lin’s decision to seek help from Wild Goose, thinking this is an inappropriate move. A little too protective: Chen Zai Tian is a police after all, he will eventually man up about the bereavement. Chen Lin bites Hero’s head off of his disagreement, thinking it’s Hero’s superiority complex at work. (Referring back to the Cops are better than Cons idea.)

Voices are raised, unpleasantries exchanged. Hero emphasized that this is not about who is better than who, this is about different search methods (and the issue of stepping over boundaries — Chen Lin is acting more like a girlfriend than a tentative friend). In the end, Chen Lin gives Hero the ultimatum: she is losing patience. She wants to find Chen Zai Tian and it doesn’t matter if Hero disagrees with her method, she will find him at all cost.

Hero gets a call from Hulk, asking to meet. Interestingly, things take a slightly different turn.

Hulk heard from his colleague that Hero suspects that he might be the spy. To prove his innocence, he risks the danger of being put on probation and gives Hero the disk that contains Director Lin’s schedule and as well as other relevant information.

Chen Lin finds Wild Goose and begs him to look for Zai Tian. Teary eyed, she explains that since his disappearance, she hasn’t been able to sleep. Wild Goose gives her a hard look and nods, “I understand. I will see to it.”

As a result of the recent events, Hero is feeling under the weather. He tells Xi Ying,

Recently, I feel spent all the time. There’s always this listless feeling hanging over me. Recall during my PTS days, the training officer would always say the higher the expectation, the greater the disappointment. These unsolved cases and puzzling clues make me wonder, from time to time, if I’m overestimating my abilities.

Xi Ying assures him that he is indeed an excellent police. It’s not that they are incompetent at finding the answer, it’s just that each time they get close, an unknown force will cut off the clues. She reinforces that they might be watched (Aha! Recurring theme!) Therefore, before Hero is absolutely sure of someone, he shouldn’t disclose any information easily.

Hero considers the advice and goes to look for Xiao Ma. He finds Xiao Ma readying himself to close the hot dog stand and asks for six more orders. While Xiao Mai is preparing the hot dogs, Hero stands back and observes.

There is nothing extraordinary about Xiao Ma’s hot dog stand, but Hero notices that Xiao Ma’s personal ride, his motorcycle, looks particularly out of place. The motorcycle is a thing of beauty, making Xiao Ma either a car/bike enthusiast or a man with a secret.

When Xiao Ma completes the orders and asks for the bill, Hero raises two handful of bagged hot dogs and explains he doesn’t have an open hand to get his wallet out. He then shrewdly asks Xiao Ma to reach into his pocket for him to take out the wallet — for Xiao Ma’s prints. (In passing: if it were any other show, I’d say there’s an homoerotic undertone right there. Come on, running your hand down someone else’s pants pocket? It’s an awkward gesture unless two people are very, very close.)

(More side comments: Technically, Xiao Ma could refuse to retrieve the wallet. He could volunteer to free Hero’s hands instead — this man is too smart, too careful to miss the obvious alternative. Choosing to do what Hero wants him to do, that is, to leave his finger prints, may mean he’s intentionally giving Hero a clue. OR I’m just reading too much into it.)

When Hero focuses his attention on something, he gives his 100%. Immediately after he gets Xiao Ma’s prints, he goes to the bar Chen Zai Tian often goes to wait for the fax.

He hands the bartender a sheet of paper that says “To Chen Zai Tian’s informant: Please find Chen Zai Tian” and he wants her to fax the paper. She asks, “Do you know the fax number?” He replies lightly, “I think you know” and exits. But he doesn’t leave quite yet.

He remains at the door and watches as the bartender punches number on the fax machine and sends the message to the unknown end. Satisfied, he calls Hulk and asks him to find out the number dialed.

On the other end of the phone line, a similar looking  fax machine spits out Hero’s message. A hand reaches over to grab the paper. Reading the two simple lines silently, Da Yang frowns.

Hero and Chen Lin continue to search for Zai Tian. A stroke of luck brought them to a slum where a group of young adults are beating up a man for thievery. Hero shoos away the troublemakers and realizes that lying amongst the trash is a bruised and battered Chen Zai Tian. They approach him and help him up. He protests vehemently, busting out his gun at his two worrisome friends.

Angered by what she sees, Chen Lin snaps, “Look what you’ve become because of that girl… We are your friends!”

Distressed still, Chen Zai Tian yells,

“What do you know? You don’t know anything! … Lemme tell you the truth, I don’t even need to give up on myself. Cuz I never had anything in the first place. In this world, she is the only one who’s nice to me besides my mom. She’s the only one who looked at me when everybody else ran away from me. She is real. My face, everything I have, and you two… are fabricated…. She let me know I was alive once…

“If you think Hero and I aren’t real,” Chen Lin says in a quiet voice as she moves closer to Zai Tian, “Then shoot me. If we don’t matter to you.” She guides his gun to her forehead. Zai Tian stood there staring at her, a second passed, then his arm went limp. Hero walks up and gently removes the gun from Zai Tian’s hand. “It’s okay”, he tells Zai Tian, “it’s… okay.”

Alone in the police department, Hulk looks up Xiao Ma’s prints. He gets a positive match of a man named Huang Shi Kai from the Marine corp. The man has an impressive record of being outstanding in all areas. Shooting, fighting, judo, there is nothing he hasn’t won an award for. What’s noteworthy is that according to his record, he died in battle three years ago.

Immediately after Hulk looked up Marine man Huang’s record, the phone rings. Startled, Hulk nearly fell off his seat.

Ever since Hero and Chen Lin brought Zai Tian home, he’s been sitting there, lost in thought. While Hero busies himself cleaning up the messy² place, Chen Lin acts chummy with the stone sculpture Chen Zai Tian.

She kneels down beside him and hands him a glass of water. Putting a hand on Zai Tian’s, Chen Lin coos softly, “Do you want a drink? Or, do you want to rest first?”

Hero looks on sadly at Chen Lin’s increasingly transparent affection.

Before Hero’s affliction can intensify, a phone call distracts him. Hulk brings Hero two pieces of information. The first, on Xiao Ma’s true identity. The second, on where the fax was being sent earlier in the day.

When Hero hangs up, anger and hurt filled his eyes and his voice. Feeling betrayed, he turns to Chen Lin and Zai Tian and says curtly,

“Now I know… how I’ve been fooled.”

Hero pushes Chen Lin out of the door, he has something to discuss with Chen Zai Tian.

An intense confrontation thus commences. Hero charges Zai Tian for being San Lian Hui’s spy, Zai Tian barks back that he has no reason to purposely expose himself by bringing Hero to the fax machine in the first place. Flustered in disappointment, Hero cries, “How can you live the muddy life you are leading? Have you never thought to find out what happened?” Facing Hero’s misunderstanding, Zai Tian swallows his bitterness down the throat. Instead, he asks Hero, “Why did you find me then? Why did you save me from myself?”

Stunned for a second, Hero replies, “You are right. I should’ve left you to be. Because a person like you deserve to be in a garbage pile.” (Oh man oh man, that realllllllly hurts.)

After Hero leaves, Zai Tian slumps down on the couch, exhausted by the seemingly never ending current of emotional trauma.

Chen Lin chases after Hero, determined to find out what went wrong. She does find out but she’s also left with a question: between Zai Tian, Hero and herself, what is their relationship?

She enters her car and rests her head on the steering wheel, thinking about Hero’s words. Suddenly, it starts to rain. (SYMBOLISM!!)

Meanwhile at Zai Tian’s home, he has a few visitors.

Comments

When Chen Lin appeared in Episode 1, I was charmed by her mischievousness. But as the plot progresses, that piece of her vanishes. Character inconsistency? I don’t know. All I know is that Chen Lin’s character is becoming more and more disagreeable stagnant. At first, the edge gives her a personality that offsets Xi Ying’s passivity. It was easy to overlook the sassy, feisty temperament as amusing, even galvanizing. But she seems to freeze in that mode of snappish irascibility since then and it’s starting to look tiresome.

Very briefly, about the rain. It came on so suddenly yet so delightfully. The reason I’m raving about it is that it’s a very poetic way of announcing an upcoming change. Not an uncommon approach, but you just don’t see this kind of touch in a TW drama.

6 thoughts on “Black & White, Episode 11”

  1. Wow, Irugnotmis…Great reviews as always.

    I agree with you for the rain scene, it was so beautifully and poetically done (other drama will show a person totally wet under the rain)

    As for Chen Lin, I guess she just never met anyone who reject her and that’s pi**ed her off. But, she also manage to show her soft side when she found Zai Tian, take care of him and when with her father.

    Thanks again !! (LOL, for your above comments ^_^)

  2. Yea I definitely agree that Chen Lin’s character is becoming more boring. At first, she was this awesome, mischievous, kickass, strong character and she is increasingly becoming dramaqueen/basketcase-like 😦

    Random sidenote: halfway through the scene where Hulk was looking up the info on Xiao Ma, I remembered that he had another motive for digging up dirt on him other than investigating a clue, which was that Hulk likes Xiao Lu, who thinks that Xiao Ma is cute. Not that this was some big epiphany or anything, it was just cool because it reminded me how this show has a delightful way of layering complexity into the plot and made me happy 🙂

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