Black & White, Episode 16

Director Lin’s incompetence got herself killed, what will Jian Da De’s heedless decision to kill Director Lin at this critical time cost him?

Despite Jian Da De’s reassurance to the Big Boss that Lin’s death is requisite for them to remain in the dark, a number of motivated individuals in the Southern branch have already noticed a questionable liaison between the business man and the police director. Of the said individuals, team leader Chen was the first to get to Jian Da De — that’s why Hero and Zai Tian saw him heading up the corporation building earlier in the day.

(On a side note, the Big Boss has such a distinctive voice and way of pronunciation, hearing his voice alone tells you who he is. Pity the half shots and wasted efforts to create suspense.)

After reporting to the Big Boss, Jian Da De dials another number using a phone card. He informs the third party (who’s been trying very hard to sound like a native French speaker) to proceed with a negotiation. After hanging up, the stressed business retrieves a tiny vial of Dreamer(?) from his drawer and takes a long sniff.

Ever since the Old Man’s arrest, Chen Lin, Wild Goose, and the San Lian Hui lawyer have been in constant meeting, discussing ways to get their director out. (With Che Jin being the passive observer on the side.) Yet, none seems to be working. The matter is exacerbated with the circulating rumor that someone wants the Old Man assassinated. To avoid such calamity from happening, one potentially viable method is put out in the open: what if a medical emergency were to happen to the Director? The police would have to grant him access to medical care. In doing so, he would be sent to a hospital with heavy surveillance, but San Lian Hui would have more influence over the Old Man’s safety. The big question is how are they going to make the emergency happen if they have no way of getting to the Director? (Get Chen Zai Tian’s help of course!)

The obvious doesn’t escape Chen Lin. She calls Hero and Zai Tian to work out a mutually agreeable plan. When Zai Tian walks into the room, he quickly hunches his back and walks behind Hero to sit down in the corner, as if to say “pretend I’m not here”. Chen Lin greets Hero (and shoots Zai Tian an uncomfortable look) before diving into the topic. Hero scoffs at the idea of a “Prison Break” at first (after all, it is hard to pull off a decent break of any kind, after Paul Scheuring set the bar very, very high with Prison Break. The first two seasons that is, when it’s still pee-in-pants intense.) When the look on Chen Lin’s face registers as being serious, Hero blinks and cries out loud, “You can’t be serious!” (When has she ever joked with you other than the time she half-seriously asked if you would give up being a cop to be with her?)

Asserting her determination, she asks for Hero’s cooperation. While Hero is taking a moment to consider her request, she takes the chance to plea, “Hero, I consider you a valuable friend, that’s why I’m begging you. Help me, please.” “I refuse.” Hero decides unrelentingly, trusting the legal system to make the just verdict. (Haven’t you heard about the mutually inclusive nature of Power and Corruption?) Hero holds the naïve view that as long as the Director is innocent of the crime he’s being charged with, he will eventually walk free. Chen Lin points out the oversimplification in Hero’s logic and stresses that the real intension behind the crisis is to rid the evidences her father has against an evil mastermind, who is responsible for the recent mayhem.

Hero: “Are you out of your mind? We are police, how can we help you rescue a prisoner?!”

Chen Lin:”I didn’t come to you thinking you as a policeman. I came to you as a friend.”

Hero: “Between Right and Wrong, friendship becomes secondary.”

(As rigid as Hero seems, he’s quite admirable for being so persistent with his belief. Wishfully speaking, if all (wo)men with power concern themselves with justice the way Hero does, there would be no corruption.)

When Hero notes Zai Tian’s unusual quietness, he turns to face Zai Tian, incredulously asking if he’s really going to help Chen Lin. To which, Zai Tian replies that he’s still contemplating. Dissatisfied with Zai Tian’s undefined morality, Hero barks, “You are a police for God’s sake! If indeed, you decide to be on the wrong side, I will look down on you for the rest of my life.” With one hard look at Chen Lin, Hero exits.

Chen Lin starts to cry. Zai Tian looks at her, conflicted and annoyed at first, then, he starts to sing. (Wonderful, wonderful parallelism! Will get back to it later.) Slowly, Chen Lin joins him.

Zai Tian: “Whenever I cried, my mother would sing this song to me… Who taught you this song?”

Chen Lin: “My father.”

Zai Tian: “For me, it’s my mom. I remember when I came home crying for being bullied by other kids, my mom would sing to me.”

Chen Lin: “Your mother is the woman my father couldn’t forget…”

Zai Tian: “I feel like I need to say sorry to you… Really, it’s none of our fault… But now, it seems like it’s all our fault… From now on, let’s….

Chen Lin: “No! Can I not be your sister? Can I refuse?”

Deep down, they both know they’ll have to live up their parts as siblings, no matter how unwillingly.

Zai Tian bends down in front of Chen Lin and in a brotherly tone, he assures her, “Don’t worry. Our father… I will make sure nothing happens to him. I will make sure everything will be alright.”

The next day, Zai Tian looks into relevant information for Chen Lin’s break attempt. When Hero discovers it, he lashes out, warning Zai Tian rather forcefully that a police should know where he stands on legal matters. To Hero’s pushiness, Zai Tian responds inappropriately, “Are you jealous?” (I know, I know, Zai Tian is escalating a fight, but somehow, it’s kinda a funny thing to say.) Caught off guard by the sudden question, Hero freezes in mid-motion, Zai Tian continues. “You really do care about her. If today, she’s not my (hypothetical) girlfriend then she would be yours. Would you help her then?” “It’s not a matter of being whose girlfriend, it’s a matter of knowing the difference between right and wrong!” Hero shouts.

Repeating what Chen Lin had said on San Lian street, Zai Tian argues back, “Not everybody in the mob is bad, Chen Lin for example isn’t! … I don’t know how to explain to you but a lot of things aren’t like the two sides of a coin. There are many many things that fall under the gray area!” When asked how to distinguish accordingly, Zai Tian says, “Follow your heart. We are people, not machines, do whatever your heart tells you to do. Chen Lin is your friend, if you want to help her, then do it. Why care so much about what’s black what’s white?” “I didn’t become a cop to help my friends! I became a cop because I care to regulate social justice!”

Zai Tian retorts back,

“You think being a police and falling in love with a mob boss’ daughter are two sets of facts that can’t coexist. But that’s your skewed perception at work to cover up your cowardice!”

Getting defensive now, Hero barks, “I have my own set of values. I don’t need you to teach me what to do!” Zai Tian probes deeper, “Then do you have the courage to tell her you love her?” When Hero doesn’t reply, Zai Tian continues, “You know how much she means to you, yet you let the chances slip by you again and again.” (Wait, what? He had a chance? Oh Right, a long time ago, before you and Chen Lin shared that fateful kiss.)

“Do you know why I let the chances go? It’s because of YOU!” To that, Zai Tian smiles bitterly and says, “I’m actually quite envious of you right now. Well, I’m going to help San Lian Hui no matter what you think. If you’re going to make someone pay for it, come and get me.” “Then watch out, because I will!” shouts Hero at Zai Tian’s distant figure.

With Zai Tian’s help the rescue mission is immediately underway: a bouquet of lilies is snuck into the prison cell for the Old Man’s “birthday”.

Zai Tian drops by the investigation room to see Xi Ying and inquires about the progress of her recovery. Pleased with the extra attention, Xi Ying flushes and quickly moves away to discuss the explosion case. She confirms that the source of the bomb is indeed what Xiao Ma used for the demonstration. Touched by Xi Ying’s perseverance, Zai Tian thanks her for helping him to the extent of almost losing her life. Then he says, “I don’t know how long I still have to investigate the explosion case, because right now, there’s something more important for me to do. When all’s settled, I may not even be a police anymore…”

“Why are you…” Xi Ying starts but stops. Then a thought occurs to her, “You told me once that He Xiao Mei is your true family…” “But now, I found my real family, they’re… they may be the only family I have in this world. I won’t give up finding out the truth about Xiao Mei’s death, but now, I need to do something more important for the family that’s still alive.”

Chen Lin’s lilies triggers her father’s asthma, he’s sent to the hospital. He is issued to be sent back once he stabilizes.

Catching wind of the asthma attack, Hero volunteers to accompany the Old Man back to prison after his condition is contained. Although slightly startled by Hero’s sudden request, the director of the Southern police station agrees to it and expresses confidence in Hero’s ability to accomplish the task.

Sitting in the car before the operation, Hero’s face is hard with resolution. Yet, it’s not until after a laborious mental struggle, did he finally step on the gas peddle.

San Lian Hui has started moving as well. On the one hand Wild Goose is bringing a portion of his men to intersect the Director’s car, on the other hand, he has Ah Tang keeping Che Jin at all cost, until they have rescued the Director.

Nothing goes wrong until they entered a tunnel. (Of course, it’s always the tunnel.) There is a construction team at work, disguise by Wild Goose and his men. When a heavy instrument fell before the medical cart with the Old Man in it, the vehicle is forced to stop. Taking advantage of the moment, some of the sidekicks start to bash the windows of cars to create a commotion while others surround the medical cart and help their mob boss out.

Anticipating this moment, the Old Man smiles triumphantly at the trembling guard in the vehicle. He reaches out a hand and takes a hold of the guard’s gun. Then slowly, he takes the gun away. “I’m not going to kill you,” he says. The petrified guard nods numbly.

The Old Man is greeted by Chen Lin. He looks on and spots Zai Tian. Surprised but pleased, he nods at Zai Tian appreciatively and gets into the police car.

Hero has been driving ahead of the medical cart this whole time. Suddenly, he notices that something is amiss.

He gets off his car and approaches the medical cart cautiously. Before he gets close enough to peak, the vehicle starts moving. He jumps onto the rear, straps himself securely on the protruding edge and looks inside. It’s empty. As he jumps off the moving vehicle, he sees, in his peripheral vision, a police car backing up rapidly.

Instinctively, he runs towards his car and chases after the escaping vehicle.

Despite being 30 km apart, Hero manages to blockade Zai Tian’s car in a head on manner. (Poor tires, had to go through such abuse..)

Zai Tian, Chen Lin get off the car to face a self-justified Hero. Chen Lin begs him to let them go, saying that it’s her father in the car and he’s innocent of the charges imposed on him. Hero ignores Chen Lin’s plea and turns to Zai Tian. He demands, “Chen Zai Tian, you’re a cop! Show me some conscience and common sense! Do you still think I should help you?” “I see.” Zai Tian starts, “Being a cop, I cannot let a suspect get away. But being a son, I cannot do nothing. When I found out the Director is my father, I couldn’t accept it either. But the man you see sitting in that car, he’s changed my life. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be standing here, leading the kind of life I’m living right now. If I don’t save him right now, he will be assassinated later. He. Is. My. Family! Wu Ying Xiong, if it’s your own family, what would you do?”

“Is this true? Is he the director’s son?” Hero turns to Chen Lin, shock written all over his face. Slowly, she nods.

Now torn between his notion of justice and the blood that’s thicker than water, Hero collects himself and tells Zai Tian to hit him. “Hit me. Hit me and win, then I’ll let you go.” Hero has given up. “I owe you one,” is the only thing Zai Tian can say to express his gratitude.

The director is safely relocated. Relieved now, Chen Lin joins Zai Tian at the pond and thanks him again for his help.

“You should thank Wu Ying Xiong. If it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t be able to succeed with just the two of us. I know him too well. A man like him abides by unbreakable rules. Today is the first time he’s broken his rules. He mustn’t be feeling too well right now.”

Zai Tian is exactly right because when Hero returned to the police station, he is faced with the team leader Chen’s explosive anger. Contrary to Hero’s usual hot temper, he exhibits an unnerving coolness towards his superior’s wrath. He lies blatantly that he doesn’t know how and where San Lian Hui found out about the returning route. As for the police car he intercepted on freeway, it didn’t contain the San Lian Hui director. Instead, he found himself ambushed by a group of the director’s sidekicks.

Not believing any of that, the team leader threatens to get to the bottom of this. “If I find any indication that you were part of this, then Wu Ying Xiong, this will be the biggest blemish in your entire career!”

In a subsequent scene between Chen Lin and her father, the topic of Zai Tian being the illegitimate son is brought up once again. “Now I know why you’ve been warning me not to get too close to Chen Zai Tian.” Chen Lin smiles, trying to play it light. “I object because of who he is.” The director says vaguely, “A man, bounded by too much responsible cannot live freely.” “Dad, are you talking about Chen Zai Tian?” Not answering directly, the director continues, “All I can do is reminding you not to fall for a man like that.”

Comments

There’re a few things I want to comment about; let’s start with the specific scenes and work our way to the more general ones.

First of all, I think the singing scene is brilliant. There is an eerie beauty about the way Zai Tian starts singing with Chen Lin joining in later. It parallels the way Chen Lin was echoed by Zai Tian’s humming in episode 3 when she was trying to put An Zai’s mother to sleep. In episode 3, the song brought feelings of nostalgia and provided Zai Tian with a brief moment of catharsis. Here, the song has a calming and comforting affect on Chen Lin — and Chen Zai Tian himself, to some extent. Their coincidental familiarity to the song indicates a shared childhood memory, which reinforces the idea that they are at some ways connected — it’s too early to decide they’re truly half siblings and fully reject the possibility of them getting back together. After all, the director’s response regarding the issue remains at an enigmatic level.

Through the song, they are able to reach a deeper understanding of each other in a more meaningful way. And we haven’t been seeing this kind of simple yet powerful developments since episode 5, when Zai Tian looked at his reflection in the display window and silently asked himself, “who am I?”.

I especially liked the shot when Zai Tian bends down in front of Chen Lin and promises to do whatever he can to help their father. We’ve been seeing Zai Tian slipping in and out of different stages: he was depressed, withdrawn, then he was focused (and receded back to his careless, flirtatious self for a short, short segment), and now, he’s taking on a more mature and thoughtful role as a big brother. The moment he puts his hands on her arms and looks her in the eye, you know he’s not the same man.

So the story has taken good care to develop Zai Tian as a character, what about Hero? Hero is going through major dilemma this whole episode and he is starting to open up to possibilities outside his rigid, black-and-white world — yet his changes aren’t as transparent as Zai Tian’s have been.

There has been multiple incidences of conflict happening between Hero and Zai Tian. Each time, Hero always makes whatever new revelation seem irreparable to their relationship. Yet, each time, after a period of hostility, they always end up like nothing ever happened and go on calling the other bro. It’s implicit that Hero would have to have underwent massive adjustments to be ok with Zai Tian again, yet a little more transition would make the developments appear less sloppy.

With regard to Mark Zhao’s acting in this episode, I think he’s coming off a bit too forceful. It almost makes Hero seem narrow-minded rather than a stickler to beliefs —  like he’s mad not for the sake of justice, but because he couldn’t exert control over Zai Tian’s decisions and actions. HOWEVER, when Hero asks Zai Tian to hit him and essentially let them go, the conflict, the torment, and the shock are well played.

Compare to Hero and Zai Tian, Xi Ying is a much more static character. Always overlooked yet indispensable, she’s almost the under-appreciated maternal figure for the two leads.

To put an end to this super long comment section, I’ll say this: I’m glad that Dreamer is brought back to allow continuity with the first five episodes.

8 thoughts on “Black & White, Episode 16”

  1. Thank you for the great recap episod 16.
    I also love reading your detail analize especially the scene Zai Tian singing and followed by Chen Lin.

  2. Nice ! Great recap irugnotmis. Detailed and ur addition of personal opinion . I love reading it . ^^ be motivated .

  3. thanks again for the recap. I like this episode much more than the previous. you analysis is really good . it makes me think lol
    I think the rescue was played out really well. with the asthma attack, then the tunnel etc.
    the more i watch this the more positive i am that zai tian and chen lin aren’t siblings which is a bummer now cos having watched the next two eps already. im liking a fresh unexpected pairing =]

    keep up the great work . looking forward to your next recap =]

    side notes:
    -ah tang is so cute! lol
    – must the MOB boss always live in a very green place? not that im complaining =]
    – what font is this layout set in? Its really pretty

  4. Thanks very very much for the recap. Enjoyed it a great deal. This is probably one of my favourite episodes of B&W. The scenes I love most :
    – Chen Lin asking YX and ZT to help her get her father out of prison.
    – CL and ZT facing the “truth” about being siblings….singing that song together was soo poignant, esp remembering the much much earlier scene when CL was singing to An-Ma and ZT sang along unexpectedly (btw, I definitely DO NO believe they are siblings).
    – YX confronting ZT at the police HQ balcony and their “B&W” heated argument (really really love the dynamics here).
    – ZT with XY at the lab and how he asked her to continue investigating in case he can’t be a cop anymore. You can tell XY has fallen for ZT. (gushing – ZT looks absolutely Gorgeous here in black!)
    – YX chasing after ZT. CL, Hui-chang, and him asking ZT to punch him. I cried at this scene when ZT threw the first punch – you can feel the conflict of emotions between the two guys. Love their friendship.

    The scene where ZT and CL stood side-by-side near the lake (?) was very beautiful. Wish it was longer. And you can see that ZT is trying to get CL to like YX…

    All-in-all, one of the most satisfactory episode for me!

    sytwo

    P.S. Excuse me if all my favourite scenes has ZT in it. Seriously, trying to be as non-bias as I can, I do think that whenever ZT appears, his mere presence somehow “perks up” the whole scenario. Maybe cuz things are always happening whenever he is around.

    1. speaking of bias, you’re not the only one. i mean, this drama is custom made for Vic according to the director. so, that’s that.

      Vic’s acting is definitely more solid than Mark’s; there’s no question about the little “spark” you were talking about. it just doesn’t “dazzle” me the same way.

      1. I think the pizi role was custom-made for Vic, not the drama. In fact the situation is also pretty similar for YX’s role, where Dir Cai actually amended the role to be close to Mark’s real character when Mark won the role. In one interview, Dir Cai’s wife who is the producer said they like to create characters based on the actor/actress who will be portraying it. Of course, the main plotline does center a lot around ZT, and Vic also added his own flavor to it that was not written in the script.

        In the end, this drama is great not because of one factor (e.g. the cast) but because of everything put together. I’ve said it before and say it again, that Dir Cai is the real hero of B&W. Sure, there are flaws, but the positives more than make up for it (at least in my humble opinion. You may of course have a totally different POV).

        sytwo

  5. IMO, xiao ma is chen lin’s true bro.. Zai tian might be somehow related bt not in blood relations to san lian’s boss.

    Btw i thought 20th episodes were the last. Extended to 24? Perhaps..

  6. I love your personal comments! But I have a glow by Hero since when I realized he was a very proud man, but perhaps the most fragile of all the characters. He is not strong, in contrast, he is weak and can not deal well when there are situations that fuses his feelings. He’s been completely destabilized since Zai Tian became a friend that he just can not stop loving. Hero’s pride is hurt and probably he’s ashamed of himself. I guess it is very hard to somebody like him accept that gets involved by other people without resistance. In the end, the feeling I have is that he is always alone…
    This episode made me realize why I’m so poisoned with this drama yet I have never been fan of police dramas. *.*

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