Black & White, Episode 20

The Old Man’s look of shock gradually softens to a smile. “Alike, very alike.” he marvels. “What?” already choking on tears, Hero musters with great difficulty. “Your eyes. They look exactly like your mothers.” (Er, I just mentally dropped a wig on Hero’s head… Let’s just say the resulting image does not look very flattering.) “Who are you?” Hero demands confirmation, apparently not taking the all too plain truth very well.

To deepen Hero’s frustration, the Old Man walks away, shaking his head left and right while muttering to himself, “I was wrong. I was completely wrong!” “Can you PLEASE tell me what is going on?” Hero begs, “Isn’t Chen Zai Tian your son? What am I? Are we brothers?”

Swinging back, the Old Man reprises sharply, “You said you’re no longer a cop?” “Answer me! Tell me who I am!” Hero cries. Ignoring Hero’s break down, the Old Man continues his line of inquiry, “What happened?” Collecting himself, Hero answers, “I was suspended.” He briefly explains the tight situation he’s bestowed upon and tells the Old Man he’ll be back to assist the investigation as the primary suspect.

“No, no no, you Can’t go!” “Why not? I am INNOCENT! My gun was stolen and I have no motive to kill!” Using himself as an example, the Old Man tells Hero that his recent encounters are the result of being an obstacle to some people’s success. When asked who these people are , the Old Man pauses and gives Hero an unsatisfactory reply: enemy, enemy to the country. “If you insist on risking your life by going back, then your sacrifice would be wasted. Because there is something bigger, more important waiting for you to do.” After a quick beat of forethought, he adds, “For your mother, I’ll protect you. And, I’ll tell you everything there is to know about your mother, when the time comes.” (Hey, that’s the one line I know by heart.)

Hero is temporarily pacified.

Hero may be safe now, but Xi Ying’s fate is still largely unknown.

Y2J – Terminate [download]

She wakes up to find herself tie up and in Cheng Nuo’s disposition. He threatens her to surrender the chip; little does he know, despite the docile appearance, Xi Ying is as tough as nails. When necessity calls for it, she will bite. Besides, she knows about the Night Wanderers and that might just play the mind game to her advantage.

Pinning Xi Ying to a wall with a knife, Cheng Nuo threatens to kill her. Quivering in fear but as unwaivering as ever, Xi Ying retorts, “You’ll kill me either way” and says no more. He takes a deep breath and draws away to consider her, then lunging forward suddenly, he terrorizes her, “Then WHO did you give the chip to? Wu Ying Xiong? Chen Zai Tian?” Frightened, Xi Ying raises her arms in a defensive “x”, to block Cheng Nuo as far away from her as possible. “TELL ME!” But she only trembles fearfully and keeps her lips tighter. “I’ll kill Wu Ying Xiong first, then Chen Zai Tian. I’ll kill off everyone you care about. I will crack you. Now let me ask you again, where is the chip?”

Then, in the bottomless pit of terror, shines a light of wisdom; a thought occurs to Xi Ying. “Cheng Nuo, I know your name. I know everything about you and your sister,” she gambles boldly. “How did you know?” he jerks away and staggers, confusion and shock written all over his face. Xi Ying grows more confident, “I know you were trained to kill and you were raised by your sister. Am I right? You must be a child solider.” Seeing his silence as acquiescence, she takes the liberty to make more assumptions, “You loved your sister; so much, you are willing to do anything for her. But do you know how many people died because of you?” Her last sentence lands on a mine; he explodes, “Stop preaching me! They betrayed us first! They killed my sister and ruined her reputation…! I’ll make them pay. Everyone of them.” Xi Ying tries to talk Cheng Nuo out of it — no matter how sweet the fruit if vengeance, his sister won’t return — he responds with anger, denial, and eventually grief.

Taking Cheng Nuo’s moment of weakness as her best opportunity to escape, Xi Ying loosens the rope on her ankle and strikes Cheng Nuo on the head when he lease expects it. Hence starts Xi Ying’s 15 minutes on the run. (Compare to the dangers Chen Lin lived through, Xi Ying’s are less in number but WAY more exciting.)

Annnnyhow.

Guess what Hulk finds!? Guess! Guess again! Yessssss the chip!

If there is anyone who can tell Xi Ying what the chip contains, it’s Hulk.

Xi Ying’s hide and seek continues. As soon as she escapes from the clutches of Cheng Nuo, she dials a number on the phone and asks for help. Not having the time to really think about who she has called, Xi Ying curls up in what she now realizes as the compartment of a train. Soon, two men arrive on site, claiming to bring Xi Ying to safety. Between trusting her life in the hands of two strangers and being recaptured by Cheng Nuo, Xi Ying reluctantly chooses the first. But when realizing that these men weren’t here to bring her home, Xi Ying backs away, seeking other escape routes.

There weren’t any. Just as one man is about to catch Xi Ying, Cheng Nuo steps out from behind and intervenes. Sandwiched in between, Xi Ying runs for her life — only to be cornered again. But this time, the dynamic is much more interesting. On one hand it’s one of the two men holding a gun at Xi Ying; on the other hand, it’s Cheng Nuo, taking hostage of the other man.

“Drop your gun or I’ll shoot your partner.” Cheng Nuo yells. The man slowly lowers his gun and Bang!, he’s shot dead. Temporarily immobilized, Xi Ying pants heavily. She turns and stars at her savior Cheng Nuo for a prolonged beat; she runs. He stood there, watching.

Ever since Lao Li qualifies himself as the fishy retiree who’s holding back on considerable amount of information, Zai Tian’s got his eyes on Lao Li. Today, Lao Li is meeting up with someone in the stadium. Zai Tian follows but looses his target. He swirls around, trying to relocate Lao Li. Then finally, he spots him.

While Zai Tian is making way to eavesdrop on Lao Li’s conversation with a toothpick-chewing man, Lao Li has already handed the man a package of information and disclosed his intention to retire. “Someone in the station has suspected me. It’s becoming dangerous for me,” he says. Point to note, Lao Li does tell the other to expedite whatever they were plotting. Time, according to him, is ticking fast.

When Zai Tian and Lao Li finally come face to face, Zai Tian expresses his disappointment, disheartened that the fatherly figure in the station is in fact, the traitor. Lao Li denies none of Zai Tian’s accusations, he simply tells Zai Tian that, “things are not what they appear to be.” But he does swear (rather convincingly) that he did not steal the rifle. On the contrary, he is secretly investigating the said case and has made recent progress. Despite the candor, Lao Li, like the Old Man, refuses to spill his real intentions. He begs for faith and more time.

“Why should I trust you?” Zai Tian asks slowly, not breaking eye contact. “Because,” suddenly raising his voice, Lao Li says,

“Because what I want is not money. I want justice, I want the Truth! For that, I’m willing to put my life on the line! If I were in for the profit, I would’ve run away once the money came through. But I’m not. That’s why I’m still here. For that, you should believe me.”

Zai Tian contemplates Lao Li’s passionate confession, then, he leaves.

Next day in the police station, when Lao Li sees Zai Tian, he walks up to Zai Tian and says, “I know you still don’t trust me. But it’s ok because one day, you will. What I want to tell you now is that if one day, I suddenly disappear, I will leave all my things to you. Especially my CDs, some oldies… You’ll like ’em.” He smiles at the mention of his record collection — full of nostalgia, love, and regret — then he turns to leave Zai Tian lost in thought… (Aww, sadness.)

On the side line, Hulk is caught staring at the tiny chip by Xiao Lu. Out of caution, Hulk preserves the secrecy of the chip and shifts the topic of discussion on Xi Ying. A transient trace of discomfort at the topic flashes across Xiao Lu’s face and it disappears as quickly as it had appeared.

Providence would have it that Chen Zai Tian, now shouldered with the responsibilities of the Criminal Investigation team, must set out to capture Hero, who failed to show up for Chen’s murder investigation. Accept the assignment as he must, he calls Hero and warns him of the danger. To Zai Tian’s surprise, it’s Wild Goose who answered the phone and told him of San Lian Hui’s protection over Hero.

In wild disbelief, Zai Tian checks his phone twice between returning to the conversation. Wild Goose tells Zai Tian, rather gravely, that from now on, Chen Zai Tian is no longer related to San Lian Hui. The face, the house, and the car are his to keep but the monthly bank deposit and the newly acquired family… aren’t. To refrain from sending Zai Tian into a cardiac arrest in the middle of a perfectly vibrant episode, Wild Goose hangs up without disclosing the disturbing details.

Zai Tian is completely bewildered by the cut off. He rushes to the Old Man’s hide out to demand an explanation but once in front of the Man of Authority, he puts on his best nonchalant pokerface and asks why. Why?

The Director turns apologetically to face Zai Tian, “I’m sorry,” he says, “I made a mistake. You weren’t the man we were looking for.” He proceeds to tell Zai Tian that at the age of three, the woman whom he called mother for most of his childhood adopted him from the streets. To strike Zai Tian with the detrimental blow, the Director tells Zai Tian, point blank, that Hero is his mother’s real son.

Denial. Denial is the only force of energy that keeps Zai Tian from crumbling in front of the Old Man. He tells the Director that his mother could not be the kind of heartless woman that abandons her own son. As a matter of fact, she treated him very, very well — even though he was not nurtured in her womb — if it weren’t for her declining health, she would not have left him so soon. “Yes. She is not that kind of a mother. She sent him away for her own reasons.” The Old Man replies.

Growing increasingly emotional, Zai Tian throws his arms in the air and commences, “Oops I got the wrong guy. Sorry and see ya — is that how you’re treating me? You know what this means? This means I’m like a dog you can kick aside whenever you please; this means the guy who should’ve been dragged to the plastic surgery table was Wu Ying Xiong; this means I’m supposed to go back to the streets and be the vagrant I was so good at being. What was I supposed to do? Oh convince myself that Everything, EVERYTHING is nothing but a grand dream.” Sighing guiltily, the Old Man says, “If you want, I can be your friend…” (Oh yes, a friend is just what he needed.)

“Friend?” he scoffs. No longer fighting the gathering tears, Zai Tian sobs, “Did you know you made me believe that I still have a family? You made me believe I’m no longer alone in this world. For “family”, I risked my life to save you; because I cared for you. And I thought I wasn’t wrong for looking out for my family. Turns out, I’m not related to anyone. I’m still alone. All alone.”

The Old Man attempts to console Zai Tian, but Zai Tian snaps right back and makes the one promise before walking away: from now on, he will not sit and watch as other people control his life.

Even though the world out there has been turned upside down for Chen Zai Tian, Hero is oblivious to all. He is hiding away in a forgotten bar — introduced to him (and Zai Tian) by the undercover cop who died at sea — drinking his life away.

Facing a concerned Chen Lin, Hero has no trouble diving into his early onset of midlife crisis. Blabbering incessantly, this pathetic basket case soon-to-be divulges into the disillusioning duality between appearance and actuality that he has only observed recently. Feeling cheated, confounded, and frustrated, tears gush out of his tear ducks.

Chen Lin listens silently, sympathetically — until Hero says, “Justice doesn’t matter. In the end, what I really cared about is you.” So it’s the angst about falling in love with a half sister ALL. OVER. AGAIN.

Teary eyed, Hero picks up Chen Lin’s slender hand and holds it lovingly between both of his.

“Why?” he says, “Haven’t I look at you this closely before? Why, haven’t I said I like you before? I like you so much.” He shakes his head regretfully and continues after sniffling softly, “Every morning, yours is the first face I want to see. I want to hold your hand at night, hug you, listen to your voice… Why, why didn’t I tell you these before? … Why did I wait to tell you I love you, I want to be with you everyday? But now… I can’t.”

“I don’t understand what you mean.” Perplex and bothered by Hero’s emotional state, Chen Lin asks. Hero explains, “Remember you said you rather I’m your brother? Well, I am.” I think it’s cruel to feel a rush of happiness at the revelation that brings immense pain to another, but to Chen Lin, Hero being her brother means she gets a second chance with Zai Tian.

Speaking of Zai Tian, he is, in utter despair, revisiting his “natural habitat”.

A montage of his old beggar days flash across him. He busts out his gun, shoots the underside of the bridge blindly — the place he used to dwell — and runs away.

When he returns to the police station to meet with the director in secret, his is once again the composed Chen Zai Tian.

The director makes small talk by exclaiming the beauty of the lit up street. Then he turns around and tells Zai Tian, “I know about your relationship with the San Lian Hui boss. He arranged for your plastic surgery; you stole a patrol vehicle and saved him. Don’t be alarmed by how much I know. When you are sitting on a position as high as mine, there’s scarcely information you don’t know. I didn’t rattle you out because I believe you are a good guy and you have the potential to be more. You were only the victim of someone else’s manipulation. If one day, the Old Man is through with you, he’ll kick you away like a lap dog.”

“What do you mean?” “You know very well what I mean. This is reality.” He glances at Zai Tian and seeing the intensity in his prey’s eyes. Almost on hook. The shrewd man continues, “You may feel betrayed by many and all alone. But have you ever thought that I might be your only lasting friend? I just want to ask you one thing, what are you looking for in life? Why let other people decide the course of your life? Why don’t you go and get the Old Man.” The director urges, then reading the reluctance between Zai Tian’s furrowed brows, he backs down and pats the object of his manipulation on the shoulder, “You wont. And I won’t ask you to. But remember, you are the Team Leader now. I want you to think about it. What’s blocking your path? What if it’s gone?”

The next thing we know, Zai Tian sends Chen Lin a text message, intended for Hero. In the message, Zai Tian asks to see Hero alone, saying that he’s found the culprit who set Hero up.

“Since when did you trust me wholeheartedly?” Zai Tian starts suddenly when Hero has showed up at the destined location, dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt. Hero turns the corner and sees Zai Tian, dressed also in black. Zai Tian continues dangerously, “Ah, lemme guess, you must still think I’m your partner. So you ignored San Lian Hui’s protection and snuck out here to see me.” Confused, Hero chuckles nervously, “Didn’t you ask me to come?”

With a corked smile, Zai Tian replies, “There was no break through. I didn’t think you were so simple minded. I thought it’d be a challeng to catch you.” He corks his head, a tinge of mockery hanging loose on his lips. Stunned, Hero backs away, unable to process the information. Zai Tian advances slowly, never breaking eye contact. “It’s a trap! But why?” Hero shakes his head in disbelief. “I’m only doing my job.” Zai Tian answers lightly. By then, Hero’s body guards from San Lian Hui have cough up to Hero.

“You! Even you were bought!” Hero cries while being ushered away by the body guards. Ignoring the look of pain on Hero’s face, Zai Tian continues darkly, “Who would think there will be a day that the righteous Hero would fall under the protection of the very people he detested.” Then with a wave of the hand, Zai Tian orders for Hero’s arrest.

O sweet, sweet revenge!

Comments

This is an emotion heavy episode. The events that contribute to the various flash points are unremarkable in themselves, but when placed in the intricate framework fueled by causal relationships, the impacts push the story line forward and spark a few flames along the way.

Case in point #1: Cheng Nuo’s sister’s death. She is, flat out, the evil-doer’s right hand, the executioner. I could care less what happened to her. But her death effectively marks the turning point for Cheng Nuo. Prior to losing his sister, he was this devoted kid brother who obeyed without questioning — but only to his sister. With her gone, he is given revenge as the excuse to jump back in the game; but now, there is no longer any reason for him to stay on the Minister of Defense’s side. His contact with Xi Ying makes for a possibility for him to switch sides. Allow me to explain.

Cheng Nuo is an orphan; he is raised by his sister single handedly. Consequently, she plays the role of both the older sister AND the maternal figure, which justifies his ardent love for her. He is, to the core, a wounded boy with an emotional need for motherly affection. As I said before, Xi Ying’s been playing the under-appreciated maternal figure all along, it’s only right for her to reform Cheng Nuo with love and kindness. To strength the suggestion with proof, Cheng Nuo’s transition from being unrelenting to letting Xi Ying escape before his eyes earlier in the episode reinforces the influence Xi Ying has on him.

Case in point #2: the revelation of Hero’s birth. Taking mind off the romantic entanglement, who is the Old Man’s real son becomes a moot point. However, the Old Man’s treatment of Zai Tian creates an opening to accomplish two things 1) reveal the police station director as a man capable of manipulation and deception and 2) to weaken Zai Tian’s will and morph his well established personality in a brand new direction.

The dark persona gives Vic an opportunity to be more versatile with his acting and creates the right kind of drama that does exactly what it’s supposed to do — stimulate interest! In short, Chen Zai Tian at the end of the episode is so bad that it’s GOOD!

5 thoughts on “Black & White, Episode 20”

  1. Oh boy, oh boy!
    Things are now getting more exciting that I can’t hardly wait for the next recap. I just noticed that the screencaps are lesser and it took a while for this thing to be posted. But nah, i don’t care. As long as you are keeping it coming until the end, i’ll wait.
    Thank you for this post so much!

  2. Well, after watching this episode I feel so mad with Chen Lin father, because it sounds to me so illogical that after having Zai Tian in a operation room for a really long time, he never think in having some DNA test. Lets say he isnt his father, either way if he is taking care of him in name of somebody he could be more careful, and in my opinion all the situation was a way to manipulate Zai Tian all along.

  3. I LOVE this episode!! EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING changes and NOTHING is what it seems to be!!! I love this kind of twisted dramas when nothing happens in a predictable manner.

    I have to admit (tho, i m sure i m not the only one): Vic’s explosion of his darker side is just HOT! The pendant and black shirt combo? fabulous, darling!

  4. zai zai at the end of this episode was amazing. i can really see how far hes actually come in terms of acting during his meteor garden days

    (and doesn’t the wind blowing his permanent fringe out of the way look so hot?)

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