Black & White, Episode 21

Under his two body guards’ protection, Hero fled for his life.

“I want him alive!” Zai Tian clamors as the commotion unfolds right before his eyes.

In the turbulence, the two body guards sacrificed themselves to the pursing policemen in order to give Hero the split second advantage he needed to escape.

For the sake of preserving his life, he ran. But not with honor. When he’s almost safely inside, walking amongst ordinary shoppers, Hero looks at his bare hands as if asking, “What have I done?”

The guilt of forsaking his protectors’ safety in exchange of his own catches up to him; Hero grabs onto his hood in frustration, his face, already contorted by pain — but there is no time to wallow, the police are still tailing behind. So crash and burn, Hero skids across the slippery floor of the mall, heading towards the nearest exit, frantically looking for a way out. He is saved by a black van parked outside the glass gliding door.

You see, this whole paternity “enigma” really made a splash in the already muddy lotus pond. Lines are drawn, backs are turned, and trust issue raised high above the head. Now, on top of the guilt the Old Man feels towards Zai Tian, who, a day ago was still his illegitimate son, the inattention for Hero, his real son, and the stagnant battle against “enemies of the country”, the San Lian Hui director finds himself owing his daughter an explanation.

By the looks of it, the Old Man will be owing that explanation for a few more episodes — while he assures Chen Lin that he has good reasons for doing the things he did (e.g. turning fictitious best pals/bros into enemies), he cannot discuss the matter with her just yet. (Stop with the “it’s not time” excuse already! Once, twice? Fine, you’re building suspense. The third time? I’m yawning and thinking it’s getting old. But ok, I’ll be patient. The fourth time? Forget it, you’re effing impossible.)

Chen Lin doesn’t appear to have much patience for the, well, patience game, either. She brushes her father’s hand aside and says, “The pain your decisions inflicted on us (i.e. Hero, Zai Tian, her mother who just turned in her grave, and Chen Lin herself) will never fully assuage.” Harsh words to say to an otherwise doting father, but the affect is there.

With Hulk, things are either very dull or very, very eventful. On this day, he receives a call from Xi Ying, asking him to meet her in the Ikea across the street in half an hour, alone.

Knowing the rules of stealth, Hulk and Xi Ying pretend to be looking at the various kitchen appliances while surreptitiously exchange information. Xi Ying tells Hulk that the chip must contain important information because a lot of people out there are looking for it and she’s almost killed for it. Hulk replies that the chip is encrypted in a bizarre and complicated manner, he has yet to decode it. But he’s on it and has a trustworthy friend’s help.

Then comes the vital information: recall that Xi Ying called the police station for help after striking Cheng Nuo on the head. Instead of aid, came more danger. Xi Ying is now telling Hulk that the person who picked up her call that night was Xiao Lu. She wants Hulk to keep an eye out for her. “Also”, she warns, “before we know who is the traitor, don’t bring the chip in before you’ve decoded it. It might endanger you. Please, please keep it a secret. You’re my last hope.” Hulk nods heavily.

Short of falling in the luscious arms of prostitutes, Hero is practically a basket case on the verge of becoming an alcoholic. Classy, ain’t he? Maybe he should consider dark eyeliner and perhaps, growing his hair out to better fit this new image. (But he kinda looks hot with the hood and the five o’clock shadow.)

Tired of the confined lives, Hero gets up to go to the men’s room. In the restroom, a ringing phone catches his attention. Ignoring it at first, Hero eventually gives in to curiosity and picks it up. “Bonjour my Hero,” a familiar voice rings on the other side. “Lei Mu Sha!” Hero cries, “How dare you call me! Did you know what you did to me?” “I don’t have the time to listen to you whine and complain, do as I say.” She cuts him off impatiently and proceeds to bark orders at him.

First, he is to put on the bluetooth and slide the cell phone in his pocket. Then, place his own cell on the toilet. “Get rid of the guards and come find me. Do as I say or get ready to prepare a funeral for your mother.” She threatens darkly. (For a split second, I thought Hero’s biological mother faked her death, but alas, ‘t is not so. Pretty lady is referring to the adopted mother.)

Meet Dork #2 (above left). Who’s Dork #1 you ask? Well of course, our one and only Hulk-san! After (supposedly) laborious attempts, they finally cracked the encryption and got to the meat of the tiny chip. What they are seeing before them is a list of numbers, diagrams, and an arms trading agreement. (Why do you need to plot treason or warfare if you’re running to be and most likely will be, the president? Politicians and their money corrupted ambitious minds.)

Minutes after Hulk discovers the content of the chip, he gets a call from Hero, asking him to bring him the chip without providing any plausible reasons. Hero went as far as lying that Xi Ying instructed him to do so. Given the close intimacy between Xi Ying and Hero, Hulk believes him. (Now why is there no outward display of moral deliberation between what’s right in a Absolutist’s mind and what’s right in a Relativist’s mind?)

At the obscure meeting place, Hulk hands Hero an object wrapped in yellow fabric. Satisfied, but not completely, Lei Mu Sha then orders Hero to push Hulk off the building. Hero struggles, refuses twice, and bites his lower lip. He pushes Hulk backward and pins him against the rail but retracts at the last minute. He can’t do it. Even if Lei Mu Sha is threatening him with the life of his adopted mother.

His resistance is futile. As Hulk stands there, utterly confused as to what’s going on, he gets shot. (WHAT! You’re trying to kill off my favorite character!? #$&#*$#!) NOW, this gun shot scene is acted out SO MUCH BETTER than when Team leader Chen was killed.

Hero leans over the rail quickly and spots Lei Mu Sha, holding a gun at his mother. She demands the chip, he throws the wrapped object down. She snatches it and lets go of Hero’s mother — without checking the content inside the wrap. How careless of her.

Hero quickly makes a run towards his mother, frees her, hugs her, and tells her to call the cops and save Hulk before disappearing into the night again.

Zai Tian is less than thrilled when he sees Chen Lin at his door. He says nothing and lets her follow him in.

“I’ve seen my dad,” she starts. “It’s all his fault.” Zai Tian puts down his glass and mutters resentfully. Suddenly turning to her, he repeats again through clenched teeth, “Everything. is. his. fault. Even when I was living on the streets, I wasn’t as humiliated as I am now.”

“[I’m] like a puppet, tossed away once he’s through. It felt terrible, did you know that?” he reiterates. Chen Lin sighs deeply. “Where is Wu Ying Xiong?” Zai Tian questions, half drunkenly. “Why?” “Tell your Da Yan uncle to give him up. Otherwise, I’ll tell the police department director where your dad is hiding.” That got Chen Lin’s attention.

She shifts uncomfortably in her seat and purses her lips, “You can’t do that.” He takes a sip of his liquor and narrows his eyes, savoring the fruit of his vengeance. “Why not?” he challenges. Refusing to be intimidated by Chen Lin’s intense stare, Zai Tian puts down his glass and leans in close, “When your dad dragged me off the streets, did he ask for my permission? When he cut ties with me, did he ask if it’s okay? If he can, why can’t I return the favor?”

“Quit acting like this,” Chen Lin employs, “I know you are angry. I know it feels awful. But no matter what, shouldn’t we watch out for each other?” But Chen Zai Tian, under the influence of hatred and alcohol, sees no promise looming over. He ignores Chen Lin’s plea and hovers over her, “Since we’re not siblings anymore…” He forces himself on top of her — despite her struggle — and pins her to the couch. “Didn’t you say you like me? Prove it.”

Hero didn’t run away to safety like he did at the mall. He is chasing after Lei Mu Sha, to get the chip back. Knowing the importance of that chip, he calls Xiao Ma and asks two favors: 1) track down his location through the cell phone signal and 2) call the cops. He needs every force possible to hold Lei Mu Sha down before it’s too late.

“You said you like the me now. Watch closely, what you see is the real me.” Still pinning Chen Lin down, Zai Tian speaks softly, “Hating me yet? Regretting fall for me? If it’s Wu Ying Xiong, he wouldn’t treat you like this. — She only stares up at him, tears twirling by the corner of her eyes. — He’s tender than me, gentler than me, if it weren’t for the fact that he’s your brother…” At that moment, she kisses him.

a-Lin – P.S. I Love You [download]I find this song especially befitting. The lyrics says I love you without reserve/ I love you till the end/… /I can’t forget the first time you kissed me.

More or less expecting Chen Lin to spit in his face and tell him she never wants to see him again, Zai Tian is stunned by the kiss. While he remains unresponsive, she kisses deeper, moves from his lower lips to his upper lips. Then wrapping a hand around the nape of his back, a thumb resting on his ear, she pulls him back and confesses, “No matter who my brother is, you are the man I love.” Fondling his ear lovingly, she continues, “I’ve never regretted it. No matter how you are, I still love you. I care about you just as I care about Hero. But it’s a different kind of love. I care about him because he is one dear friend of ours. I think you’ll agree with me. Think of the many events we’ve experienced together, where can we find another person who’s willing to give so much for friendship?” (I like how she uses “our”/”ours” and “we” as if the two of them really were an item.)

Cooing softly, she comforts him, “It’s alright. Everything’s gonna be okay.”

By tradition, nice moments must be interrupted by phone calls. This one is no exception. It’s Xiao Ma calling to warn Chen Lin of the danger Hero might face. He advises her to go and help Hero.

Zai Tian looks up, alarmed.

Once receiving Xiao Ma’s message, Chen Lin rushes to save her brother. Zai Tian lingers by her car, showing no intention of joining her. Bewildered, she wonders, “You’re not planning to save Hero?” Zai Tian replies honestly, “I don’t know.”

“It’s not that difficult! Look at me.” She tells him. When Zai Tian’s eyes remains hidden behind his bangs, she demands again, “LOOK AT ME! (*whistles* Oh la la, she has presence. I like that.) Answer a simple question for me, do you want to keep Wu Ying Xiong as your friend?” Suddenly emotional, Zai Tian gets in the car.

Hero finds himself in a deserted corridor. The sound of something banging lures him into a room. He enters cautiously. More corridor, more doors. Further and further, he goes down the rabbit hole.

Until finally, Lei Mu Sha traps him inside a room.

Pressing a hand to the cold door, Mu Sha says one last good bye to her lover before heading towards the fire alarm. She pulls down the lever to release CO2. The facility immediately starts its automated shut down system and seals the room. The gas that would typically kill the fire is slowly suffocating Hero.

Zai Tian and Chen Lin arrive 10 seconds before the oxygen’s completely depleted in the room. With the lock broken, the electric wire damaged, there is only one way to open the door and save Hero: Zai Tian throws himself at the broken wires and forces them together. A surge of electricity rushes through him, galvanizing him and throwing him across the doorway. Chen Lin takes the split second to force the door open, a gush of fresh air enters the gas chamber.

With both men down, the grieving little wife Chen Lin is worried sick. She cries, administers CPR, and eventually revives Chen Zai Tian. (Pshh you’re not saving your brother first?) At Zai Tian’s inquiry, Chen Lin heads to check on Hero. She runs inside and shakes Hero silly, yelling, “Hero you can’t die! The cops are coming! Wake up!” (Wait, no CPR for him? I thought he needed oxygen!) Slowly, Hero starts to cough.

Two weakened men, a life and death experience, time for truce, no? “I didn’t think you would come to save me.” Hero starts first. “I didn’t think I would either.” Zai Tian answers truthfully. After a pause, he continues, “I didn’t know why I would act that way in the past couple days. That instant, when the Director cut me off, I suddenly felt I’ve lost everything. Including my identity. Buddy, can you understand how I felt? I returned home that day, looking at everything in the house and thought to myself that I will Not go back to the life of a vagabond. I don’t want anyone to take anything from me anymore. So when I found out that you replaced me, I was filled with fear. Because I didn’t know what was going to happen next.”

Hero has been fixating on Zai Tian as he reveals his inner turmoil. When Zai Tian contents that after reconciling with the abandonment issue, he was able to see the opportunity given to him to relive life, Hero lets out a resigned sigh. “Buddy, I’m sorry.” Zai Tian offers. Hero blinks and accepts the apology. Then he turns and says, “There is something I’ve been wanting to ask.” Hero licks his chapped lips and asks, “Our mother, what kind of person is she?”

Zai Tian leans in and whispers, “Our mother, she’s hot.” lol

“I’ve never seen another woman that beautiful. Her voice is always so gentle. She would hum whenever she does chores… I’ve never seen her mad. Ever. We were very poor. Mom would take me to work at the farms, just so we can have something for a meal. But whenever she sees someone poorer than us, she would give ’em her money. That’s her. She’s so nice. She’s the kindest person I’ve ever met. Without her, I wouldn’t be alive today.”

“You have so many wonderful memories with mom, you are very fortunate.”

“You’re right” Zai Tian chuckles after thinking about it for a second, “I’m so much more fortunate than you.” And so, the two crying men laughed at eached other and laughed away their conflict.

Dropping Zai Tian off from the hospital, Chen Lin stops him and says, “I’m very happy that I fell in love with you. No matter how you were before, you’ve become the man I can love and trust. You were very brave today.” To end the night on a positive tone, she adds jokingly, “Don’t get the impression that I don’t care at all. I’m still gonna get your old picture (before the surgery) from my dad for reference.”

After an eventful day, Zai Tian is in no mood to jump back to work. But it is this time a self proclaimed investigator named Wu Yang decides to call Zai Tian. He wants to meet at th police station, emphasizing again and again that what he have to say cannot wait. It’s five in the morning, what can possibly be more important than Chen Zai Tian’s beauty sleep?!

But being the good cop that he is, Zai Tian goes as designated. Turns out, Mr. Wu Yang is the same toothpick chewing guy Lao Li was meeting the other day in the stadium. Learning his lesson, Zai Tian demands a show of the badge…

Meanwhile, Xi Ying gets a call from Hero, informing her of Hulk’s injury as well as the loss of the chip. Giving her a second to recollect her wits, he asks for a favor.

At the airport, Lei Mu Sha is getting ready to board a private plane. Hero dashes out from a dark corner and grabs her, a gun in hand…

Comments

This is a solid episode, I enjoyed it a lot more than the past couple episodes.

For once, we got to see the depth of Hero and Zai Tian’s friendship, which up till now hasn’t really gotten the chance to develop. I still wish the friendship could’ve been more of a focus instead of the love triangle, but it’s too late for that. I did, though, enjoy Chen Zai Tian’s moment of wickedness immensely. 😉 Alas for its shortness, but one thing I do know, if he were ever to play a villain, I’d really dig it. 😀

My favorite shot in the entire episode was of Chen Zai Tian hiding behind his bangs, contemplating on whether to help Hero after betraying him initially. With his eyes out of sight, he looked even darker and more troubled. The internal conflict and confusion is externalized through subtle means and it’s great performances like this that makes the drama watching experience worthwhile.

Here is a beautiful juxtaposition of Hero and Lei Mu Sha on either side of the door moments before the CO2 crisis. The feelings of contradiction and loss felt by Lei Mu Sha would’ve been accentuated had the external structure afforded the kind of shot that included the two people and the door on the same vertical plane.

But the delicacy in which Lei Mu Sha exhibited her sentiment towards Hero put a more sophisticated touch on her character as a whole.

6 thoughts on “Black & White, Episode 21”

  1. Greetings to you !! Thanks so much for the reviews.
    Love this episodes… as I am rooting for Zai Tian & Chen Lin ^_^
    But, I totally agree with you… when Vic becomes a villain…
    That’s the scene worth waiting for.. because he looks amazingly dangerous.

  2. I love the way you recap this part:

    “With both men down, the grieving little wife Chen Lin is worried sick. She cries, administers CPR, and eventually revives Chen Zai Tian. (Pshh you’re not saving your brother first?) At Zai Tian’s inquiry, Chen Lin heads to check on Hero. She runs inside and shakes Hero silly, yelling, “Hero you can’t die! The cops are coming! Wake up!” (Wait, no CPR for him? I thought he needed oxygen!) Slowly, Hero starts to cough.

  3. When I watch the part of the CPR, I can only think in the poor Hero lying inside that place, werent they going to save him in the first place?, I only can think in how much gas could be inside.
    Thanks a lot for the recaps, is too bad Hulk gets hurt, but I think theres going to be some kind of file with all the information inside it. Or perhaps the friend who help him open the chip.
    Ill wait you next review, we are almost done with this drama.

  4. Thanks for the recap. Can’t believe you’ve already done 21 episodes! What a feat.

    I enjoyed most the recap on the Zai Tian and Ivy confrontation plus hot kiss (!!), and also the Ying Xiong-Zai Tian brotherhood talk. You really captured those 2 significant moments very well with your words.

    And yes, I wish there was more of the Black Zai Tian. Same thots as you, I think Vic will make a delicious villian.

    sytwo

  5. hi there~ i’ve been reading ur BW ep summary.
    (and also earlier of FTLY) and i loveeeeee ur side comments!
    they r so funny!
    i agree w/ the CPR thingie.. why mouth to mouth w/ zaizai but not hero?
    keke!
    anywayz, thx for all ur hardwork!
    i’m gonna check out ur summaries for the other dramas and see if there anything worth watching.
    keep up the great work! ur summaries r really helpful!
    *wink*

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