Final Review: Black

sab: Black really needs that extension, even with its slightly draggy middle. The mysteries around the protagonists, and everyone else for that matter, are so complicated that we do need extra eps to tie up all the really loose ends.

As it is, I’m not surprised that Black is Joonie-oppa. In fact, I was surprised that midway through Black, Moo-gang is NOT Joonie-oppa. Though I do like how the little details about 444 add up to his final identity and the opening scene of Black. The very literal pun of 444 being “heartless” turns out to be true (haha). And that his heart aches at the sight of Soo-wan, the pretty noona whom he had a crush on but eventually led him to his sad end (which I had attributed to Moo-gang being the boyfriend as a cause). Plus his liking to innards soup – which I’d initially brushed off as a Grim Reaper’s kind of fav dish – turns out to be a lingering emotional connection to his mother.

It is ironic therefore that the 444 who was without a heart found his original one in Moo-gang’s body, and the transplanted heart also begin to transform 444 from an emotion-less reaper to one who felt human emotions keenly. And it is the same heart who held on to 444 soul (or rather the heart’s “original” owner) and refused to let go even when Black emptied his gun point blank in his temple.

Eventually, Black isn’t so much about Death being scary, but the reasons why people die – and in Black, they are pretty horrid. We have murderers, paid assassins, desperate people pushed to suicides, psychopaths, and even a could-have-been-prevented manmade disaster. And the Grim Reapers (even the escapist-murderess halmoni) are seen as less “evil” than their human pasts or counterparts. Such as the sex-changed mamasan, who forced Soo-wan to prostitute herself in Life is this sad looking reaper who can only wistfully look at Inspector Mad Dog before leaving (for Hell).

That said, probably it’s time to deal with the contentious ending. Tbh, I am rather neutral about it, though I’d much prefer an ending where Black confesses about his identity, and he and Ha-ram live together as a human couple. The ending for Black is kinda similar to that of the Reaper in Goblin, sans the nice teahouse setting (which I really do find very romantic and appropriate…so zen), where the couple only meets in death. But I feel the ending for Black doesn’t work as logically (or as well) as Goblin‘s. Cos for most part of the show, 444 is living his life as a human. So a continuation (like Leo) would make sense…rather than him giving himself up and having to jump through all the hoops to have Ha-ram’s memories erased.

Cos even if Ha-ram has a pretty hard life, and continues to see Death everywhere, having Black with her by her side helps her deal with it. As the narrative has proven several times. So erm…yah, the memory erasure thing, imo, unnecessary melodrama.

kooriyuki: Gah. The last two episodes basically undid everything that was great with Show and renders it impossible for me to take Show seriously. It did great building up the mystery and the nefarious acts that happened, but when the truth behind Black’s demise I just lost it. This is when I believe that less is more, and it really didn’t help to have twists that exist just because. I ended up being immune to the ending even though it was supposed to be touching (?) that Black sacrificed himself so that Haram can be happy.

The ending was actually straightforward, but because we were not told how it actually happened and it didn’t help with all the discrepencies that followed, the ending became confusing and marred the entire experience of watching Black. How did Black reset everything? If things were “made right” and Joon didn’t exist, how’d Je Soo-dong remember his promise with Black? Or was Leo friends with Haram since childhood? And how’d Haram’s soul remember Black? What exactly happened?? I’d rather Black stay as human like Haram’s Dad did (and the curse of reaper staring into the eyes of a woman in love didn’t happen to Black, or did it?).

It was courageous of Writer-nim to touch on the issue of child prostitution, and the reference to Sewol disaster was something I appreciated from Show. It was entertaining and engaging most of the times, though for some reasons I don’t find myself mindblown with each and every revelation. I’m not sure if the extension worked in, or against Show’s favor. I suppose it did require some extra time to fully explain the mystery behind those damned tapes.

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