Black: Black (Full Season)
December 27, 2019 8:27 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

A man possessed by death. A woman who can see death. The earthly and the afterworld collide dangerously. (Netflix, OCN Korea)

Dramabeans episode 1 recap "There was so much packed into this premiere that I don’t know where to begin. Just as Moo-gang vomited his lunch, the show vomited up so many details that I can’t fully figure out yet what’s going on, or what to trust. There’s definitely something important about what happened twenty years ago (the tapes, the dead body, the fact that Moo-gang was looking into a fire that happened then, the complete destruction of Soo-wan’s previous identity), and I’m assuming that retina scan room is somehow relevant to all of that. But it’s still weird to think of the bumbling-yet-earnest Moo-gang, who struggles to even use handcuffs, being something like a secret agent."

Dramabeans finale recap: "These questions may seem like I’m quibbling about finer details, but when we’ve spent hours with a show that’s taken such great pains to prove to us that details are incredibly important, I can’t just suddenly accept a sloppy “happily ever after, the end” finale. I’m not sure if there is even a way to end this show that would be truly satisfying, though. At the very least, I wish it felt like the writer had figured out an ending that felt connected to everything else. I had given this writer the benefit of the doubt, happy to believe the disappointing ending to God’s Gift—14 Days was a fluke. But now when I watch Choi Ran’s future dramas, I’ll probably stop watching before the last ten minutes for fear my enjoyment would be ruined by whatever nonsense comes next."
posted by oh yeah! (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I finished this last night - a wonderful roller coaster of a show with a spectacularly bad finale. From reading the dramabeans recaps and comments, the director (and/or producer?) chose to disregard the writer's original finale script and came up with their own ending, but the original scripted ending wasn't a huge improvement from the translation summaries posted in the finale comment thread.

I didn't hate the ending in the way that I've hated others that were retroactive show-killers (like Penny Dreadful, say). Maybe the fact that I just binged the 18 episodes over the last couple of weeks rather than having watched it for multiple seasons that made it just frustratingly disappointing rather than rage-inducing.

I don't regret having watched it, mainly because Seung-heon Song was so terrific as Grim Reaper No. 444 aka Black. I mean, he was stupendously attractive (what a smolder he has!), but also pulled off some very funny comedic moments, and some gut-wrenchingly sad dramatic scenes. And the mystery/procedural plot was so well-constructed right up until they belly-flopped the ending. And there was such a good supporting cast. Ah, well.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:57 AM on December 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oooh, I'm outing myself here, but those are my recaps! And my lasting legacy, I guess, because over two years later I still get random comments of "wtf was THAT?" on the finale, which, to be fair, wtf was THAT?

I'm still fond of the show, though, because it was so ambitious different than the usual procedurals and paranormal shows, and it's definitely my favorite Song Seung-heon role. It just could have been so good and not merely "well that was pretty good, except..." if it weren't for that darn ending.
posted by paisley sheep at 10:30 PM on December 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

Your recaps were invaluable! I would have been lost without them, there were so many subplots/characters to keep track of.

I'm still fond of the show, though, because it was so ambitious different than the usual procedurals and paranormal shows, and it's definitely my favorite Song Seung-heon role. It just could have been so good and not merely "well that was pretty good, except..." if it weren't for that darn ending.

Yeah, the ending was a failure, but I think the reason I'm still feeling a frustrated affection for the show is because it seemed more like a failure in courage/imagination on the production's part than the more rage-inducing "look how edgy and shocking we are/bury your gays/women in refrigerators" kind of finale which reveal an arrogance on the writers' part and a level of contempt for the audience. And I'm not sure what the perfect ending for this show would/could have been, but they did too good a job at making me care about the entire ensemble for an ending solely focused on Ha-ram's happiness to work, and at all the world-building/rules of Reaper-dom to then disregard it at the end.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:45 AM on December 28, 2019

I binged through this when it first hit Netflix in 2017 (?) and when this post popped up I was reminded and just binged through again. I have my quibbles with it, plot twists, that WTF episode 18.

I suspect that Ha-ram's incessant crying came to bother me the first time I watched, as well as this time.

And this time I was made uncomfortable by the rough handling, physically, of Ha-ram by Black. All that pushing, pulling and grabbing!

Frankly I could just watch Song Seung-heon/Black wander around changing expression. He actually has an engaging smile.

So, for me, enjoyable, a little slapstick, a little confusing, lots of intertwining subplots. And I guess a bit dark.

And thank you, paisley_sheep for the recaps! Divine!
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 12:40 PM on January 1, 2020

Huh, I didn't even make it through the first episode. That was a while ago and I don't remember why. I may give this series a second chance.
posted by moira at 1:10 PM on January 4, 2020

The first episode was rough - what with Moo-gang throwing up at (on) the crime scene, slapstick violence, and a lot of stuff that doesn't makes sense until later episodes, it's not representative of the season as a whole. It gets really good once it gets going -- until the finale where it all unravels.
posted by oh yeah! at 2:29 PM on January 4, 2020

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