I know my Black & White recaps are sporadic, to say the least. If this was a live-airing drama I’d have a schedule to follow. Since it’s long done airing, it tends to fall by the wayside whenever new dramas crop up and occupy chunks of my time. Recapping B&W was always a pet project of mine, paying tribute to my fave TW-actor Vic Zhou plus one of the best procedural dramas I’ve ever watched. But I’m glad other folks are enjoying this trip down memory lane with me. I apologize for the laggard pace of the recaps, and hopefully I can up the pace. Especially now that the drama is really starting to hint at the dark and twisty ahead.
So what happens after a guy lures a girl out on a movie date, just to swipe her tricked-out cell phone so that his partner can use it to break into the secure building of the girl’s overlord daddy? Why, they get dragged to see daddy, of course. In a scene that is part insane tension and part daddy checking out the guys messing with his baby’s girl’s emotions, I’m loving how the drama is slowing peeling back the curtain to reveal more and more movers and shakers in Harbor City.
Action 8 recap:
Ying Xiong walks out of the movie with Chen Ling in tow. He’s distracted and then gets the call he’s waiting for. He thinks it’s from Pi Zi, so he yells into the phone asking whether Pi Zi is done and has the stuff? Da Yen tells Ying Xiong that he’ll be disappointed then. Ying Xiong warns Da Yen not to do anything to Pi Zi, and has no choice but to head to the San Lian Building with a still unsuspecting Chen Ling in tow.
Ying Xiong walks into the building to see the guys are waiting for him, said guys greeting Chen Ling respectfully. Chen Ling asks Ying Xiong why he brought her here? Ying Xiong says he made plans to meet Pi Zi here. Chen Ling laughs that Ying Xiong would meet Pi Zi here. Perhaps he’s also made plans to meet Da Yen here, too. Which is when Ying Xiong is told that Da Yen has been waiting for awhile now.
Chen Ling and Ying Xiong march to up to the conference room. Ying Xiong is asked to surrender his firearm and he resists. Before any fighting can begin, Da Yen walks out and tells them to come in. Chen Ling walks in and glares as Pi Zi, who is sitting inside. She asks why Pi Zi is here, which is when Da Yen hands Chen Ling back her cell phone, explaining that her dad has been trying to reach her all night.
Chen Ling realizes it’s her cell phone, turning to ask Ying Xiong what the hell is going on? Pi Zi tries to shake his head at Ying Xiong not to explain, but Ying Xiong tells her the truth. He stole her phone so Pi Zi can use it to enter the building. She asks if he asked her to see a movie just to steal her phone? Ying Xiong admits it, to which Pi Zi mumbles about why Ying Xiong has to be so damn honest.
Chen Ling rages about all those apologies being a bunch of bull shit, and then she slaps Ying Xiong hard across the face. She’s so angry she slaps him again, and he just takes it. Pi Zi stands up and calls her a she-devil accidentally, but explaining to her that this was all his idea. Pi Zi reveals that Ying Xiong has been really down since he said those hurtful words to Chen Ling, and he sincerely wanted to apologize to her.
Chen Ling correctly screams that if Ying Xiong was sincere he wouldn’t have stolen her phone. Ying Xiong quietly says he knows she wants to just be a normal person, and he was really out of line last time. But he stole her phone because as a cop he just wants to get to the truth. Pi Zi walks over and whispers to Ying Xiong to please try and be more glib in his explanation. Ying Xiong says he doesn’t want to lie to Chen Ling anymore.
Chen Ling says Ying Xiong is always spouting righteousness as a cop, yet he still stole her phone like a common thief. Compared to other people, he’s even scummier. Chen Ling walks away and Ying Xiong grabs her arm and pleads a final time, asking her to please believe him that he had no choice. Chen Ling throws her phone against the wall, telling Ying Xiong that he will never be able to find her again. She leaves and the gang detains Pi Zi and Ying Xiong, bringing them over to talk to Da Yen.
Da Yen is polite despite them breaking into the building. He doesn’t want to let this incident go, but because they are Chen Ling’s friends, he doesn’t want to pressure them. Ying Xiong tells Da Yen to cut to the chase. Da Yen asks how the cops knew San Lian Gang had the weapons at the warehouse, and how they knew the weapons shipment files were in the document room in this building. He asks the cops to hand over all the San Lian information they have, otherwise they won’t be allowed to leave.
Ying Xiong says he doesn’t know anything. Da Yen just wants to know why the cops are zeroing in on the San Lian Gang this time, when normally the Gang steers clear of the cops in all matters. Ying Xiong asks Da Yen to come to the precinct with him, and with that the guns come out. In the gun impasse, suddenly the phone rings. Da Yen slowly reaches for his phone and answers it. Da Yen answers only yes, and I know, before hanging up. He sighs, and then tells Pi Zi and Ying Xiong that the Chairman wants to see them.
Pi Zi and Ying Xiong are driven to a restaurant. They walk inside to meet the Chairman of the San Lian Gang with only Da Yen in tow, while everyone else waits outside. Pi Zi and Ying Xiong walk in to see a man wearing an apron standing behind a grill preparing food. He invites them to sit down. The Chairman grabs a steak and sears it on the grill, seasoning it with a bit of salt and then slicing it into pieces. Pi ZI and Ying Xiong silently watch, with Pi Zi grabbing Ying Xiong’s hand because he’s so tense.
The Chairman plates the food for the two guys and offers them the fresh sirloin. Pi Zi takes a bite and compliments the great cooking, but Ying Xiong cuts to the chase and tells the Chairman that they traced a gun used to commit a crime to possibly originating from the San Lian Gang. He asks the Chairman to cooperate with the cops and give them the serial number and the identity of the buyer. If the Chairman agrees, Ying Xiong won’t press on the other weapons.
The Chairman says he’s not close with Ying Xiong, so why should he help him? Ying Xiong says citizens helping the police is the proper thing to do. The Chairman says all exchanges of information is always based on a price, especially considering what Ying Xiong wants is confidential information. The Chairman grabs his plate and sits down next to Pi Zi. Ying Xiong says for the sake of public safety, even confidential information needs to be made public.
The Chairman asks Pi Zi what he thinks? Should he reveal the information? Pi Zi says it’s a stretch asking the Chairman to reveal this information, but they are cops and need to give the public an answer, so perhaps he can help this one time. The Chairman says he can do it, and notes that Ying Xiong is bold to discuss terms with him. If he helps, then Ying Xiong will owe him for this. When the Chairman needs it, he’ll get the favor back from Ying Xiong.
Team Double Happiness leave the restaurant, getting their weapons back on their way out. Inside the restaurant, the Chairman asks Da Yen to make a trip to the South Precinct. Da Yen looks stricken. The Chairman knows that Da Yen hasn’t stepped foot in a police station since he was released from prison at age 25. Da Yen will do whatever the Chairman asks, but he asks why? The Chairman says Da Yen should know what is going on. Things are starting to be beyond their control. So if they can have one less thing to worry about, then that is a good thing.
Chen Ling sits in the living room drinking beer and moping. Her dad walks up and asks if she’s still angry? Chen Ling says that asshole led her in circles with his lies, shouldn’t she still be pissed? The Chairman says he shouldn’t have let the guys go earlier. He takes out the phone to call Da Yen to find the guys, who couldn’t have gone far, and have their fingers cut off and tossed in the ocean. Would that make her feel better?
Chen Ling tells her dad to just chop off the finger, but don’t throw them in the ocean. Then she changes her mind and says to throw them directly in the ocean, that’s quicker. Finally she grabs her dad’s phone and stops him. Dad asks what she wants, finger chopping or ocean. Chen Ling gives a scream and says forget it, just let them go. The Chairman gets serious now, and tells his daughter that he’s never restricted who she can be friends with. Except these two cops just won’t do. Chen Ling is surprised and asks why not? The Chairman says if Chen Ling is looking for a simple life, these two cops can’t offer it. He specifically points out that douchy Chen Zai Tian (Pi Zi).
Pi Zi and Ying Xiong are sitting in the precinct. Xiao Lu comes running in bearing a bag of hot dogs for everyone to munch on for breakfast. She tells everyone that the new hot dog vendor outside is really cute, has a great voice, and looks like Matt Damon. Hulk wonders why such a cute guy is selling hot dogs from a stand. Xiao Lu gets a call and tells Pi Zi that Du Wen Yan (Da Yen) from the San Lian Gang is in the lobby asking for them.
Pi Zi and Ying Xiong run down to the lobby and bring Da Yen back to the interrogation room. Ying Xiong starts the interrogation and throws in the basic questions first. Da Yen is annoyed, saying he didn’t come here to waste his time, and won’t let Ying Xiong have a second time to ask him questions. Pi Zi directly asks about the gun serial number. Da Yen takes out the shipment files and confirms the Gang did have a shipment of the type of weapon in question. He reads out the serial numbers (which doesn’t match the weapon use in the murder or robber), but won’t give them the documentation.
Ying Xiong asks Da Yen where he was on April 24th, the day Lin Ke Le was killed. Da Yen checks his calendar and says he was in HK for a meeting, and is happy to give them his passport as corroborating evidence. Ying Xiong says he will follow up on this, and not cause trouble for Da Yen, who replies that their existence is trouble for him already. When Da Yen asks how the cops knew about the gun shipment, Ying Xiong ends the interrogation and leaves.
Captain Chen is nervous about what is happening inside. When asked, Pi Zi says they tortured Da Yen inside. Captain Chen is freaking out until Ying Xiong reminds the gullible Captain that Pi Zi is incapable of inflicting any harm on anyone because he’s so incompetent. When walking outside, Pi Zi notes that the serial numbers provided by Da Yen don’t match the gun used at the crime, indicating the gun did not originate from the San Lian Gang.
Ying Xiong says he’ll have the Ke Le murder suspect transferred here for questioning. Ying Xiong is curious what he has to say when he hears that his murder weapon used to kill Ke Le was later used at a bank robbery. Pi Zi and Ying Xiong argue over whose car to take. Ying Xiong says to take his car since Pi Zi’s car is so flashy. Pi Zi says his car has everything, including being bulletproof. Ying Xiong doesn’t care and they drive off in his car.
Ying Xiong and Pi Zi arrive outside the precinct and see the new hot dog vendor. They walk up to tell him the hot dogs are a hit at the precinct. Ying Xiong asks his name, and finds out that it’s Ma Xiao Ming, but he prefers to be called Xiao Ma. Xiao Ma makes a joke about his name being so bland but the joke falls flat. Ying Xiong and Pi Zi rush into the precinct to meet with the Ke Le murder suspect.
Ying Xiong notes the suspect’s background shows that he’s just a street thug, so where did he learn his sharp shooting skills? The suspect says he learned it during the army. Ying Xiong notices that the suspect seems quite calm and is unafraid of death. The man is not afraid of death since it’s just an end. Ying Xiong asks how his weapon ended up in the hands of a robbery? The suspect says he threw it away. In fact, he’s already answered all the questions about the gun, and tells the two to do their homework before coming in to ask him redundant questions.
Pi Zi speaks up, asking out of curiosity whether the suspect knows him? The suspect thinks and says Pi Zi is the cop on the roof that day. Pi Zi starts crying and says the suspect is a total bastard. Pi Zi spent three months trying to land Lin Ke Le. That day on the roof, Pi Zi was thisclose to finally getting her, and then the suspect took her out just like that. Ying Xiong looks so embarrassed to hear this. Pi Zi says he was tightly holding Lin Ke Le that day, what if the shot had strayed, Pi Zi would be dead today.
The suspect says he trusts his skill and Pi Zi was not the target that day. No matter how tightly Pi Zi was embracing Lin Ke Le, he would not have accidentally hit Pi Zi. Pi Zi and Ying Xiong share a look and get up. The suspect asks if they are done with their questions? Pi Zi tells the suspect that during the day on the roof, he never embraced Lin Ke Le. In fact, he didn’t even touch her finger. Since the suspect has perfect aim, he shouldn’t be mistaken about Pi Zi embracing her, right?
Team Double Happiness report to the Chief that they want to reopen the murder case. The current suspect is not the murderer. Plus they have additional evidence showing the man withdrew money from an ATM far away from the crime scene when the shooting occurred. Chief asks whether they have told Chief Lin at the North Precinct? They have, and her reaction was exceedingly odd. Ying Xiong wonders if perhaps she is being threatened or someone has a weakness of her.
The Chief considers it, asking Captain Chen what he thinks? The Captain says the North Precinct constantly try to steal their thunder, this is a good chance for the South Precinct to get a huge validation for breaking this case. Ying Xiong wants to subpoena Chief Lin’s phone records and see if they can find new clues. The Chief tells them to keep investigating. If they can’t break the case, he’ll get dragged down with them for suspecting Chief Lin.
Ying Xiong and Pi Zi confront Chief Lin and tell her they know the suspect is custody is not the real killer. The media reports on how this case is being reopened. The Chief tells them not to investigate any further, perhaps the suspect simply misspoke or incorrectly remembered. Pi Zi and Ying Xiong return to the precinct to find Xiao Lu trying to get everyone to eat more hot dogs, which everyone is avoiding from the recent hot dog overdose. Lao Li whispers to Pi Zi and Ying Xiong that their undercover cop is asking to meet later.
Pi Zi and Ying Xiong walk into a bar and ask the hostess to see Ah De. She initially pretends he’s not here, but takes them inside once they prove that they are cops. They are taken to the back bathroom and meet up with Ah De, who reveals that the San Lain Gang has a weapons exchange coming up soon. He gives them the date and the location. He says the location is at a restaurant and should be with very important people. Ying Xiong hands Ah De the papers for his new identity, passport, and plane tickets. Ah De’s starts to tear up as he inspects the documents. He thanks Pi Zi and Ying Xiong and tells them to be careful.
PI Zi and Ying Xiong get ready to head to the weapons exchange with a crew of cops in tow. Ah De sits in his car and is surprised to see Che Jin get into the car with him. Che Jin says he’s just interested and wants to go along. The cops arrive at the restaurant and see that outside the private dining room there are black-clad security guards. The cops disarm the security guards and barge in with their guns drawn…..only to find sitting inside the restaurant are the police chiefs and other powerful people, including the Head of the Legislative Assembly who is also a current presidential candidate.
Ying Xiong reports to his Chief that they got a tip there was going to be a huge weapons exchange here. Pi Zi tries to apologize for getting the wrong information and for disturbing their meal.
Ah De is getting the tar beat out of him at a secluded harbor. Che Jin tells Ah De, who is tied up, that he no longer has any use for him. And that makes Ah De trash. Che Jin takes out Ah De’s wallet and shows him the picture of his wife and child. Che JIn says he will go visit them for Ah De frequently. He orders the weight dropped, and the rope pulls Ah De into the ocean.
Chen Ling is at a shooting range. She’s a crack shot, but notices that the person in the next lane is even better. She walks over to ask if he’s a shooting coach? We see that it’s Xiao Ma, the hot dog vendor. Chen Ling asks if he’s a soldier? Xiao Ma says he was a former soldier, but not anymore. Chen Ling notices his unique arm tattoo and comments on it. Xiao Ma says it’s nothing and walks away with his usual cheery smile.
Chen Ling gets into the elevator. After the door closes, Xiao Ma walks out from the corner where he has been hiding. He walks over to the closed elevator.
Thoughts of Mine:
When I watch B&W, it’s like watching a puzzle being assembled with the pieces placed at random, but only until there are enough pieces can I make out what the final picture might look like. There was so much plot movement in this episode, none more so than the introduction of three major supporting characters. Non Taiwan viewers may not know based on seeing their faces, but immediately I knew all three were vital characters. We meet hot dog vendor Xiao Ma, played by Xiu Jie Ke, which is clue number one this guy is no ordinary hot dog vendor. At the end of the episode, he pulls up his hoodie and loses his dimpled smile, and wow wee I’m not sure how he suddenly turned so dark. Not sure what he’s doing stalking Chen Ling, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Chen Ling’s dad, the Chairman, was as imposing as I imagined him to be. Not tall or even bombastic, but menacing because you know exactly how much power he wields. The fact that he adores and teases his daughter makes him human, but he still controls the most powerful gang in town. Let’s say a RIP for poor Ah De, who I knew was a goner the moment he got his exit papers and looked so overcome with emotion at being able to leave this horrible undercover life. This drama doesn’t shy away from offing people left and right, but it still hurt seeing this character do what’s asked of him and still get the short end of the stick.
The entire episode passed before I realized Lan Xi Ying didn’t show up once, but the story was so gripping it didn’t even bother me. This is a drama anchored by the story above all else, with the great directing and wonderful acting just icing on the cake. I think the Ying Xiong-Chen Ling love train grounded to a screeching halt, and I’m frankly not all that upset. I just can’t see them making a go at it, with his view of the world in absolutes, and her life lived in a world of greys and shadows. As for the case, just as they are making significant headway in the Lin Ke Le murder suddenly the team get set up on a fake weapons exchange. It’s like two steps forward, one step back, frustrating yet riveting to watch.