Unpopular Opinion: Hated Black’s Ending? Well, You’re Wrong

September 14, 2018 | 25876 Visits

Note: The following post contains spoilers.

Even though the drama Black ended in Korea a few months ago, it’s just now on Netflix for international audiences. Since it’s availability on Netflix, K-Drama lovers ignited old arguments regarding the drama’s ending and whether it did the show justice. Surprisingly, the majority audience despised the final two episodes and claim these episodes wrecked the entire drama.

Choi Ran, the writer behind the OCN series, even stated the ending was different from what she envisioned. In a blog post, Choi said, “Black is a project like my own child that I had in the works for a while. I felt sad and had mixed emotions as I watched the drama on-air. I was very upset the story I wished to tell was portrayed differently on air against my will. I worked hard but think there was a lack of communication.”

Toward the end of the show, rumors swirled that there were internal issues between writers and producers, which lead the drama to end how it did. These rumors are unconfirmed. However, if the leaked information regarding the ending is accurate, the ending viewers received for the show is the perfect ending considering how the “original” ending feels weak and unsatisfying. The “original” ending is an empty “happy ending” that’s almost outlandish. The ending we have, while cliché for many, is still not a happy ending and still leaves heartache in its wake as the audience watches Black (Song Seung-Heon) and Ha-Ram (Go Ara) walk toward the afterlife.

Episodes 17 and 18 are beautifully written and emotionally delivered. Sure, the reveal of Black (Kim Tae-Woo) being Joon (Lee Hyo-Je) came about in a typical-soap-opera-reveal, but it was fitting considering what everyone went through in the series. Finding out how everyone is connected in a series of crimes that occurred over a span of 20-years added an extra layer of tragedy. This is where Black’s full beauty blossomed.

For those saying the final two episodes ruined the series, you’re wrong. Black ended in the perfect way that remained true to the characters’ overall development. Within the final two episodes, we see sacrifice and love in full-force, an arc that shines brightly in a storyline about deep-seeded corruption and greed.

#444’s Growth and Humanness

At the beginning of the series, the introduction of Grim Reaper #444 (Black) portrays him as heartless and cold. Black is all about his job and collecting the dead to take them to their respective afterlives. He’s known as being unemotional and uncaring of people’s feelings and needs, making him a perfect grim reaper because he’s undeterred compared to his companions, #416 and #007. However, upon taking over Detective Han’s body, Black begins to have thoughts and feelings that don’t align with his icy persona, causing internal conflict as he fights against saving people so their fated deaths can take place.

In Asian cultures, fours are associated with death and misfortune. Black epitomizes death and misfortune as he, originally, helps Ha-Ram on the surface only for death to still take place. He knows his job and does it well. However, as he starts to develop feelings toward Ha-Ram and people in general, the embodiment of death and misfortune melt away, leading Black to become a protector and a trustworthy companion and to where he embodies the alternate numerology interpretation of 444: Protection, trust, and awakening. As Black eclipses, Black comes full circle: It’s what his fate dictates.

As it seems, any reaper assigned number #444 has a fate different than other reapers. They are the ones with emotions and a sense of right and wrong. While Black does not have this sense early on, it develops strongly in him much like it did for Ha-Ram’s father: The original Grim Reaper #444.

“Awakening” is one of the tropes presented in Black, which is why episodes 17 and 18 are crucial to Ha-Ram and Black’s storylines. Black developed the abilities to love and care about those nearest to him, and he even develops these abilities even though he is literally heartless. This speaks volumes about Black’s soul and his willingness to be there for Ha-Ram and friends.

Even though Black’s sole existence is based on helping people cross over, he’s not cold to the fact that he has a good soul. His friend and partner, Grim Reaper #007 (another ironic number choice given its association with secret serviceman James Bond), is deeply aware of the good soul that truly embodies Black. #007 is the reaper who collected Joon in the first place prior to his transition to #444, so it’s clear that #007 tried pushing Black toward the good light and discovering who he truly is because his true self was forgotten due to his body being forgotten at the bottom of the sea. Black’s destiny lies in his awakening at the end of the series, so his kinder, softer, sacrificial turn in the final two episodes shouldn’t be surprising because this is what was destined to happen all along (in fact, destiny is mentioned throughout the series, so it is a term that foreshadows the ending).

Black’s complete transition into the caring, kind individual he was when he was alive as Joon comes full circle in episodes 17 and 18. After he realizes who he is and visits his mother at her food stand, a poignant turn in Black’s character enhances his role as a sympathetic character. Watching his tears fall into a bowl of intestine soup is such an emotional moment because Black realizes the importance of the seemingly unimportant moments of his youth and how they impact the overall person, especially as he realizes the sacrifices his mother made to save him. At this moment, Black’s goodness blossoms, providing the catalyst for episode 18’s actions and ultimate punishment.

Ha-Ram’s Rebirth


In the final episode, we see Ha-Ram kill herself in the same way Joon “killed” himself after saving Ha-Ram. While it seems like a cop-out, it was the only way for Ha-Ram to get her wish of living a long, normal life. Her suicide was the passage to rebirth.

Black and Ha-Ram have intertwined destinies; it’s been this way since their youth. While both are ultimately good people, their existence in each other’s lives ultimately brings despair. Their pairing is a crash course to disaster, so the relationship was doomed even as children. In his youth, Joon was a do-gooder who some—mainly those who analyze character tropes—would say had a hero complex. He did end up in situations where he ultimately helped people even if it meant bringing danger upon himself. On the other hand, Ha-Ram brought misfortune thanks to her abilities to see death, and this often caused a tailspin of issues that spanned twenty years, beginning with why her father was killed, and leading up to why Joon met his fate. As adults, Ha-Ram’s curse became a gift that helped solve the crimes that were one of the story’s main arcs, while Joon’s goodness ultimately fated him to never exist.

Both characters were equal parts light and dark. However, when Joon discovered who he was after taking over his “brother” Detective Han’s body, he regained his light when the revelation threw Ha-Ram back into the dark. Even though Black killed humans—a no-no for grim reapers— he did it out of love for his friends and Ha-Ram. Ha-Ram, in turn, felt guilt over her abilities, leading her back to the darkness.

In both characters succumbing to ultimate demises (Joon in a spiritual sense and Ha-Ram to suicide), the two characters severed the ties they had to each other, setting each other free and allowing Ha-Ram to find her own destiny since Black/Joon was erased.

But How Did They Find Each Other Again If Joon Never Existed?

Black was penned as a show for the thinking viewer. This is even implied as the end credits rolled. Black required viewers to pay attention to every background character and every subtle nuance, and every piece of dialogue was loaded and played a role at different points in the series.

Prior to the series end, it was revealed that grim reaper #419 (Park Doo-Sik) took over Leo’s (Kim Jae-Young) body following his death from a drug overdose. After catching him, Black promised Grim Reaper #419 (also known as Je Soo-Dong or “loser”) that he can live as a human as long as he promised to always take care of Ha-Ram. In the final montage where Ha-Ram’s new, normal life replays for the audience, Leo narrates the content, and he later narrates the story of #444 and Ha-Ram’s love story without Ha-Ram’s knowledge that it is, in fact, her story. He then gifts Ha-Ram with the bracelet she made Joon, causing all her memories of her past life to flood back, thus helping her remember what her life used to be like.

The viewer needs to read between the lines during this poignant scene because it’s loaded!

  1. Black still exists in the underworld:Joon has only been erased from the memories of those still living as evidenced by #419 still recalling #444 and Ha-Ram’s tale. The other grim reapers still know his story, his sacrifice, who he is, and the rules he broke. This means the Joon still remembers Ha-Ram, which is why he is the one to come collect her in the end. Since #419 still knows about #444’s story, the reapers’ memories were not wiped clean.
  2. Ha-Ram’s handmade bracelet is the literal thread between her and Joon:Since Leo/#419 had the bracelet, it’s assumed Joon gave it to him when he made #419 promise to take care of Ha-Ram. Since the bracelet still exists, Joon still exists. The bracelet was what triggered Ha-Ram’s memory of her past life, leading us to point number three…
  3. Black knew a loophole for his punishment:Throughout the series, it was made clear that Black is a problem-solver and highly intelligent. His ability to analyze situations is the reason he was able to help solve the crimes from 20-years ago and see the connections between ongoing murders. Because of his analytical skills, it’s highly likely he figured out that, by keeping #419 in Leo’s body and handing over the bracelet, there is a way to stay connected to Ha-Ram and come back for her regardless of the punishment. Black cheated the system!
  4. The ending plays on the concept of “third death”: Some cultures, particularly Mexican culture, believe people die three times: Once when the body dies, twice when the body is laid into the ground, and the third is when there’s no one left on earth to remember someone. By selecting the punishment where everyone’s memory’s erased, Joon set himself up for a third death, but by exposing the loophole by having #419 remember him for Ha-Ram, a third death did not occur because memories of Joon were preserved.

Because Joon figured out a way to game the system, he made it possible to be with Ha-Ram even though he chose the ultimate punishment. However, does this mean everything he and Ha-Ram did was undone?

Ultimate Sacrifice Means Everything was Undone?


During the ending credits, there was a message that said the show was meant to make people think about how their actions influence those around them:

Black was a story about how human desires and greed influence those around us. We hope it was a chance to reflect on people around us. Black was based on events that won’t be forgotten. We hope that it gave strength to the victims of those events and their families. Thank you again for watching.”

With that said, Joon’s decision to cease to exist prevented everything else from happening (while also messing with the paradoxes of time).

Black’s “original,” intended ending needs to be considered. The ending viewers received was not the intended ending. In fact, the original ending called for Man-Soo and Man-Ho to be okay and running their own business. The police unit was also supposedly trying to do things to get Ha-Ram (now a paramedic in her new life) to come rescue them. Soo-Wan and Moo-Gang met as adults when he fainted in front of her. Everyone had a “happy ending” since Joon didn’t exist. The original ending’s intent is hinted in the final montage, and while the other characters beyond Ha-Ram were not shown, it can be assumed that they did have happy endings because Joon never existed to interfere.

Here is where things get sketchy because Joon’s ultimate sacrifice provides a conflicting message. Yes, he chose his punishment because of his love of Ha-Ram, but it also suggests that someone’s lack of existence makes everything better. Naturally, this is a borderline dangerous message to send considering how suicide rates are at an all-time high and the show glorifies suicide quite a bit. Here, the story does get careless because of this mixed message and because both Joon and Ha-Ram both commit suicide before being reborn. Here, the story could have found another way to create rebirth other than Black and Ha-Ram jumping into the sea, but overall, it is the only way to make the new scenarios possible.

As for what occurred in the main plot, there are two possibilities for what changed when Ha-Ram’s alternate life took over.

  1. Everything was undone: The leading theory for the show’s ending is that all the crimes Black, Ha-Ram, and the rag-tag cops solved became unsolved due to Joon’s now lacking existence. Ha-Ram’s new life doesn’t feature any mention of the crimes, and everyone seems to have a happy existence. Since Ha-Ram doesn’t hold the ability to see death, there’s nothing for her to worry about and there’s no need for her to get involved in people’s lives to save them, so she’s not involved in the investigations or the initial set of crimes that involved her, Joon, her father, Moo-Gang, and Soo-Wan. Since she’s no longer involved and since she played a huge role in why they got solved, then it is likely the crimes did occur in her alternate life, it’s just that she was not involved in them. In her life, the crimes are just background events.
  2. Leo and Ha-Ram stopped all the crime before it occurred: In the epilogue, Leo also reveals that he stopped the accident that killed Ha-Ram’s real father; therefore, the first Grim Reaper #444 didn’t take over her father’s body. Additionally, in the “real” ending, it’s revealed Leo (assumed to be #419 still) encouraged Ha-Ram to pull a fire alarm, so the students from the Mujin area weren’t at the mall when it collapsed. The collapse is what helped set all the crimes in motion. With all the tragedies “stopped” thanks to Leo’s interference, the murders never occurred, which is why everyone ended up with more joyful lives.

Given the epilogue, scenario two is the more likely conclusion. However, since the Mujin shopping mall disaster is an event that actually occurred (in real life, this is the Sampoong disaster that occurred June 29, 1995), the corruption and greed that influenced Black’s story would have still occurred regardless of if those close to the main characters were involved or not. So, a combination of scenarios one and two are more likely where all crimes committed occurred as a footnote in Ha-Ram’s life instead of one the main catalysts that impacted her life (however, since she became an EMT, it’s probably an event that encouraged her to choose that as her career path) while she and Leo managed to save her friends and fellow students. The people close to her weren’t at the Mujin mall collapse, thus changing all of their destinies so happy endings could occur. Meanwhile, those involved in the corruption took each other down without innocents losing their lives.

Do Black/Joon and Ha-Ram Have a Happy Ending?

Given the alternative life Black gave Ha-Ram and Ha-Ram remembering both her lives, did Joon and Ha-Ram really have a happy ending?

Yes and no.

As the end plays out, the viewers see Ha-Ram thinking about her current life and her past life as symbolized by her sitting in the cold with the bracelet she made Joon. In her past life, she admittedly told Black that she loved him unaware that he was Joon, so she loved Black (Moo-Gang) as well Joon, and she had both the childhood first love and her adult love all in one person. In her alternate life, she had a husband who didn’t seem to make her happy (“A friend is better than my late husband,” episode 18). This is a loaded quote that means a lot! The “better than my late husband” is a quip hinting at, that despite her accolades and success, she did not have a love that was good and gave her happiness! So, Ha-Ram’s life wasn’t the happy ending that Black wanted to give her when he chose his punishment!

Since it’s clear she is close to death (Leo, who is Grim Reaper #419, also knows this, thus the gift of the bracelet to remind her of her former life. He can see Black waiting for her), her thoughts are a reflection of “life flashing before one’s eyes,” and it’s actually hinted at that she has a choice of what life story she wants to die with: Her first life that featured misery or her second life that was comparably happier. If Ha-Ram’s soul chose to leave as an old woman, it means she was happy with her second life. However, she left as young Ha-Ram, thus choosing her first life with Black/Joon.

When she meets Black again to cross into the afterlife, another loaded moment occurred when he asks Ha-Ram if she was happy. Before she replies, she hesitates. She had to think about it, which hints at the fact she wasn’t truly happy. The hesitation also hints at how she is aware Black sacrificed everything (the story Leo told) so she would be happy, but she had to lie so that his sacrifice wasn’t in vain. This speaks volumes about how unselfish Ha-Ram is as a person and how aware she is of how people’s actions influence those around them. She didn’t want to break Black’s heart.

With all this considered, is their ending happy? It’s debatable. Ha-Ram did, essentially, throw away her second life when she died due to choosing the person with whom gave her the greatest happiness, so that means she won’t reunite with her actual husband (given her comment to Leo, it’s probably for the best). Additionally, given the brightness of the scene (compared to the rest of the series which used a muted, blue filter, the final scene uses a warm filter which indicates true happiness), both she and Black (as Joon) were able to go to heaven together. So, it is likely they both have a happy ending in the afterlife, but the fact Ha-Ram does, essentially, forsake her gifted second life, it seems like Black’s sacrifice was for nothing, making the ending also a tragic one.


Putting it All Together


The ending does take a lot of piecing together snippets of information and uses more critical thinking skills than the average TV show usually presents. Because of this, it’s possible viewers missed the brilliance of how the show ended. Just like the series itself, the ending has a lot of twists of turns that can be interpreted in many ways. The ending isn’t basic, simplified, or disappointing at all: It’s all in how the audience interprets it and if they’re willing to take the time to truly think about and understand it.


—-Joelle Halon

User Review
4.45 (40 votes)

45 responses to “Unpopular Opinion: Hated Black’s Ending? Well, You’re Wrong”

  1. Romana says:

    I really liked your take on black’s last episode. I was originally not at all satisfied by it but the way you have explained it really made be better appreciate and understand the ending. Thank you for helping see the ending in a better light. it’s still slightly weird how his disappearance stopped the crash of ha-ram’s parents, and like does that mean that the original 444, the one who possessed ha-ram’s dad’s body did not die in this reality but everything else makes more sense.

  2. JH says:

    @Romana – Black’s self-sacrifice was so that Ha-Ram would have a new life without seeing death. As part, everything in her life was rewritten, so the crash never happened. This is alluded to in the flashbacks of Ha-Ram’s new life. 🙂

  3. snydez says:

    amazing review.

  4. snydez says:

    ah yes,
    btw so many loophole left unexplain.
    such as what happened to ha-ram crystal (taken by the doctor with grandma 100 years old)? and when black take it back, he’s not figuring out why is it owned by that doctor.

  5. Diana says:

    Thank you very much! You’ve answered all my confusion!

  6. Diana says:

    I think the reason of confusion is because some part has been edited such as the “epilogue” part. Didnt featured.

  7. Soti says:

    So, did Ha Ram remember Black as Moo Gang or as Joon in Moo Gang’s body?

    Also, before she committed suicide, it seems that Moo Gang’s mother exposed her deeds in her will but I doubt it was revealed because if his body had been recovered, he should have taken on his previous face like that other teenage grim reaper.

  8. Emily says:

    Even if it had been revealed, he never existed on Earth after his sentencing. Which begs the question: if 444 had Moo Gang’s body with Joon’s heart and soul, and he continued to exist in the underworld after being erased, who would he actually be? The answer is simple: Black. He already was a totally different person than the 13-year-old Joon who was murdered, since it’s implied that he became the adult 444 as soon as being transported to the underworld. Now there is no other person he could be–he isn’t Joon, he isn’t Moo Gang, just Black. And Black is who Ha Ram actually loved, no matter what she called him on Earth.

  9. SquirrelSofie says:

    Hey there, thanks for sharing this. It helped clear up some things.
    In regard to Black’s sacrifice, I don’t think it was for nothing because if he had chosen to dissipate as punishment then he wouldn’t have been there to take Ha Ram to the afterlife/heaven.
    Also, I’d really like to believe that they both went to heaven after he came for her but wouldn’t he still be a grim reaper after that? When will Black, an (almost) erased life and grim reaper, be allowed to go to heaven? Never? Maybe his body needed to be discovered by someone but if he “never existed” then will he never be able to go to heaven AND BE WITH HA RAM FOREVER? Instead will he work as a grim reaper forever? I don’t find “forever” realistic but this IS a partially fictional story so maybe that is what happened?
    Let me know your thoughts

  10. Darma says:

    Just watched this on Netflix. This “strings” together many of the thoughts I had as well. I love that he was waiting for her at the end of her life. Not sure how her dad doesn’t die or become possessed by the first 444 we see. Time travel is not something discussed. I thought this referenced Sampoong Dept store collapse aw well.

    He does game the system – the red thread symbolizes the thread of fate – they use it several times in the series connecting people as they solve the mysteries. We are connected regardless. I also like that choice is something left in the hands of humans. We can choose to help. This red thread of fate has been used in other series and stories.

    I did not think Joon/Moo Gang/Black was erased from existence, but erased from the memories of the living. He would not be erased from the memories of the GR bc he serves as an example of the punishment for breaking the rules of the afterlife. To dissipate immediately is less of a punishment than being forced to exist with those you love not knowing you – ever. So 419 and other Reapers do remember him. Where he has been this whole time would be helpful to know. I know folks get caught up in punishment for the villains in this story but remember eternity is more than a mere human’s lifetime. Black even encourages those involved to let it go and move on to live a happy life. They have done what they can do. A life of revenge will not help the judgment of the afterlife. Remember what he says will happen to those who hurt children. So some of the events would have played out and some not – but in the end we are judged for our actions in this life. The production asks us to remember and reflect on our actions/connections to those around us. (this is also mentioned through several threads in the series). I also thing Moo Gang would have lived bc a donor was found when he truly needed one.

    It would have helped to tie some of these threads back in – bc Leo/419’s tale was not completely clear – and did they just run out of budget on make-up at the end – just hire two older actors then.

    Overall – loved it – although I did feel it got a little convoluted at the end – please not another twist and another bad guy – it was exhausting – but then again I suppose trying to see all the connections in life is like that. there isn’t one bad guy – but a series of folks making choices about life and how they will accept those consequences.

  11. do hee says:

    This question was raised in a comment above, that if he never existed in the first place (because of choosing this maximum punishment) and was erased from everyone’s memories, also that would imply that he does not have a body to be found for enabling him to go to heaven, so will he remain a grim reaper forever even after taking ha ram’s soul to heaven…so what I think is that the punishment was that he will be completely erased from the memories of the living humans he came in contact with…now since 419/Leo as a grim reaper remembers the story he passes it onto Ha ram who remembers Black, now In my theory when a living human remembers the punished Grim Reaper his punishment will be over, since someone remembered him – just like re discovering the missing body. That is why 419/Leo helped her remember and Black came to collect her, because his punishment was over, and they could go to afterlife together.

    For me the only thing I found truly confusing is when Ha Ram is kidnapped by the mayor’s henchmen and taken to Moojin, after she retrieves the time capsule, here Black goes to Oh Man So for help in tracking the Mayor dude for finding Ha Ram. Now, when all this is over, and Black saves the day, he jumps into the ocean saying he will erase Ha ram’s memories. ha ram does not remember who saved her but the chief seems to suspect it was Black which means the guys memories were not erased. Also,they remember Moo gang going to the airport etc… So did Man So not tell Ha Ram that Black came to him for help? And he was the one who helped them all? That way she would have know he didn’t leave for US before the suicide note left by Moo Gang’s mom.

  12. do hee says:

    Thanks for the review, I enjoyed reading it.
    Very nicely detailed and you explained everything really well.

  13. Sue says:

    Not sure if this hasbeen addressed. But why couldn’t Ha Ram see the black shadow in Leo?

  14. OM says:

    Leo always had a black shirt on underneath his clothes. You can see it in a lot of the scenes he’s in.

  15. Dew says:

    I think in the end, the show completely forgotten that as someone who committed suicide, Ha Ram should become a GR, just like #419, not to be reborn again and lived happily?

  16. Jacinta says:

    This movie is very touching and meaningful. Love overcomes all evil in the end. Love the romance blossoming between this 2. I was sad that he sacrificed himself for the love of his life. But I’m happy that they are together again in the end. Love is patient, love is kind. It takes so much sacrifice and time for them to be united again. I’m happy to see them walking hand in hand, looking into each other eyes, full of joy.

  17. Nicholas Spillett says:

    So that chick still got raped / prostituted out at 13 years and nobody ever stepped in because the mall never collapsed? GREAT!

    Her life probably just got worse and worse – without the mall collapse everything probably kept going…

  18. Katherine Warlund says:

    The bad makeup and Christmas lights near the end of the finale is what got me. Otherwise, I loved the decisions made for the ending. I’d have loved more dialogue when Man-soo gets sentenced. That was fun!

  19. Elke says:

    Why was Ha-Ram reborn although she committed suicide? Those who commit suicide become grim reaper. The end makes no sense for me at all. I was very disappointed.

  20. Sad says:

    Why was Ha-Ram reborn although she committed suicide? Those who commit suicide become grim reaper. The end makes no sense for me at all. I was very disappointed.

  21. Sherrie says:

    Can anyone tell me the significance of the amusement park in the woods that Ha ram sees with her father. Black asks/verifies that Ha ram has seen it but she cannot re find the park on later visits to the woods.
    Does the amusement park mean something?

  22. Sam says:

    Remember the amusement park was where the grim reapers initially picked up their capsules of the souls they had to collect.

  23. Sam says:

    Gas light much? Neither this ending nor the original ending would have made any sense. Everything was undone by suicide and made everything that the characters did useless and just wasted the time we fans spent watching this show. Black not existing doesn’t stop the former 444 from existing and falling in love with Ha Ram’s mother. If the former 444 didn’t fall in love with Ha Ram’s mother then Ha Ram isn’t born and her father dies, or if the former 444 doesn’t fall in love and the car accident happens then Black doesn’t become the current 444 and loser isn’t sent to retrieve a soul alone. If Black didn’t exist then he could not have had the bracelet made for him by Ha Ram which is given to 419. Loser committed suicide after Leo took his girl in Seoul, so if Black did not exist then 419 would not have ran away or been given the bracelet by Black, plus he would not have been in Ha Ram’s past in Mujin since that was Leo’s past and not loser who committed suicide in Seoul to become 419. Suicide doesn’t entitle Ha Ram to relive the same life over again by starting over in the past. She would be reborn in the future as someone different. Even if Ha Ram did relive the same life without powers, the people would still die in the mall collapse, the child rapes would still happen and no one would have learned anything because the bad guys would have gotten away with everything. The only thing that would have changed is that Moo Gang’s mother would not have become a child murderer, and so would have been speared from hell and suicide. If Black had decided on making amends in this life and forgave Moo Gangs mother while also deciding to live as a human or coming out to Ha Ram as a reaper instead of committing suicide from the cliffs then everything could have been solved in this life and love would have won the day. It was Black’s decision to be secretive and commit suicide that lead Ha Ram to pain and suicide instead of love and joy in this life. Nothing was learned in this show except suicide solves everything and is the answer, Which it is not. Love would have transformed Black into a human willing to sacrifice his position as a grim reaper in order to live as a human with Ha Ram for however long or short a human life is. There were no obstacles stopping him from living as a human being, he just decided to do harm to Ha Ram by running away and not being truthful to her or respecting that their love could thrive no matter the obstacle. Also if that old man who could see souls like Ha Ram, had poked his eyes out and was blind , then how could he still see or track Ha Ram so easily? This show was just meaningless and a waste of time since all of the good things and human struggles made in the face of darkness were just so easily wiped away and made meaningless by suicides.The only real way forward for this show was for Black to be human or honest to Ha Ram, neither happened so the show blew it in a majorly cowardly way.

  24. OM says:

    @Sherrie – The amusement park is the connection between the reaper’s world and the human world. At the beginning of the show, the reapers ride up to the human world through the amusement park rides. Regular humans cannot see it but reapers can; Haram did because she is half reaper.

  25. Virginia L Wicks-Delaney says:

    But didn’t Ha-Ram kill herself a second time when she sat out in the cold all night possibly waiting for him to show up? So wouldn’t suffice to say that she would have to become a grim reaper?🤔🤔🤔 Then they can be partners.😁

  26. Giennied says:

    But didn’t Ha-Ram kill herself a second time by sitting out in the cold. She obviously chose Black then after getting her memories back. And then if she did… wouldn’t she herself become a grim reaper? 🤔🤔🤔 So her and Black would end up as partners.

  27. FabSB says:

    Did anyone else notice that this post has some of the exact wording of the blog on AminoApps? Is it the same author?

  28. FabSB says:

    I thought much of the same at first, but I missed something. Nothing changed for the reapers, only the humans. So as of the moment the decision was made to erase Joon, the CURRENT reapers (not the PAST ones) had to recreate the entire human timeline from Joon’s birthdate forward. Meaning the current reapers had to collect all souls again. Ha Ram was a year younger than Joon, so her parents were probably not married or killed until after the reset. Loser would have still been a reaper hiding in a human, but would have had to go into another body until he could get into Leo later in the new timeline. Then he could have somehow stopped some of the bad events in the new timeline (stopping the car accident of Ha Ram’s parents, getting people out of the mall). Meanwhile Joon’s mom would have taken in Yoon Soo-wan – but never got arrested for the drugs that were planted on Joon, so she would never have gotten assaulted or worked in that bar. This would have stopped the tape crimes entirely as well. Also 444 giving the bracelet to Loser to give to Ha Ram at her expiration date, triggered her memory of Joon which restored the existence of his soul. This made the ending easier to swallow.

  29. FabSB says:

    Also Ha Ram jumped, but never died before the timeline was reset…she was mid-air… It is presumed that although the timeline was reset, all of the sins committed prior to the timeline are not forgotten by the higher powers – so all souls will still pay the price at the end of their existence in the new timeline. So it is unclear if Ha Ram will be a reaper with 444 or if her and Joon will go to heaven. Since he killed people, and she killed herself, it is likely they would both be reapers together but they left it up to us to decide the ending we prefer. Cop out, but still the show was very good even with the bunk ending.

  30. john hay says:

    Wow. Great write up.

    The part when Dark insinuates that the interview tape may have been edited. What point was he trying to convey?

  31. Ang Kay says:

    Will there be another season?

  32. Sydneyfox says:

    Please someone explain me this. I kist finished series.. How come leo stopped kang ah ram’a parents accident.I mean even joon never existed, joon has nothing to do with that accident. And how come leo is there??? That means after joon take his punishment all 20 years happen again or something like that??? Wasn’t he bein erased.. how come leo stopped the accident.i mean leo / that grim reaper isn’t born when parents got into accident..please explain me…

  33. Mina says:

    We were left with a cliff hanger . I hope we get a season 2 now they are together they can team up in the afterlife

  34. Rulami says:

    Black’s decision to get erased by the memories was a great solution and because they ‘died’ selflessly at the same moment and we know that their souls are bounded, that would open up a new story. The story should end here, everything after is really unsolved and full of logical mistakes what doesn’t fit to the intelligent crime story before.

  35. JC says:

    A decent breakdown, but a more logical presentation of each point with clear supporting evidence from the show would be better, especially for those peeved by the ending. This reads far more like an emotional knee-jerk response piece rather than an intelligent breakdown of the show’s presentation and messaging. Pretentious comments about the show requiring more critical thinking (it doesn’t, there’s only so much you can piece together before it’s dumped in front of you) and how if only a viewer that came away with a negative position would truly *understand* the ending they’d come to agree with you. No, that’s not how art works, and I think you could do a much better job arguing the merits of the show.

    Regardless, I felt Black to be a strong addition to Netflixe’s lineup despite some minor grievances in writing choices and storyboarding.

  36. Josephine Madrigal says:

    @JC – You sound pretentious, lol. Just in case you missed, the articles in the opinion section so it’s not an analysis. I do believe there is an analysis piece on the site as a separate article since I remember reading it. Read a lot of opinion pieces online and they have similar tones because that’s the style now. Any way, you’re the only one sounding pretentious and snobby. Lighten up. Have fun. Move on.

  37. Aden Falcon says:

    I think the ‘Black’ ending is good but it lacks impact compared to ‘Goblin’ ending.

  38. ND says:

    The drama was going well with the twists and overall plot up until it reached it climax. The last two episodes killed the entire buildup of the thrilling and suspenseful journey. It had too many loopholes and didn’t made sense. Firstly, why couldn’t Ha Ram see the black shadow inside leo (as it was revealed that loser was inside leo’s body).
    Secondly, didn’t black decide to stay as human with Ha Ram. So even if he killed people at the end which grim reaper’s have to pay a price for. He wasn’t actually captured by the death squad. So why would he surrendered himself. If would have made more sense if he had stayed just like leo as leo clearly wasn’t captured. Or was black a self-righteous grim reaper, lol..
    Thirdly, shouldn’t it have been acknowledged by Ha Ram who actually her father was, why could she see shadows & who black actually was.
    Lastly, in the end doesn’t joon’s character being ceased to exist mean people wouldn’t remember he was actually there rather than the past being changed which made no sense. Also, the scene of old ha ram & leo was so lame (i mean they didn’t even look old).

    If they didn’t want Ha Ram to know who black actually was or whatever, it would have made more sense if he had stayed and they lived happily ever after or black later on being captured by death squad leaving Ha Ram devastated. They wanted to portray a tragic love story but failed to have any impact at the end of the series. Black & Ha Ram’s relationship itself wasn’t much discovered (ex- them interacting and having light hearted scenes, showing black actually enjoying human life and laughing because of her). If was randomly put out there that they loved each other which was evident but wasn’t well established because of which it lacked impact. The series could have been much better with well thought last episodes and there relationship being discovered more.

  39. ありちゃん says:

    I love how you tried explaining this ending while simultaneously calling everyone who hated the ending unintelligent. The ending was a total cop out.

    I get that their message was intended to show how our actions have consequences, but they sent so many negative messages along with that single-minded goal.
    Ex. Ha-Ram was insecure about her eyes. She’s been like that since her childhood. However, instead of embracing who she is she is granted a different life. Like what? Are you serious?
    Another thing, he never told her who he was instead he hid it from her. So, are we now saying honesty and confronting the truth aren’t important?

    Also a huge contradiction occurred in the ending, if she died. Those who commit suicide are cursed to be reapers. Or did the writers and you forget that? She wouldn’t have been rewarded with a different life. Before you say they felt bad for her, remember this is the same group who don’t make exceptions for killing evil men. Ha-Ram’s reaper dad killed a human to protect a pregnant woman and her child, yet he was still sentenced to perish.

    You claim this ending was beautiful, but it was one of the worst endings I’ve seen. It was rushed and sloppy. The whole “warm” ending felt forced. Also, what sort of message does it send to see Ha-ram kill herself and then be reborn into a better life?! Do you know how many people I’ve seen struggling with suicide that have the thought/hope they’ll be reborn into a better life?

    Another thing where’s her personal growth in the end? She had tried previously to kill herself and regretted it. She has stopped others from committing suicide while also telling them it will accomplish nothing. Yet, they have her jumping off a cliff in the end? Are you kidding me?!

    The show was already a hard watch, but this- this was an outright catastrophe.

  40. J says:

    You should all check out the writer’s opinion on the drama here.


  41. Norene says:

    As an American watching Black I had difficulty with the portrayal of the detectives and associated “humor” also with lapses in logic- even though it dealt with magic and mysticism. Go Ara was a heavy dresser all the way through which was a bit of overkill sorry for the pun – otherwise the two main characters did remarkably well – especially Black’s ice cream scene which was definitely a classic and his kicking fits. Ultimately though a little more romance and genuine affection would have lightened the load

  42. Tonia Crews says:

    If you remember in the last episode when Ha-ram found out that she killed Joon, she when to the cliff but at the moment she jumped in, Black entered the chamber where he was supposed to be erased, so Ha-ram didn’t really kill herself, it was at that moment that her life was rewritten. Now, also remember Black saying that by taking the ultimate punishment it would have been as if her parents never had the car accident, hence, no reaper existed in their lives because they didn’t have the accident and no reaper possessed her father’s body, resulting on her having a normal life.

    What I really didn’t understand is how did Moon-Gang ended up being Joon…was it because he had his heart?

    And I’m sorry but I didn’t like the ending either, I would’ve really preferred a happily ever after ending…hope this ending is an open argument to more seasons.

  43. Cathy says:

    Why do they sentence Moo Gang/Joon as #420 at the end, and not as #444? Confused

  44. rockermystic says:

    My opinion on some of the questions I see here after re-watching Black several times:

    1. Black was sentenced as #420 because that was Joon’s death date, and after discovering his body, he was no longer #444 – that number is assigned to the best of the best Grim Reapers (as mentioned by both 444 ans 007 at different parts of the story) so a new 444 already had been chosen.

    2. Ha-Ram commits suicide but doesn’t die. The sentencing of Black occurs right on the cusp of her death, so instead of being taken to the afterlife she is essentially “reset” with everyone in a timeframe where Joon/444 doesn’t exisit. She doesn’t see death because the previous 444 (her father) never looks into her mother’s eyes, so he remains a normal human – this is actually the “death” that Leo/419 refers to when he speaks of preventing Ha-Ram’s father’s death, NOT the one that we see Ha-Ram withness. That second death never occured, because there was no Mujin Fire Incident for him to investigate.

    3. Piggybacking off the Mujin incidents, there was no prostitution and r* of Soo-Won. She lived with Joon’s mother after her own died, and Joon’s Mom went to prison for drugs – however, those drugs actually belonged to Joon and she lied to protect him. But because Joon never existed, Soo-Won and Joon’s mother were able to stay together, Soo-won never went to Clara, and was never exploited. As for the other underaged girls, we don’t really have an answer to that, but Soo-Won was also able to live a happy life after Joon/444 is removed from having existed.

  45. Manvi says:

    No amount of detailed article can justify such a garbage ending to a beautiful show. It isn’t about a happy ending. I always envisioned a sad ending.
    This show was never only about ha-ram. There were many people connected playing important roles. Just giving an ending to one character doesn’t justify the show
    Also ending was highly illogical with so many questions left unanswered of which there is big list where I do not wanna go (like how they prevented accident, what happened to previous grim reaper 444’s punishment as he never made any mistake, how grim reaper is in leo body when past is totally changed, how black came to take haram when his existence itself was vanished) . It’s like either the writer opened a pandora box which they couldn’t close thus left things unanswered or they were just so keen on making haram happy so they made up any bull shit crap
    There could have much better ending where every character could have got closure without going into past. Where people at fault had to bear consequences of their actions instead of innocent one like joon. What kind of message they want to give.

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