Sa-wol finally gets everything he ever wanted — but at a cost he isn’t willing to pay, as the tables finally turn against the corrupt and powerful in Black Knight.
This recap contains spoilers for the 2023 Netflix K-Drama Black Knight Season 1 Episode 5.
History is beginning to repeat itself in Black Knight.
The opening scene of the penultimate episode draws explicit parallels between the long-haired version of 5-8 we met in flashback escaping a mass grave, and the present-day version we see stood surveying piles of barbecued refugees, once again killed en masse by the Cheonmyeong Group.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Progress is an illusion. And their only lead, the captured man with the triangle tattoos, isn’t willing to reveal the scale of Ryu Seok’s “relocation plan”.
Black Knight Season 1 Episode 5 Recap
After winning the tournament, Sa-wol is also dealing with a personal crisis. The glimpse of his metal skull within the cut on his forehead has triggered some of his memories from the day Seul-ah was killed, including taking a bullet to his own head. He now knows he’s a mutant.
Sa-wol is given a QR code, finally, and meets it with a jaded, “Is that it?” Everything he has wanted his entire life now scarcely seems worth it.
He becomes the new 5-7. He’s given his own place and his first assignment. But his mutant status, which is now public, puts him at risk, especially from Ryu Seok. However, it has also made him pretty famous.
Why is Ryu Seok experimenting on the mutants?
When Sa-wol is examined, Mr. Oh excitedly tells Ryu Seok that he’s the healthiest mutant they’ve ever seen.
The next we see of Ryu Seok he’s having a blood transfusion. From snippets of dialogue it becomes clear he has some kind of condition that he’s hoping to cure using the stem cells of a viable mutant, which one assumes is what the experimentation has been about. He is trying to save himself — naturally, at the expense of many, many others.
What is 5-8’s plan?
5-8 and the other former refugee Deliverymen decide to take matters into their own hands by kidnapping Ryu Seok.
Seol-ah meets with them and reveals that the men with the triangle tattoos have had surgeries on their brains to make them emotionless. They simply perform their directives, kill targets, and then kill themselves.
5-8 hands over a lot of encrypted files to Seol-ah, but upon further investigation they don’t reveal any concrete connections to Ryu Seok and Cheonmyeong. She can’t go after him officially without that hard evidence, especially now that Ryu Seok, at the urging of his father, has amended the relocation plan to house refugees in the general districts.
However, something is clearly amiss with this amendment. The rehoused refugees require mandatory physical examinations and vaccinations. It’s all very suspect, so to get the bottom of it, 5-8 stages a rescue attempt of their captive agent. He believes he’s escaping, but leads them right to Mr. Oh.
Mr. Oh is terrified, obviously, and he’s a coward at heart, so providing information that leads to Ryu Seok shouldn’t be too difficult for him.
Black Knight Season 1 Episode 5 Ending Explained
It turns out that Ryu Seok is enacting another mass-murder plan.
Relocating the refugees to the general district allows him to get them all in one place — a place that he controls. In an effort to “purify” the air, he sends out trucks that deliberately pump dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere, keeping the environment inhospitable.
Cheonmyeong Group rose to power on the value of oxygen. As long as that precious resource remains at a premium, they retain their power.
With Ryu Seok’s off-site schedule in their possession, 5-8 and his team execute their next move, sabotaging the “purification” efforts. Seol-ah goes to meet with Ryu Seok’s father just as 5-8 holds Ryu Seok himself in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle, ready to take the shot.
You can stream Black Knight Season 1 Episode 5 exclusively on Netflix.