Netflix’s South Korean series ‘Black Knight’ tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world. Forty years earlier, a comet collided with Earth. In the following years, most continents went under the sea, and the Korean Peninsula turned into a desert. Although the Korean government exists, it is forced to share power with a private organization, the Cheonmyeong Group, which originally gained prominence by extracting oxygen from a mineral called oxyanium. After the comet, the air has become toxic, and oxygen has become a prized commodity. A new social structure has replaced the old one, and even while facing near-extinction, humanity has found ways to discriminate against a group labeled as “refugees.”
Yoon Sa-wol (Kang Yoo-seok) is one such refugee. A teenager, Sa-wol aspires to become a Black Knight or deliveryman, an employee of Cheonmyeong tasked with delivering life-sustaining provisions to people. In the course of the first season, it is revealed that Sa-wol is also a mutant. Here is everything you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.
What is a Mutant in Black Knight?
In the world of ‘Black Knight,’ mutants are effectively a new subspecies of humanity. They are generally children of oxyanium miners, and their mutation is the result of the radioactive materials found in the mines. From 5-8’s musing, we know that the mutants have been viewed only as rumors before by ordinary people. Ryu Seok of the Cheonmyeong Group employs a suicide gang to kidnap boys and girls whose parents worked in the mines.
Ryu Seok suffers from a seemingly deadly disease, which presumably began to spread after the comet. It has no cure, but his scientists seem to believe that the mutation can serve that purpose. Ryu Seok has his suicide gang kidnap these children so his scientists can experiment with them. They initially started with children of the refugees. When that didn’t produce the desired results, they moved on to children from the General District.
How Did Sa-wol Become a Mutant?
Sa-wol became a mutant because his father was an oxyanium miner. When Ryu Seok’s abductors come for Sa-wol’s adoptive sister, Jeong Seul-ah, he tries to fight them off and even kills a few. But Seul-ah gets shot and dies. One of the abductors shoots Sa-wol in the head, but the bullet gets flattened instead of boring a hole in his skull. 5-8, the legendary deliveryman, hears a gunshot and comes to inspect what has transpired. He picks Sa-wol up and takes him to safety, later realizing that the boy might be a mutant.
Although Sa-wol’s mutant abilities saved his life, he still lost consciousness after the incident and spends some time in a coma. When he wakes up, he initially doesn’t remember what happened to him. Sa-wol convinces 5-8 to train him after Cheonmyeong declares they will be hosting a tournament to find their next deliveryman. Although Sa-wol is significantly younger than most of his fellow contestants, his mutation gives him a clear edge.
Sa-wol performs remarkably and wins the tournament. But much to his horror, he discovers that Cheonmyeong live broadcast the final round so refugees would gather in pockets to cheer for one of theirs. Ryu Seok sends several members of his suicide gang to detonate bombs in these gatherings, killing hundreds of refugees. The tournament lets Ryu Seok become aware of Sa-wol’s mutation. He has Sa-wol’s blood tested and discovers that it can indeed cure him. Although excited, Ryu Seok decides to keep things under wraps for now.
However, Ryu Seok is forced to act when his father, Ryu Jae-jin, the chairman of the Cheonmyeong Group, teams up with the President of Korea to bring him down. Their attempt is unsuccessful as the defense minister launches a coup. In the season finale, Ryu Seok has Sa-wol kidnapped so his blood can be harvested for his cure. But 5-8 intervenes, kills Ryu Seok, and rescues the boy. In the final scène of the season, set three months after the death of Ryu Seok, Sa-wol continues to work as a deliveryman in the changed world.
Read More: Does Sa-wol Die in Black Knight? [Spoiler]