If you do not know what Bangtan Universe is, please do click this Anniversary special-The Bangtan Universe. to find out before reading!
We continue with the posts on the Bangtan Universe. As of now, we are in the Wings era, where each member has their own solo song and a short film spanning a few minutes, that tells us more of the story that they have been saying since 2015. We saw Jungkook’s and Yoongi’s story in Begin and First Love. We saw Jimin’s and Hoseok’s story in Lie and MAMA. Now we move onto Taehyung’s and Namjoon’s stories- Stigma and Reflection.
Stigma is the third short film, based on Taehyung’s solo song, Stigma, which you can watch here
As in the other short films, Stigma too, starts with a voice over by Namjoon.
It was the first fissure in the columns that had upheld my childhood, which every individual must destroy before he can become himself. Such fissures and rents grow together again, heal and are forgotten, but in the most secret recesses they continue to live and bleed.
This sentence is also parts from the book Demian by Hermann Hesse. Here Sinclair, a character in the novel, where his father has created a fissure in his childhood. As her grows up, he thinks he forgot about it, but the pain and effects from it are still deeply rooted in him. This is very similar to Taehyung’s situation considering the kind of problems he had with his father in I Need U.
The story starts with Taehyung scratching away with a screwdriver in front of a spray painting. We know that spray painting on wall, are synonymous to his character, as we saw in Run , a scene where Namjoon and Taehyung are spray painting together. Also we can see that he is intently scratching over the word Abraxas, which is the symbol of evil and temptation. Taehyung scratching away the words, makes it seem like he is the only one who knows, the effects of the evil. Just like that scene in Run, here too, Taehyung is arrested by the police.
He is taken into an interrogation room, where they ask him all the basic questions like his name, etc. There is no audio here and the only sound we can hear is from the policeman typing the information. We understand through the subtitles in the video. Taehyung has a very neutral expression on his face, like his thoughts are somewhere else. While he is answering the questions he slowly, turns a little screw on the side of the table.
While the interrogation is going on we are interrupted with scenes of Taehyung running around wildly, in an empty area as if desperately looking for something.
Suddenly the camera zooms into his eye, where we see a picture of a mother and child. The same picture that Hoseok saw, on the wall in the short film MAMA. This most likely suggests a connection between Taehyung’s and Hoseok’s story as well as indicate that both of them have some serious problems with mothers. Also in The Prologue video, we see Taehyung lying down alone and looking at a picture of a mother and baby.
The scene keeps flashing in between the interrogation and the lonely road. Taehyung seems to be being attacked by an unseen force as he collapses, injured on the floor. These could probably suggest the problems that are in Taehyung’s life and how it affects him. The scene reverts back to the interrogation room, where Taehyung answers,
I don’t have anything like that.
This was an answer that he gave, for when the police officer asks him about his parents.
Right after that, we see an empty telephone booth, chained amidst some plants. Although we do not know what this is for, it could be a symbolism for the friend that he calls, in The Prologue video after stabbing his father, who was abusing his sister.
We see a Taehyung, collapsed on the ground and it immediately reverts to a scene in a home like setting similar to what we saw in I Need U, where he stabs his father. Here we see a man who is sleeping with an empty alcohol bottle next to him. He lies down close next to a young girl, who is injured, who is most likely his sister. In The Prologue video, we saw him looking at a picture of a mother and a baby, probably it was his mother and him, and that his mother died young. Because of that, Taehyung has an extra special bond to his sister.
The police officer takes a sip of water which is juxtaposed with a scene of his father drinking, which probably reminds him of his father, and therefore he looks away.
While he is lying on the ground, a little white puppy comes near him. This puppy symbolizes his innocence fro his childhood. Here, a song starts playing in the background which says-
I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry, my sister,
I try to hide it, to disguise it, but it doesn’t go away,
Please dry my eyes,
That light, that light,
Please put the light on my sin,
I feel like I’m gonna die,
Let me take that punishment,
Please forgive my sin,
The lyrics are from his solo, Stigma here clearly show that he is talking about his sister, and that he feels shame over the sins and incidents that happened in his life. As he plays with the puppy, a large metallic cage comes from above and traps him suddenly, which signifies his problems.
We then see a scene of Taehyung in a room with glass shards falling from his hand, and a frame where we see glass/mirror breaking. The glass shards falling from his hand are the shards from after he attacked his father with, in I Need U.
We also see scenes of where his sister is being beaten while he helplessly looks on, the pain obvious in him.
The puppy then walks away from the cage, which shows how his innocence left him once his problems (the cage) , came upon him. He looks on helplessly as the puppy walks away.
A sentence in Korean appears, which says-
Here, there are only different whales that speak different languages.
These are lyrics from a song by BTS called, Whalien 52, which talks about the lonely 52 Hz. whale.
The final scene zooms in on Taehyung, as we finally hear him say,
Let me make just one phone call.
As to who he is calling we do not know, but it most probably is the friend he called, in the beginning of The Prologue video.
As usual, it starts with a voice over by Namjoon-
The other realm, however, overlapping half our house, was completely different…A loud mixture of horrendous, intriguing, frightful, mysterious things, including slaughterhouses and prisons, drunkards and screeching fishwives, calving cows, horses sinking to their death, tales of robberies, murders, and suicides.
Basically, Namjoon has quoted parts from Demian again, but he seems to be referring to how things have different sides to it, no matter how it seems on the outside.
It starts with a container, the same kind we saw in the Run video, where Namjoon was walking, alone. We see that Namjoon is inside that container.
He opens an envelope, inside which is a picture of a bird. The same picture we saw in Jungkook’s short story Begin. In Begin we had seen that Jungkook was confused as to what the bird is, and had put it in an envelope to send it to someone who knows. That someone is Namjoon. This is parallel to how Demain answers Sinclair’s questions in the novel, Demian.
We see a bird flash across the screen, another thing that we also saw in Jungkook’s short film, Begin .
We also see that Namjoon starts tattooing the picture of the bird onto his arm. The bird here symbolizes freedom from their problems, and Namjoon etching that into his arm symbolizes that he wants to escape.
He then burns the image of the bird, and puts it into a glass which he drinks, knowing it is bad. He then collapses on the floor.
This is when a sentence comes on screen, which translates to-
I see someone in the mirror right now.
These are actually lyrics from their song, No More Dream , and are also parallel to his song Reflection.
Colors start seeping up his arm and we see glass shattering. The same shattering that we saw when Taehyung broke the bottle. This further confirms the connection between Taehyung and Namjoon. We also see a scene, where Namjoon looks at glass where it is written ‘Need to survive’. This is synonymous to the scene where he wrote the same message on the mirror in The Prologue video.
Next, he is seen to be in a room with many mirrors. This symbolizes that he is having a problem with discerning his true identity, or in accepting and loving himself. He closes his eyes and covers his ears and we see the mirrors shatter and break and scatter.
Suddenly, he raises his head, when he hears a telephone ringing. He runs towards a telephone booth. The same booth that we saw in Taehyung’s video. This confirms that the friend that Taehyung calls in Stigma and The Prologue video is Namjoon. However, the booth is chained shut, as if someone is preventing him from taking the call and Namjoon slumps down in sadness as he was unable to pick up the call. The short film ends with lyrics from his solo, Reflection, that say ‘I wish I could love myself’ over and over, which are the lyrics to his solo song and is his reflection on himself and his identity and the importance he feels in loving himself.
What we understood so far
Stigma and Reflection further confirmed the connection between Taehyung and Namjoon. We also discovered that the friend that Taehyung calls is also Namjoon. We also notice that there is an inherent connection between Taehyung and Hoseok, especially defined on motherhood. And there is a connection between Namjoon and Jungkook as well, as we saw that the envelope has been sent from Jungkook to Namjoon. In terms of the Demian, Jungkook’s Demian is Namjoon.
The next part of the story continue in the final short film of the Wings era Bangtan Universe : Awake.
For any queries, you can e-mail me at email@example.com or just tweet/direct message to @DoWhatYouLove96 on Twitter.