Duel: Episode 4
Ahhhhh, what a good episode, full of minor secrets and discoveries that are undoubtedly paving the way to something much more insidious. Thanks to some tantalizing hints, it’s a race to find a man who might hold a clue to what happened twenty-four years ago — and possibly, what led to the clones being who they are today.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Flash-forward intro: As a dogfight rages to the cheers of the gamblers surrounding the cage, Good Clone is dragged into the office of a man who says that he knows him. The man is surprised Good Clone is alive, because he was sure he killed him. As the man lifts Good Clone by the collar, he demands to know how he’s still alive and how he hasn’t aged. Mi-rae, peering through a crack in the door, watches them and pulls a piece of paper out of her pocket, her eyes widening in shock.
Back to the empty building, where Deuk-chun, bound to a pillar, slowly regains his consciousness as Bad Clone beats up Good Clone. Deuk-chun demands to know where his daughter is as he threatens to kill Bad Clone. But Bad Clone just smiles, since he knows Deuk-chun can’t kill him, because he needs him to find his daughter. With that, he leaves.
Jo-hye, along with her team and hordes of police, pull up to the abandoned building, but Deuk-chun and Good Clone seem to have made their escape. She finds Byung-joon’s body and grumbles to herself that “he” is just making things unnecessarily harder. They’ve also left behind Ddal-soo’s daughter, who should be fine once the sleeping pills wear off, but Jo-hye recognizes the jacket wrapped around the girl: it’s Deuk-chun’s. It’s proof that he was there and involved in this case.
Both Deuk-chun and Good Clone seem pretty dazed as they drive along, and Deuk-chun pulls over to demand exactly who — or what — Good Clone is, and how he’s related to Bad Clone. But Good Clone is just as baffled as Deuk-chun, with no clue as to why there’s someone who is identical to him who isn’t his twin. He shouts that it’s making him feel crazy too.
Deuk-chun confesses that he thought his daughter was kidnapped because someone knew about the bribe money that he and Jo-hye had accepted years ago and wanted to punish him. But now he’s wondering if the kidnapping actually has to do with Good Clone, even if he’s not sure how or why. He just knows that Good Clone is at the center of it, and therefore needs to understand who Good Clone is and how he’s related to Bad Clone.
Good Clone is desperate to figure out the same information, and they agree to find Choi Joo-shik while Good Clone works on getting back his memories. They’re officially partners now.
Jo-hye’s team have figured out that the fingerprint found on Byung-joon is the same as the prints of Soo-yeon’s kidnapper, but no one involved with the organ harvesting has ever seen Soo-yeon, so there doesn’t seem to be a connection to the cases other than that. However, when Jo-hye returns to her office, she finds a letter from someone named “Lee Sung-joon” with a note labeled “Murder Forecast,” asking who will be the next victim after Byung-joon.
She wonders if the killer sent this to her as a warning so that she can stop the murder, or if the killer sent this to show off that someone else will be killed no matter what. But in order to prevent the murder, they know that they first need to know who’s going to be killed. She requests detectives Hyung-shik and Soo-ho to be transferred to her department so that she can keep an eye on them and their investigation.
Mi-rae and her sunbae continue to look into the documents left behind from her mother, and they’ve discovered that it has to do with stem cell research from a study in 1993, when stem cell research was still new. But what’s surprising is that the documents show studies regarding induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell research, which couldn’t have existed at that time. But if this research is true, then the current ground-breaking stem cell treatment from Sanyoung could have been created twenty-four years ago.
Giving us a crash course on the importance of stem cells, Mi-rae points out that if Sanyoung had discovered iPS cells back then, then they could have extended the life of cloned animals. Since clones — such as the famous Dolly the sheep — come from adult cells that have already entered the aging stage, their life expectancy is considerably shortened compared to non-cloned counterparts. But the research from her mother seems to indicate that they were looking for a solution to work around such handicaps.
Mi-rae is also baffled to realize that her mother was a nurse, something she never knew, especially when her mother had been so against her becoming a doctor. Ohhh, so she’s a doctor, too? She must be a medical journalist, then.
At the prosecutor’s office, Hyung-shik and Soo-ho nervously wait for Jo-hye like two kids who were sent to the principal’s office, and Hyung-shik remembers to silence his phone just before Jo-hye walks in. Now that they’ve been assigned to work together, she gets right to the point: She believes this “Lee Sung-joon” person was responsible for kidnapping Soo-yeon and for killing Byung-joon.
Jo-hye warns them that if Sung-joon — aka Good Clone — is found to have killed someone else, then Deuk-chun will be considered an accessory to murder. And they don’t want that, now, do they? So, she adds, it’s in all their best interests to figure out who the next victim will be.
Deuk-chun is getting frustrated that Hyung-shik isn’t answering his calls, but immediately grows concerned when he sees Good Clone struggling to breathe. He hurries to the pharmacy to get medication for him.
Meanwhile, Bad Clone stops by the medical room where Soo-yeon is hidden, noting that she appears to be in distress as she dreams. She reaches out for her father, but it’s Bad Clone’s hand she grabs. Waking up, she pleads with Bad Clone to tell her when her father will be there, since she no longer sees him even in her dreams. He just quietly tells her to wait a little while longer before drugging her once more, causing her to fall back asleep.
But as he walks back into his living quarters, he clutches at his chest, momentarily in pain. (Perhaps the same pain Good Clone is enduring?) Good Clone also has a flashback to a dogfight, and even though he’s not sure what it means, he’s convinced that Joo-shik has something to do with dogfighting.
Hyung-shik notices that Deuk-chun is calling, and he excuses himself to use the restroom. Jo-hye messages her assistant Boon-suk to follow, and he’s able to overhear Hyung-shik’s whispered conversation as he updates Deuk-chun on what Jo-hye has found — including Good Clone’s name. In return, Deuk-chun tells him about their dogfight hunch.
When Hyung-shik returns to the office, Jo-hye reveals that the DNA on the letter is the same as the person who kidnapped Soo-yeon. There’s no time to waste, so they’ll need to focus on the next victim: Joo-shik. Both Hyung-shik and Soo-ho are surprised that Jo-hye knows about him, but she slyly feigns surprise that her team didn’t fully inform the detectives, chiding them for not being forthcoming now that they’re working together. After all, they should all share what they know.
When Deuk-chun relays the information Hyung-shik told him, Good Clone is just surprised to discover that his name is “Lee Sung-joon.” It doesn’t have any particular connection for him, but he agrees to go by Sung-joon, since it’s better than no name at all. He repeats the name to himself a few times, and has a faint memory of someone calling out, “Sung-joon.”
Mi-rae is trying to figure out who Choi Joo-shik is, and goes to a service that will give her that information for 1,000,000 won — in cash. She balks at the expense, but Sunbae willingly pays it as she promises to pay him back eventually. Aw, it seems Sunbae is pretty sweet on her.
They find out that the Joo-shik they’re looking for died in 1992, which is odd, considering that he was still getting treatment in 1993. He apparently died in prison after being arrested for illegal dogfight gambling, and was cremated. Jo-hye’s team finds out the same information, and Jo-hye wonders how Sung-joon could kill someone who’s already dead.
Hyung-shik and Soo-ho take a break and privately discuss the case. Soo-ho has discovered that Joo-shik’s younger brother owns a dog food factory, but before they can discuss it further, Jo-hye’s assistants Boon-suk and Song-yi crash their break time. They’re overbearingly friendly as they chat with the detectives, attempting to win them over since they’re “family” now. But neither detective is willing discuss the case with them.
After discovering that Joo-shik has a younger brother, Joo-ho, Mi-rae and Sunbae get the address to his dog food company. Hyung-shik also gets this address, sending it to Deuk-chun. Sung-joon thinks it’s odd that Bad Clone would want to kill someone who’s been dead for twenty-five years, but Deuk-chun reminds him that he’s the detective here, so they’ll follow the lead they have.
Mi-rae and Sunbae are the first ones to arrive at Joo-ho’s factory. She buzzes the intercom, telling him that she has some questions about his brother who died. He’s dismissive of her until she mentions her mother’s name — it clearly means something to him. With a smirk, he tells her that he can meet her later tonight, giving her an address where he’ll be found.
Minutes after Mi-rae leaves, Deuk-chun and Sung-joon arrive at Joon-ho’s warehouse. I get the feeling he’s not used to being this popular, but he seems to believe Deuk-chun’s claim that he’s only there to issue a citation for leaving out stacks of rotten dog food and stinking up the neighborhood. He requests a written statement from Joo-ho that he’ll promise to clean it up, but it’s just an excuse to get inside the building.
Meanwhile, Bad Clone watches as Director Baek carefully stacks a huge amount of cash into a briefcase. It’s money they’ll use to bet on the dogfight, thereby making sure that they’ll be treated as VIP clients. Director Baek isn’t a fan of this plan, but Bad Clone casually says that it’s the ransom money he got for Soo-yeon, so he should have the freedom to spend it as he wishes.
Director Baek thinks dogfights are pointless — the dogs do all the work while the humans get the money. Bad Clone wryly smiles, pointing out that they’re not so different. As he sticks an injection into his hand, he wonders what side they should be on — the one who obeys the master, or the one who wants to survive and win? I get the feeling he’s not just talking about dogs, especially when Director Baek reassures him that they’ll soon have “the list,” and that he won’t have to take any more injections.
Back at the dog food factory, Deuk-chun tells Joo-ho that he’s really there to ask about his older brother, Joo-shik. Joo-ho appears calm, but Deuk-chun notices some obvious nervous tics. Joo-ho tells Deuk-chun that his brother was obsessed with dogfights, and it eventually became his undoing.
All he knows is that his brother died in prison and was supposedly cremated. He shifts anxiously, making sure his hair covers an old cut on his ear, and Deuk-chun thanks him for his time. He reassures Joo-ho that his brother’s name just came up in an investigation. After the detective leaves, Joo-ho finds it odd that everyone’s suddenly asking about a dead man.
Jo-hye’s been trying to find a connection to Joo-shik, and her team brings in a prisoner who’s been involved with dogfighting. She offers to cut his sentence in half if he tells her what she wants to know. But if he takes too long, she’ll more than double his sentence. He immediately tells her where the dogfighting rings are located, including Joo-ho’s connection to them.
As Deuk-chun relates what he’s found out about Joo-ho, including the scar on his ear, a cop car drives by. It parks in front of the dog food factory. Popular place.
But Sung-joon has a flashback, realizing that Joo-shik was the one whose ear had been cut… which means that Joo-ho is actually Joo-shik. Deuk-chun returns to the factory, claiming he left his phone behind. Joo-ho/Joo-shik has already left, so he ties up all of Joo-ho/Joo-shik’s men, demanding to know where their boss is.
He finds out the location of the next dogfight, relaying that information back to Hyung-shik and Soo-ho. He asks for their help, and the two detectives nonchalantly try to pretend that they weren’t just attempting to scurry out of the office when Jo-hye finds them. She’s got another mission for them — well, for everyone, actually — as she mobilizes a team to raid the dogfight tonight.
She confiscates everyone’s phones for the mission, but Hyung-shik attempts to send off a quick message before she takes it (using Soo-ho as a shield so no one can see him). It’s unclear if he was able to send it in time before the prosecution team rolls out.
Detective Baek meets with the man I can only assume is the Big Boss, telling him they should have “the list” soon. But he’s concerned about Sung-hoon, aka Bad Clone, who finally has a name. He’s worried that Sung-hoon is more concerned about killing people and not the task at hand. If they don’t stop him, Detective Baek says, then Sung-hoon could harm Big Boss.
But Big Boss thinks they should just let Sung-hoon do what he wants, and let a crazy dog be a crazy dog. Besides, he adds, it’s not like Sung-hoon has much time left anyway.
As Sunbae drives to the meeting location, Mi-rae studies her mother’s documents. She finds an old photo, wondering who the man in it is. He looks eerily like the clones, but the photo has to be over twenty years old.
Sung-joon is still obsessing over his “new” name, but he thinks it might actually be his “real” name, since he keeps hearing a memory of someone calling him that. But he doesn’t understand why Sung-hoon hates him so much to make him out to be a murderer.
He wonders if they’re doing the right thing by walking into what’s clearly a trap, but Deuk-chun grimly says that right now, bthey don’t exactly have a choice if they want to figure out what’s really going on and find Soo-yeon.
When they arrive at the dogfight, Deuk-chun is worried that Hyung-shik and Soo-ho aren’t there for backup. But they can’t wait around, so they go in. The guards at the door try to stop them, but Deuk-chun waves around the stack of cash he still has from when his fellow police chief tried to secretly leave it with him. He adds that Sung-joon is his student, and Sung-joon forces a hilariously awkward grin — but the guard lets them through.
They look around for any sign of Joo-ho/Joo-shik, but unfortunately for them, Man-choon has ordered his men to keep an eye out for Deuk-chun. When one of the guys attending the dogfight recognizes them, he calls his boss. Man-choon then tells his right-hand woman, Na-rae, to gather up the boys — they’re going to be seeing Deuk-chun tonight, and it doesn’t sound like it will be a friendly visit.
Also on the way are Jo-hye and her team. When she orders the team to focus on catching Deuk-chun and Sung-joon, giving them permission to use deadly force if needed, Hyung-shik and Soo-ho exchange worried looks.
Meanwhile, Mi-rae arrives at the place she’s to meet with Joo-ho/Joo-shik, and she’s escorted into a fancy office near the dogfighting ring. She’s surprised that Joo-ho/Joo-shik, looking quite dapper compared to earlier that day, admits that he knew her mother.
Laughing, he takes off his wig and reveals that her mother used to be his nurse — she was the one responsible for the cut on his ear. He grabs a knife and advances towards Mi-rae, threatening to repay her in kind. But his attention is diverted when he sees a familiar face on the security cameras, and he orders his men to grab Sung-joon.
This brings us to the start of the episode, where Sung-joon wonders if Joo-shik knows him, and Joo-shik reveals that he killed him years ago. How is Sung-joon still alive and, for that matter, why does he still look exactly the same even though so many years have passed?
Locked in a nearby room, Mi-rae tries to call Sunbae, but he accidentally drop-kicks his phone, getting it lost in the crush around the dogfighting cage. As Joo-shik attempts to strangle Sung-joon, Mi-rae peers through the crack in the door, realizing in surprise that the man Joo-shik is holding looks exactly the same as the man in the photo.
In his home, Sung-hoon gets dressed, revealing a long vertical scar across his abdomen.
Meanwhile, as he tries to keep from chocking to death, Sung-joon has a flashback to being bound and gagged on a hospital bed as someone cuts him open. He also sees Joo-shik’s face, bloody from the fresh gash in his ear, laughing down at him.
This was the kind of complicated-yet-intricate plot I was hoping for from this writer, where all these little details would start to pay off and where we’d begin to see a fraction of the greater conspiracy that surrounds our clones and Sanyoung. Clearly something terrible happened back in 1993 during the original research, something that Mi-rae’s mother would want to keep locked away then order to be destroyed after her death — but not terrible enough that the research would be completely halted. Instead, it would quietly continue until now, when there are rogue clones on the run. I’m also happy to finally give the clones proper names, although I may be cursing under my breath at how identical they are, since I’m worried that I’ll type the wrong name and send everyone into confusion as to who is really doing what. Then again, that’s Sung-hoon’s entire plan, isn’t it? I just didn’t realize it would be so meta.
I have to wonder if the chest pains are a result of the clones’ short life expectancy. Sung-hoon seems to experience them, too, and apparently the injections are currently what’s keeping him going until he can find the list of original test subjects, since someway, somehow, they hold the answer to him being able to live a full life. But what about Sung-joon? Without the vital injections, how much longer does he have?
Even though Sung-hoon may be a merry murderer, I still can’t bring myself to think of him as “evil.” If he’s truly a clone — which I fully believe he is — then he’s just doing all he can to survive while revealing the truth of what’s really going on. Maybe that’s who he was referring to when he asked Director Baek what “dog” they should bet on. But then who is the one who obeys the master? Is it Sung-joon? Because he doesn’t seem like the type to really obey anyone. Or maybe he was, at first, when he had no idea what was going on other than the bus ticket and a note to find Deuk-chun.
But since I’m more and more convinced that Jo-hye must be connected to Sanyoung, I also wonder if she’s the “dog that obeys its master” Sung-hoon referred to, whereas Deuk-chun is the “dog that wants to survive and win.” Or maybe it’s just clones v. scientists in general. Perhaps I’m overthinking it, but with this writer, I’m not sure that’s even possible.
Right now I’m assuming that the man in the photo must be the Original Human, and that his name must have been Sung-joon. The voice that the clone Sung-joon hears comes from a shared memory, perhaps of Mi-rae’s mother calling out to him, since I’m also assuming that he must have been one of the original researchers, just based on the decor around him in the photograph. Which then leads me to wonder if Mi-rae might actually be Sung-joon’s original daughter. What would happen if she did a DNA test, comparing hers to the clone’s? Would there be a significant match? And would that make her DNA somehow valuable in-and-of-itself since it shares a few similar properties as the DNA Sanyoung has managed to clone?
Okay, maybe I am overthinking things just a little, since no one seems particularly interested in Mi-rae, at least in a scientific standpoint (although I’m suddenly paranoid about her doting Sunbae and where he gets all his cash). I can understand Joo-shik wanting to take revenge for his damaged ear, but I also feel like there had to have been good reason for her mother to cause such an injury in the first place. Maybe it was an adverse reaction to the testing, turning him into some kind of rage Hulk where she felt it was her only defense. Or maybe it was her attack to try and protect the original Sung-joon when Joo-shik tried to kill him (or successfully killed him, for all we know). I believe that the flashback at the very end was of the original Sung-joon, who was captured and bound by Joo-shik and made to suffer the same tortures perhaps Joo-shik had been going through as a test subject.
That just leads me back to wondering about the shared memories, though. If Sung-joon can remember everything that the original Sung-joon went through, then Sung-hoon surely experiences the same things, too. So when do the shared memories happen between them? Will Sung-joon start to have flashes of taking care of Soo-yeon in Sung-hoon’s secret medical lair? And are these two really the only clones out there? Because I can’t believe that, for a project that’s as old as they are, they’re the only ones. There has to be more clones, there just has to be!
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