Duel: Episode 14
Parent-child dynamics fill this episode, from dysfunctional blood bonds to supportive “you crashed into my life through bizarre circumstances and now I feel responsible for you” family-by-choice bonds. Everyone still wants the original vaccine (which is closer than anyone could have imagined), although figuring out who most deserves the cure may prove to be a difficult moral quandary.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
A motorcycle careens through the streets, and at just the last moment, Mi-rae pushes Doctor Mom aside and ends up being hit by the motorcycle herself. The unconscious Mi-rae is then rushed to the hospital.
As Mi-rae is whisked away into the emergency operating room, Doctor Mom weeps and cries out for Mi-rae, feeling responsible for what happened. Deuk-chun arrives at the hospital just then to join Doctor Mom, Sung-joon, and Sunbae, as they nervously wait to hear about Mi-rae.
After the emergency surgery, the doctor reports that Mi-rae’s organs suffered a lot of damage and internal bleeding. The doctor gently tells Doctor Mom and everyone else that they should prepare for the worst.
Seo-jin is the one who ordered the hit on Doctor Mom. Seo-jin worries when Motorcycle Man doesn’t pick up the phone and wonders if he successfully completed the job.
Deuk-chun sits by his sleeping daughter, who’s also still in the hospital, when he gets a call from Hyung-shik that they’ve caught the hit-and-run motorcyclist. As Sunbae, Sung-joon, and Doctor Mom sit in the waiting room outside the ICU, Deuk-chun finds them and asks exactly what happened.
Doctor Mom tells Deuk-chun that the motorcycle was headed straight for her. This means it was probably Sanyoung responsible for the hit-and-run, but Doctor Mom says that it couldn’t be Chairman Park since he’s still waiting for the vaccine. She deduces that it must have been Seo-jin who ordered the hit.
Since Doctor Mom is the head of Sanyoung research, she technically works for Chairman Oppa. Which means that if Doctor Mom figures out the cure for Chairman Park, then Oppa will automatically inherit the company. Seo-jin likely wants Doctor Mom out of the way so Seo-jin could find an alternate source for the cure.
Deuk-chun finds it unbelievable that Seo-jin would try to kill someone just for that, but Doctor Mom knows all too well that Chairman Park’s family are exactly the type of people to get rid of anyone who stands in their way.
Big Boss reports to Chairman Park that one of their men was arrested for trying to kill Doctor Mom but instead injured someone else. Chairman Park is irritated that his daughter would do such a thing, and orders Big Boss to do everything to cover it up before it tarnishes Sanyoung and the family’s reputation. I’m thinking Seo-jin is actually living up to the “family’s reputation,” but whatever.
Motorcycle Man pleads his case at the police station, insisting that he had just dozed off while driving and it was an accident. Deuk-chun calmly points out that there weren’t any skid marks to show the driver was shocked he hit someone or even tried to swerve out of the way, so Deuk-chun isn’t buying the guy’s explanation.
Deuk-chun tells Motorcycle Man that the people who hired him for the hit-and-run won’t be bailing him out because he hit the wrong person. Deuk-chun says he won’t be able to help Motorcycle Man even if he wanted to, since the people that hired Motorcycle Man will likely hire someone to kill him when he goes to jail. That’s how they clean up messes in their world.
As the cops take Motorcycle Man away, Deuk-chun says he should tell the detectives all about who ordered him to make the hit so that Deuk-chun can punish them and save Motorcycle Man’s life. Even though Motorcycle Man doesn’t confess, Deuk-chun still knows Seo-jin is responsible. Chief Park marvels at the ill-fated way Deuk-chun seems to be continually connected to Sanyoung.
The detectives are convinced they could use Motorcycle Man to take down Sanyoung, but Deuk-chun reveals that it’s the same MO as twelve years ago when not-yet-a-Chief Prosecutor got the driver off for Doctor Mom’s hit-and-run back then, when tiny Sung-hoon thought Doctor Mom had died. Hey, at least Seo-jin keeps to the tried-and-true family methods.
Deuk-chun points out that a prosecutor will probably take Motorcycle Man away right now, too. Right on cue, Jo-hye arrives at the police station. The other three detectives awkwardly excuse themselves so she can meet with Deuk-chun.
At the ICU, Sunbae has to leave to attend a work meeting, but he begs Sung-joon to keep him updated on Mi-rae’s condition. The doctors request more tests to be run on the still-unconscious Mi-rae as Sung-joon and Doctor Mom continue to worry and wait.
Jo-hye predictably requests to be in charge of Motorcycle Man’s case. Deuk-chun grumps that she’s acting just like the Chief Prosecutor, since Deuk-chun assumes that she’s there to free Motorcycle Man. Jo-hye insists that she’ll make sure Motorcycle Man gets the maximum sentence possible.
Deuk-chun points out that she’s just cutting off the tail to save the body, but Deuk-chun promises he’ll use that tail to take down the rest of the body. Jo-hye chides Deuk-chun for thinking Motorcycle Man is a large enough tail to be used against Sanyoung, and she reiterates that Deuk-chun should trust her undercover efforts to get Chairman Park to trust her. In that way, she’ll deliver the whole body to Deuk-chun on a platter.
Deuk-chun dismisses her, not trusting her supposed promise to take down Sanyoung from the inside. Sighing, Jo-hye says she thought Deuk-chun would act this way, and to let her know if he changes his mind.
Sung-joon dozes off while he waits outside the ICU, and as he does, more of Doctor Lee’s memories return. Doctor Lee tells Nurse Ryu that he’s nearly done with the vaccine, but he’ll try to put a rush on it since Joo-hee is getting worse. Nurse Ryu corrects him, telling Doctor Lee that he should get used to calling the child “Mi-rae” if he doesn’t want anyone else to “find out.”
Sung-joon wakes up to see Doctor Mom still worriedly waiting outside the ICU. He tells Doctor Mom that there’s something she should know. Apparently Doctor Mom must have dropped her phone during the motorcycle attack just before Deuk-chun was able to tell her about the Joo-hee/Mi-rae connection, because Sung-joon seems to be the one to break the news to her.
Doctor Mom enters the ICU and sits by Mi-rae’s side. Doctor Mom cries as she calls out to Mi-rae, calling her “Joo-hee” as she holds her daughter’s hand. Mi-rae’s hand twitches and her eyes open. She’s awake!
Deuk-chun orders his team to look into Seo-jin and find out all they can about her so they so they can be prepared to arrest her at a moment’s notice. Sung-joon calls Deuk-chun to let him know Mi-rae has regained consciousness, and as Deuk-chun heads to the hospital, he orders his men to carefully guard Motorcycle Man.
Seo-jin still frets that she can’t get in contact with Motorcycle Man, and Big Boss calls her, warning Seo-jin to sit tight and not do anything rash. Chairman Park knows all about his daughter’s ordered hit on Doctor Mom, and Big Boss is the first person to clue Seo-jin in on the fact that Motorcycle Man hit the wrong person and has since been arrested.
Seo-jin realizes that her plans are falling apart, and she tries calling Sung-hoon. She’s concerned that if Chairman Park finds Sung-hoon first, then it’s all over for her.
Mi-rae’s doctor marvels at Mi-rae’s miraculous recovery. He explains to Doctor Mom that Mi-rae hasn’t just regained consciousness, but her severely injured organs have started to repair themselves. The doctor is baffled, but says if Mi-rae continues to recover at this rate, she should be fine to return home within another week or so.
Chairman Park is on the phone with Jo-hye, wondering why she hasn’t cleared up the hit-and-run mess yet. Jo-hye calmly warns the chairman that they have to be cautious so that they don’t leave any traces, like the crumbs that lead her from the Chief Prosecutor to the chairman in the first place.
She tells Chairman Park to be patient and trust her. After she hangs up, Jo-hye tells herself that she’ll wait, too, since she also needs time for Deuk-chun to trust her.
Doctor Mom, Sung-joon, and Deuk-chun visit Mi-rae in her hospital room. Despite the neck brace, Mi-rae says that she’s doing well, and is relieved that Doctor Mom wasn’t hurt. She also wants to know why Doctor Mom keeps calling her “Joo-hee,” and Doctor Mom gently tells Mi-rae that she’s her birth mother, and Joo-hee was her original name.
Mi-rae is understandably stunned by this, and Deuk-chun and Sung-joon slip out of the room so Doctor Mom and Mi-rae can have some privacy. Deuk-chun asks how Sung-joon is doing, and Sung-joon says he’s fine. But Deuk-chun can tell something is bothering him, so Sung-joon eventually confesses that he feels confused.
Sung-joon can so clearly remember Doctor Lee’s memories of the child Joo-hee from twenty-four years ago, yet that child is also the grown Mi-rae that Sung-joon knows now. When Sung-joon first learned he was a clone, it was hard for him, but he still thought he could live like a “normal person.”
But now he’s not sure how to treat others who are important to him. Namely, he’s not sure how to relate to Doctor Mom or Mi-rae. Is he Sung-joon in his own right, or is he just another version of Doctor Lee?
Deuk-chun says he doesn’t care whether Sung-joon is a clone of Doctor Lee. All Deuk-chun cares about is the Sung-joon he knows — the man who’s reckless but keeps his promises. After all, Sung-joon risked his life to help Deuk-chun save Soo-yeon. Even though Deuk-chun admits that it must be hard for Sung-joon to figure everything out, he advises Sung-joon to just live as Sung-joon. Aw.
At the lair, Sung-hoon broods in the shower as Chairman Park’s poisonous words continue to fill his mind, spreading doubt about Doctor Mom. As much as I love a brooding shower scene, the makeup team must have had the day off because it’s immediately noticeable that Sung-hoon doesn’t have the tell-tale marks on his spine (and for a brief second I wondered if this was supposed to be Sung-joon).
After the shower, Sung-hoon injects himself with the medication that he’d previously tossed aside. Seo-jin calls him and he finally picks up, much to her relief. She demands to know where the original vaccine is, but Sung-hoon says he’ll find it on his own. It’s not like he’ll tell her where it is, anyway.
Seo-jin reminds him that she provides him with the medicine that’s keeping him alive. But Sung-hoon tells her she should seriously consider whether she wants the vaccine or not.
If her father is cured, the greedy chairman will likely try to create another vaccine that will not only stop his organs from agin, but stop him from aging period. The though of an immortal Chairman Park makes my skin crawl. Sung-hoon points out that if that happens, then there’s no way Chairman Park will give his assets to Seo-jin.
After her conversation with Sung-hoon, a dazed Seo-jin realizes that no matter what she does, her father will find ways to not give Sanyoung to her. She wonders if it will be better to wait and take the company from her brother.
Sung-hoon grabs a gun as he recalls the late Director Baek telling him about the address they last tracked Sung-joon to, which was Mi-rae’s apartment. Since Sung-joon isn’t coming to him, Sung-hoon declares he’ll go to Sung-joon. As he starts to leave the lair, Sung-hoon finds a note from Doctor Mom, presumably left behind when Big Boss secretly filmed her.
She wrote that it might be difficult to believe, but she’s still alive, and that she’ll be waiting for his call, whenever that might be. She signed it “Doctor Jin Soo-jin.”
Doctor Mom tends to Mi-rae, who is still struggling to accept that Doctor Mom is her biological mother. It hasn’t been that long since Mi-rae found out Nurse Ryu wasn’t her mother, either, so it’s a lot to take in. But Mi-rae is as good natured as ever, even when she apologizes that it’s hard for her to refer to “Doctor Mom” as anything but “Doctor.”
Doctor Mom receives a call, and Sung-hoon cautiously asks if this is “Doctor Jin Soo-jin.” She realizes that it must be Sung-hoon.
Deuk-chun sits by his own daughter’s bedside, and when she wakes up, he worriedly asks if there’s anything he can get her. Soo-yeon weakly asks if she’s no longer sick, because if so, it’s strange that she feels dizzy even though she’s lying down.
Soo-yeon wonders how many more tests the doctors have to do, assuming that’s the only reason she hasn’t been able to go home yet. As she falls asleep, Deuk-chun promises that he’ll make sure she won’t get sick again.
Sung-joon and Mi-rae are both worried about Doctor Mom meeting with Sung-hoon. But Doctor Mom wants to tell Sung-hoon about the vaccine, and she also wants to reassure Sung-hoon that he is loved.
Even if Sung-hoon is angry or resentful about how he’s been treated as a lab rat for the past twelve years, Doctor Mom still wants to see him and accept whatever blame he puts on her. Sung-joon asks to come with her because he wants to see Sung-hoon, too, and Doctor Mom agrees. The clones and their “mother” can be reunited at least once more.
As Sung-hoon drives to his meeting point with Doctor Mom, he rolls down the car window and sticks his hand out. He remembers when he first felt the wind, back when Doctor Mom took the clones outside for the first time in their lives.
Deuk-chun begs Doctor Mom to tell him what’s happening with the vaccine. He doesn’t care if he sounds like a selfish father, but seeing how Mi-rae’s health improved, and knowing that Soo-yeon is on borrowed time, he desperately wants to find a way to save his daughter.
Sung-hoon arrives at the hospital, and he sees Doctor Mom down the hall, talking to Deuk-chun. Sung-hoon’s eyes, momentarily filled with a boyish hope, harden as he hides around the corner.
Doctor Mom informs Deuk-chun that healing takes time and it’s hard to predict how someone will recover. Just because Mi-rae was injected with the original vaccine that cured her childhood disease, and seems to be currently fixing her ruptured organs, doesn’t mean there are any guarantees.
As for Soo-yeon, Doctor Mom suggests that they should try a bone marrow transplant (presumably with Mi-rae as the donor). Deuk-chun is grateful for the suggestion, and also asks about Sung-joon. Doctor Mom gently says that the transplant wouldn’t work for Sung-joon — or Sung-hoon, for that matter — since the donor has to wait at least two years before donating bone marrow to a different patient.
Which means they could possibly save Soo-yeon’s life through the bone marrow transplant, but they won’t be able to save the clones. In order to save everyone, Doctor Mom says they’ll need to focus on the vaccine. Sung-hoon, having overheard part of their conversation, calls Doctor Mom to change their meeting place.
Mi-rae is predictably cheerful as she insists that she’ll be fine at the hospital by herself so that Deuk-chun can sit with Soo-yeon while Doctor Mom and Sung-joon go to Sung-hoon’s “new” meeting place. Sung-hoon, having stolen a lab coat and glasses (which only confuses me for a second as I wonder if this is a Doctor Lee flashback), watches Deuk-chun, Doctor Mom, and Sung-joon leave the hospital.
Sung-hoon slips into Mi-rae’s room and injects her with the knock-out drug. He wheels the unconscious Mi-rae down the hall. As Sung-hoon waits for the elevator, the doctor who has been taking care of Mi-rae notices them, but doesn’t stop them. Maybe he’s confused by Doctor Lee flashbacks, too.
The doctor stops by Soo-yeon’s room to check on her due to a request from Doctor Mom. He mentions that he just saw the young man from earlier, adding that the man Deuk-chun calls “Sung-joon” must work for Doctor Mom since he just saw “the doctor” wheeling Mi-rae out of her room.
Deuk-chun immediately realizes that Sung-hoon has Mi-rae. As Deuk-chun runs downstairs in an effort to beat the elevator, he calls Sung-joon to let him and Doctor Mom know that Sung-hoon has kidnapped Mi-rae and that they need to get back to the hospital. Deuk-chun also calls Hyung-shik to bring the rest of the detectives as back-up.
Deuk-chun finds Sung-hoon and Mi-rae in the underground parking garage. Deuk-chun does a neat flying kick to stop Sung-hoon, and the two men tussle. Sung-joon drives up just as Sung-hoon knocks Deuk-chun to the ground. Sung-hoon pulls out his gun, pointing it at Deuk-chun.
Doctor Mom leaps out of the car and hurries to Sung-hoon, who switches his aim from Deuk-chun to the unconscious Mi-rae.
Doctor Mom pleads with Sung-hoon, telling him not to do this. Sung-hoon bitterly asks if Doctor Mom is worried about something happening to her real daughter. He then turns to Deuk-chun, asking if Deuk-chun is just concerned about something happening to the only source of a cure for Soo-yeon.
Sung-hoon demands to know how long Doctor Mom and Deuk-chun have been working together. He’s angry that he’d spent all these years planning on getting his revenge for her, only to discover that she was still alive and at the lab.
Deuk-chun says that if Sung-hoon wants his revenge, to take it out on Deuk-chun — leave Mi-rae out of it. Sung-hoon doesn’t want to shoot Mi-rae, either, since he knows that she’s his only source of getting the life-saving cure. Instead, Sung-hoon swings his gun to aim at Doctor Mom.
His hand trembling, Sung-joon scoffs that Doctor Mom isn’t his “mother” but just someone who’s performed experiments on him. He assumes that Doctor Mom and Deuk-chun are only focused on saving their daughter’s lives because they’re “real” humans.
Doctor Mom slowly steps forward as she tearfully insists that she’s never thought of Sung-hoon or Sung-joon as anything but “real” to her. She’s never thought that the boys deserved to die. Sung-hoon demands to know why she hid the vaccine, and Doctor Mom explains that she only recently found out the truth of what happened to it.
Chairman Park’s psychological warfare is proving successful, as Sung-hoon insists that everything Doctor Mom is telling him is a lie. Doctor Mom apologizes for abandoning him for so long, but she had no choice.
Sung-hoon yells at her that he was alive, but she never came for him. He demands to know if she’s really the head of Sanyoung’s research team, and if she truly didn’t know about the experiments they were doing to him.
All Doctor Mom can do is apologize, which she does, carefully and repeatedly. The gun still trembling in his hand, Sung-hoon says that Doctor Mom should know what if feels like to be betrayed, just as he was. Doctor Mom calmly starts to walk towards the distressed Sung-hoon as he screams at her to get back.
Sung-joon, who’s been slowly edging closer and closer to Sung-hoon during his confrontation with Doctor Mom, gets near enough that Sung-hoon notices. Sung-hoon swings his gun around to point at his brother, yelling at Sung-joon to get back.
Doctor Mom throws herself in front of Sung-joon just as the distraught Sung-hoon pulls the trigger. Doctor Mom takes the full impact of the bullet that looks like it pierces her heart. Shocked by his actions, Sung-hoon retreats to his car and drives away just as the other detectives arrive to chase him down.
Sung-joon holds Doctor Mom as the now fully awake Mi-rae kneels by her side, hysterically weeping as she calls out for “Mom.” Hyung-shik escorts Mi-rae back inside the hospital for her safety. Sung-hoon continues to hold the dying Doctor Mom.
As a deranged Sung-hoon speeds away, he swerves wildly in and out of the lanes to pass other cars, screaming that it was all Sung-joon’s fault that Doctor Mom died. Deuk-chun and Soo-ho are hot on his trail, but Sung-hoon’s erratic driving eventually causes them to lose him.
Hyung-shik, holding his head like he’s been hit, calls Deuk-chun: Mi-rae’s been kidnapped.
I thought that as the show started to head down the final stretch, the densely packed episodes would start to thin out. Instead, here I am again, dizzy as I try to make sense of the fact that Mi-rae has already lost the mother she only discovered hours ago she even had. That Sung-hoon is firmly in the chairman’s evil pocket since he believes that Doctor Mom purposefully betrayed him (even though his inner boyish heart wants to believe that his “mother” loves him as much as she says she does).
That Seo-jin is realizing all her efforts to undermine her brother to gain her father’s respect and attention have been as futile as ever, so maybe she shouldn’t have tried so hard to save her father’s life (and then all of this would have never happened, since she wouldn’t have ordered Sung-hoon to kidnap Soo-yeon). That Mi-rae’s bone marrow might be able to cure someone, but only one person. That even though the clones live with the burden of feeling like they’re not “real,” the important people in their lives believe that they are (and Sanyoung can go to hell for treated them as lab rats). That I’m easily confused when Yang Se-jong wears outfits that are associated with different characters.
I’m also suspicious about Sunbae, who’s totally grown on me over the past few weeks and who I can’t imagine not being a part of this little odd-duck family. There was something sneaky about the way he had to excuse himself for an “emergency work meeting.” Not that I doubt he’s meeting someone, but I’m not convinced it’s just about work. He’s been loyal to Mi-rae all this time (and for who knows how long before she started investigating Sanyoung), but now I’m wondering if somehow he knows about Mi-rae’s past. It would break my heart if Sunbae turns out to be something other than the sweet, supportive, goofy guy we’ve come to know and love. I really need some genuine people in this show and in our character’s lives — people who have no ulterior motives except to be a friend.
I’m already grieving the loss of Doctor Mom, and not just because three of the characters have lost their mother/mother-figure. But also because it feels like there’s no way that Sung-hoon can come back from this. He shot the one person that he spent his life vowing to seek vengeance on her behalf, assuming that she was killed through Deuk-chun’s negligence to help them seek safety twelve years ago. He killed the one person who would be able to figure out a cure for him and Sung-joon, so that they could live as “real” humans without their cloned organs failing them. Even if he blames Sung-joon for it, Sung-hoon is the one who pulled the trigger. While I’ve been holding out hope that Sung-hoon would get his redemption arc despite all the other people he’s killed, I’m not sure if there’s a way he’d even want to redeem himself after killing Doctor Mom. Sung-hoon almost seems like he’s set on a suicide mission, desperate to take down as many people as possible who have hurt him before he ends his own pain forever.
Which is utterly heart-breaking to think about, especially since we know he wasn’t always like this. That glimmer of hope I saw in him as he made his way to the hospital to see Doctor Mom reminded me of the happy boy that chattered excitedly to his “hyung,” filled with wonder of the outside world. That joyful spirit has been utterly broken by Sanyoung and I definitely want them to pay in the worst way. But not by sacrificing Sung-hoon. Except, again, I’m not sure if there’s another way out.
Somehow, though, the vaccine must get made, if only to save the lives of Soo-yeon and the clones (because if Chairman Park gets his hands on it first, this show and I are through). I don’t know how the cure is possible without Doctor Mom’s know-how or Mi-rae’s body. But there’s just got to be a way, there’s just got to be! Maybe one of Sung-joon’s naps will finally reveal how Doctor Lee made the vaccine in the first place and Sung-joon can somehow recreate it and save Soo-yeon, himself, and his brother. And maybe Doctor Mom. Sniffle, sniffle. Allow me just a little while longer to blindly tell myself the bullet didn’t instantly kill her, and that she can still somehow be saved with the miraculously healing cure.
- Duel: Episode 1
- Premiere Watch: My Sassy Girl, Seven Day Queen, Best Hit, Duel
- The hunt for the clone is on in new Duel teaser
- Three-way face-off between clones and a desperate father in Duel
- The clone face-off begins in Duel posters
- Chilling sci-fi thriller Duel to cool the summer with killer clones
- Kim Jung-eun considers OCN’s evil-clone crime thriller Duel
- Jung Jae-young returns with OCN suspense thriller Duel