Duel: Episode 7
The mystery of what happened in 1993 begins to unfold as we learn what “the incident” was and who was involved. Deuk-chun is given a chance to save his daughter, but first he has to decide which is more important: his family, or his integrity. Meanwhile, Mi-rae starts to discover who Sung-joon really is, which is no small task.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Flash-forward intro: A man closes up his furniture store while chatting on the phone, promising that he’ll be home soon to celebrate his child’s birthday. As he starts to get into his car, a voice from the shadows says that he looks like he’s doing well. The man asks who’s there, and stepping out from the shadows is none other than Sung-hoon.
The man staggers back in shock, recognizing Sung-hoon as the doctor that had been killed years ago. With a smirk, Sung-hoon muses that he seems to get that reaction a lot — like someone has seen a ghost. He asks the man if he’s enjoying the kidney that he stole. As he raises a hammer, Sung-hoon tells him that he thinks it’s time for him to give it back. The man pleads for his life as Sung-hoon hits him in the head.
Flash back to 1993, where the original doctor, LEE YONG-SEOB, completes a surgery on Joo-shik. Nurse Ryu oversees Joo-shik’s return to his hospital room, where he’s not only kept under lock and key, but tied to the bed. In the room next to him is the man from the intro, PARK DONG-SEUL, also tied to his bed.
Dong-seul begs to talk to Doctor Lee and resists when Nurse Ryu tries to give him an injection. Dong-seul fervently believes that the injections are what gave Joo-shik the tumor that was just removed, but Nurse Ryu insists that Dong-seul needs the injection to survive and that he just has to wait a few days more before they can treat him.
Despite his screaming protests, he’s helpless in his bound state to resist, and Nurse Ryu gives him the injection. After she and the guards leave, making sure the door is locked, Byung-joon peers around a corner and hurries to the room, but he can’t open the door. Byung-joon seems genuinely stunned that the “clinical trial” he signed them up for hasn’t ended yet — they should have been released six months ago.
Joo-shik yells at him, telling him that they’re being treated as nothing more than lab rats in an experiment. Dong-seul pleads with Byung-joon to find a way to get them out, or else, they’ll die for sure.
Doctor Lee finds Byung-joon by their door and suspiciously asks why he’s in a restricted area. Byung-joon quickly covers up his so-called confusion about what floor he’s on by showing Doctor Lee information he has on a potential new egg donor.
On a pre-planned day of escape, Byung-joon drugs the guards and steals the key to Joo-shik and Dong-seul’s hospital room. He unties them from their beds, and they quietly sneak into the stairway to begin the second part of their plan, only to come face to face with Nurse Ryu.
She starts to run to warn someone that they’ve escaped, but Joo-shik grabs her while the other two guys hurry to find Doctor Lee. In self-defense, she pulls out a scalpel from her pocket and slashes Joo-shik’s ear. He lets go of her as he clutches his bloody ear, and she flees for safety.
Joo-shik catches up with Dong-seul and Byung-joon, who are patiently waiting for Doctor Lee to leave his office. As soon as he does, the three men attack the doctor and chloroform him, causing him to pass out.
Doctor Lee then wakes up in an operating room, but this time, he’s the one bound to the table. The three men stare down at him, and Dong-seul reminds the doctor that he never listened to their cries for help — Doctor Lee would just tell them to deal with it since what they were doing was going to save lives.
Dong-seul says that the doctor will now get a chance to save lives too — by having his organs removed to give to other people who need them. After injecting Doctor Lee with a dose of something that knocks him out, Byung-joon proceeds to surgically remove his organs and place them carefully in the transfer containers. Dong-seul tells him to be extra careful with one of the kidneys — he’s already claimed that one for himself.
Jump forward to the present day, and the Chaebol Tennis Lady is shown the container that’s been left in the abandoned lab for twenty-four years. The scientist opens it up to reveal a cryogenically frozen Doctor Lee.
At the clinic, Sung-joon’s eyes open. He sits up, bewildered as to where he is. Mi-rae, who’s been at his side, reassures him that he’s at a clinic and that he’s been unconscious for a whole day.
Sung-joon asks after Deuk-chun, and Mi-rae hesitates slightly before admitting that they should leave, since the GPS device in Deuk-chun’s hand means that they’re not safe at the clinic anymore.
In the empty field, Director Baek is on his knees with his hands tied behind his back. Deuk-chun calls Sung-hoon from Director Baek’s phone, and Sung-hoon answers. He seems amused when he realizes that Deuk-chun is the one who called him, and Deuk-chun demands to know where Soo-yeon is.
Sung-hoon simply tells him that she’s doing well. Deuk-chun orders him to tell him everything or else he’ll shoot Director Baek by the count of three. Deuk-chun starts to count, but Sung-hoon cuts him off with, “Three. Just kill him.”
If Deuk-chun wants to threaten him, Sung-hoon says, then he should do it with something that matters — like how important Soo-yeon is to Deuk-chun. Frustrated, Deuk-chun demands to know what Sung-hoon wants from him. But Sung-hoon says that if he really wants to meet Soo-yeon, then he should let Director Baek go.
Deuk-chun does, and Director Baek injects him with something that will knock him out, promising that the next time he wakes up, he’ll see Soo-yeon.
True to Director Baek’s word, Deuk-chun wakes up to see Soo-yeon’s smiling face. But he’s tied to a chair, watching from the two-way mirror in Sung-hoon’s lair as she laughs while watching TV from her bed. Deuk-chun desperately tries to tell Soo-yeon that he’s there, but the room is soundproof.
Sung-hoon enters the medical room and turns on the speaker so that Deuk-chun can now hear their conversation. Soo-yeon happily greets Sung-hoon while the helpless Deuk-chun looks on. Sung-hoon gives her a present — the hairpin. Soo-yeon starts to leave her bed, delighted because this must mean that her father is here.
But Sung-hoon tells her that her father was here while she slept, but then he had to leave. She sadly asks when he’ll be back, and Sung-hoon sends a pointed look at the mirror separating Deuk-chun from them. With a smile, he says that Soo-yeon should ask her father to help him with something, then her father can see her tomorrow.
Of course Soo-yeon says that her father should help him, and Sung-hoon puts the hair pin on her beanie — just like Deuk-chun did when he first gave it to her. He then tells Soo-yeon that she should see how pretty she is in the mirror, and they walk toward the two-way mirror where Soo-yeon admires the hairpin, unaware that her father is just on the other side, watching her.
Sung-hoon smiles as Deuk-chun sobs and calls Sung-hoon a bastard. Then the curtains close over the window, cutting off Deuk-chun’s last glimpse of her. Deuk-chun tries beating his head against the window, but it only results in a wounded head and him toppling over in his chair.
Director Baek arrives to put him upright again, and Sung-hoon follows soon after, asking what he thinks of the offer. Deuk-chun says he’ll do anything Sung-hoon asks, as long as he lets Soo-yeon go. Sung-hoon: “Kill someone for me.”
Mi-rae and Sung-joon have found a new safe house by crashing at Sunbae’s place, and while Sung-joon rests, Mi-rae continues to pore over the documents from her mother. She tries to piece together all the information she has: Joo-shik’s original death was fabricated, his medical records were forged, and he showed extreme hatred for her mother, who he said was the nurse that took care of them. Could that mean an illegal experiment on humans?
Sunbae wonders how Sung-joon could look exactly like the guy in Mi-rae’s photo. He lists off all the possibilities: he’s the guy’s son, or they’re doppelgängers, or it’s reincarnation, or a clone, or maybe the original guy is immortal. Sunbae stops and laughs at all his ridiculous suggestions, but it gets Mi-rae thinking.
She pulls out her computer to write down her theories based on what she knows so far:
1. Sung-joon is a clone of the man in the photo.
2. The other man (Sung-hoon) is also a clone of the man in the photo.
3. Both are suffering from abnormal aging of their organs due to being clones.
4. Joo-shik killed the man from the photo and stole his organs, which were eventually transplanted into others.
5. The other man (Sung-hoon) is looking for the list of donors to transplant the organs into himself.
She finds it odd that, even if Sung-hoon could be guaranteed that his body won’t reject the organs (since it would be a perfect DNA match), he would go through the effort to find all of them — isn’t it impossible to have a transplant of five organs that have already been transplanted in five different people?
As Sung-joon washes his face, he gets a dizzying flashback as he looks in the mirror and sees Doctor Lee’s reflection instead of his own. He remembers Nurse Ryu telling Doctor Lee that patient Kim Hye-jin was going into shock. Hmmm, that’s the same name of the woman who was listed as an egg donor.
Deuk-chun wakes up in Mi-rae’s car, still in the abandoned field. He checks his phone to find twenty-three missed calls, and Sung-joon is still impatiently trying to reach him. Once on the phone, he reassures Sung-joon that he’s okay and that he’ll meet up with him soon. But he also looks at the envelope filled with belongings, remembering Sung-hoon’s request that he kill someone.
Flashback to Deuk-chun tied to the chair, asking who he needs to kill. Sung-hoon marvels that Deuk-chun agreed to help him so quickly. But the more important question for Sung-hoon was whether Deuk-chun could really kill anyone he asked him to… even if that person is Sung-joon.
But Deuk-chun just wants to know why he’s caught up in this mess. He has nothing to do with them, so why are they torturing him like this? Sung-hoon cryptically asks him if really thinks that this has nothing to do with him, and then states that he’ll eventually tell Deuk-chun who to kill. First, Sung-hoon wants to figure out what will be more fun.
As he sits in Mi-rae’s car back in the present, Deuk-chun thinks about his daughter. He studies the phone Sung-hoon left for him so that he could contact him once he decided who he should kill.
At the prosecutor’s office, Jo-hye orders her team to update them on their investigations. They still haven’t tracked down Sung-joon and Deuk-chun, although they’re currently searching through a list of cars that were seen in the area of the dogfighting arena. They’ve also discovered eight other prisoners that were declared dead when Byung-joon was the medical director at the prison, six of whom were listed as having died of a heart attack just like Joo-shik.
Hyung-shik offers a single-sheet of paper with the list of names, whereas Boon-suk has an entire folder with multi-page profiles ready. Hahaha, Boon-suk practically gloats when Jo-hye takes his folder instead of Hyung-shik’s list. As she flips through the prisoner profiles, she stops on Dong-seul’s, noting that he served in the army with Byung-joon before they met in prison.
She tells her team that there’s a high probability that Dong-seul will be the next target and to look into him first. They need to find him before anyone else does.
Deuk-chun meets up with Mi-rae and Sung-joon at Sunbae’s apartment, which is actually a sublet from a friend. Even if the police discover Sunbae’s connection, there’s no paperwork to trace him back to this place where the police could find the fugitives. Smart.
Deuk-chun tells Sung-joon that he lost Director Baek because he was injected with the same thing that knocked Sung-joon out. Sung-joon isn’t exactly buying that explanation, and finds it even more suspicious when Deuk-chun needs to use the restroom as soon as the phone in his pocket starts to buzz.
Jo-hye’s team have found Dong-seul, which is surprisingly fast, but it’s only because yesterday he filed for protective custody because he believes that someone is trying to kill him. He’s currently in the hospital getting treatment for the wound on his head (from the flash-forward intro scene), and Boon-suk isn’t sure the police custody will last for very long, since technically, Dong-seul died years ago. Not to mention that Dong-seul isn’t very forthcoming with the details on his attacker.
To no one’s surprise, Sung-hoon texts Deuk-chun a photo of Dong-seul, telling him that’s the man he has to kill. Sung-hoon also adds that he might need some help from his fellow cops, since Dong-seul is with the police right now.
Deuk-chun hides the phone in his pocket as he exits the bathroom. Sung-joon scrutinizes him, pointing out that it sounds like he got a message. Deuk-chun ignores it, but Sung-joon grabs the phone from his pocket and reads the messages. The new message is a warning from Sung-hoon to not keep Soo-yeon waiting too long.
Sung-joon knows this means that Deuk-chun met with Sung-hoon yesterday. Deuk-chun tells him that it’s none of his business, but Sung-joon retorts that it is his business, thanks to his memories. He recognizes the man in the photo as Dong-seul, who was with Byung-joon and Joo-shik. Sung-joon asks if Deuk-chun is really going to kill Dong-seul, and Deuk-chun gruffly answers that he is.
Sung-joon pleads with Deuk-chun to rethink his decision, saying that Sung-hoon is just playing with him by using Soo-yeon to get to him. Deuk-chun asks if Sung-joon has any better ideas how to get Soo-yeon back. He doesn’t, but he knows that committing murder isn’t the answer — how can a detective kill someone?
Deuk-chun starts pushing back at Sung-joon, pointing out that he’d be willing to do anything to get Soo-yeon back. He asks if Sung-joon thinks that he came here because he missed him, coldly adding he came back to them because he thought he might have to kill Sung-joon.
“I could kill you. I could kill anyone. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do at this point — that’s the type of person I am. So stay out of my business and go your own way,” Deuk-chun says. Stunned into silence, Sung-joon watches as Deuk-chun leaves the apartment.
Director Baek returns to Sung-hoon’s lair, and Sung-hoon asks if he’s making any progress on the medicine. Director Baek replies that the “Boss” is ready, but first they have to get Dong-seul, so now it’s just a waiting game. Director Baek thinks it would be better to look for the “other four” at the same time, so they could examine all of them at once and get the cure even earlier.
Sung-hoon just laughs as he says that he’s not about to reveal the list of organ transplant recipients to Director Baek. When Director Baek reminds him that they’re running out of time, Sung-hoon smiles as he tells him that at the rate things are going, he has the feeling he’ll live longer than Director Baek will.
Mi-rae continues to read through her mother’s documents, but she stops when she sees the name “Park Dong-seul.” She looks through his medical chart, which states that he’s a suitable match for kidney transplant.
Meanwhile, Jo-hye meets with Dong-seul face to face. She’s amused that someone who supposedly has been dead for twenty-five years is now asking for help, and wonders how she can believe that his desperation is real and not merely an act.
She shows him the photos of Joo-shik and Byung-joon’s bodies, which only causes Dong-seul to worry even more. He stutters that “that man” must have killed them and that he’s not safe here. Jo-hye wants to know what happened back then and why someone is after him, but she adds that if Dong-seul doesn’t want to talk, then he’s free to go.
Dong-seul panics, reminding her that if leaves now, he’ll be killed. Jo-hye: “I know. If you leave here like this, you’ll die.” Furthermore, she adds that if only Dong-seul had shown her some respect and told her what she wanted to know, then maybe she could have helped him. Realizing that he’s trapped with no choice, Dong-seul says that he only escaped to save himself, whispering that “that place” was a living nightmare.
Deuk-chun contacts Hyung-shik to find out where Dong-seul is, and Hyung-shik assumes that this must mean that Dong-seul is Sung-hoon’s next target. Once Deuk-chun confirms his theory, Hyung-shik warns him that Jo-hye is pulling out all the stops and that they’ll be sure to catch the bastard who kidnapped Soo-yoon. But, Hyung-shik says that if Deuk-chun tries to get involved, he’ll surely be arrested by Jo-hye.
Deuk-chun still wants to know what safe house they’ll be taking Dong-seul to, since he has to find out something. He asks Hyung-shik not to ask any questions. Hyung-shik is more worried about Deuk-chun getting caught, but promises to keep him updated once he knows anything. Noooooo, Hyung-shik! Don’t do it! You don’t know why he really wants that info!
Back at Sunbae’s place, Mi-rae finds Sung-joon hunched over and clutching his chest. She quickly gives him some medication, urging him to rest. But Sung-joon just laughs to himself, saying that he’s an idiot who doesn’t know his own name. Plus, he adds that his body is falling apart, and he keeps getting meaningless memories.
He goes on to say that he can’t just sit here doing nothing, though, even if he knows nothing. He asks to help Mi-rae look through her mother’s documents, and she shows him Dong-seul’s file. Sung-joon wonders if Dong-seul’s compatibility to receive a donor kidney has anything to do with the list that Sung-hoon was looking for, baffled as to why Sung-hoon would be so desperate to find these men.
Jo-hye tells her team to forget about sending Dong-seul to a safe house. Instead, she’ll send him back to his own home. With a smile, Jo-hye says that she’s finally found bait to catch Deuk-chun and Sung-joon, and she doesn’t want to waste it. Ooooooh, that’s sneaky-smart.
As Sung-joon flips through the medical documents, he stops when he sees “Kim Hye-jin,” the name from his memory. They find a phone number scribbled on the file and try calling it, which leads them to a psychiatric hospital. Mi-rae asks about Kim Hye-jin and visiting hours, but is shocked when the receptionist asks if this is Nurse Ryu. The receptionist remarks that it’s been a long time since Nurse Ryu’s last visit.
Hyung-shik tells Deuk-chun the address to Dong-seul’s house, warning him that the place is surrounded by cops and that he’ll be caught for sure. Deuk-chun asks if Dong-seul has any family, and Hyun-shik replies that Dong-seul has a wife and daughter.
Deuk-chun calls Chief Park to ask for a favor, and though we don’t hear what he asks, Chief Park replies incredulously: “What? You want me to kidnap his [Dong-seul’s] kid?” Presumably, that’s exactly what happens, since Dong-seul takes a call from his daughter’s phone… only to realize that it’s not his daughter on the other line.
Meanwhile, Jo-hye takes over the night watch as she keeps an eye on Dong-seul’s house, waiting for Deuk-chun and Sung-joon to appear. She thinks over what Dong-seul told her about the illegal experiments twenty-four years ago, and how the guy he thought they killed now suddenly showed up again. She handed him a photo of Sung-joon, taken from when he was originally arrested for kidnapping. But Dong-seul recognized the man in the photo as Doctor Lee.
But that’s when Jo-hye gets a call from her team, letting her know that Dong-seul has disappeared. Whoops.
Dong-seul is tied up in a junkyard, and he pleads with Deuk-chun to tell him where his daughter is. He says that he’s kept his end of the bargain and begs for his daughter to be freed. In response, Deuk-chun knocks Dong-seul out with the butt of his gun and then drags his unconscious body to Mi-rae’s car.
While I believe Deuk-chun capable of many things if it means getting his daughter back (after all, he masterminded a prison break!), I don’t think he could kill a man who just wants to know that his daughter is safe and alive. That’s too close to mirroring his own desperation for Soo-yeon, and we’ve seen that he’s too softhearted to punish criminals if it means that the people who depend on them will be abandoned and helpless. Besides, why would he kill someone when he finally has leverage that could potentially match the leverage Sung-hoon has against him?
Although, I don’t think that Deuk-chun knows about the organ transplants or the fact that Dong-seul has a kidney that Sung-hoon is desperate to get his hands on. Mi-rae figured that out while he was gone, and I don’t recall anyone confessing the details of what happened back then to him. But he probably knows that Dong-seul means something. I don’t care if I’m going into mental acrobatics to convince myself he won’t kill Dong-seul — maybe I just don’t want my heroes to be killers or play into Sung-hoon’s twisted hands.
Just like Mi-rae, I’m baffled by what problem will be solved from finding all five organs — or what good it would do to put them in Sung-hoon’s body. His organs may be deteriorating due to issues in cloning, but the organs that are in the other five men are also technically just as old — and maybe in no better shape thanks to twenty-four years of being in someone else’s body.
But there seems to be something important about those organs that would solve Sung-hoon’s organ failure problem and save his life. Who knows, maybe Doctor Lee is secretly immortal after all! Sure, I’m laughing at Sunbae’s “reincarnation” and “being reborn like a phoenix” theories, but honestly the last time I saw someone this desperate to gather old internal organs, there was a mummy involved. Just sayin’.
Not that I can blame Sung-hoon for his evil madness. He’s trying to save his life in the only way he knows how, and based on the minimal clues so far, it does seem like Sanyoung has the capability of curing him. At least, I’m assuming that’s who the Big Boss is working for (since I’m 100% convinced Chaebol Tennis Lady is a chaebol thanks to Sanyoung), and from whom Director Baek can get Sung-hoon the medication needed to help cure him. But that would only be if they have the whole list — which means that Sanyoung must want those organs back as much as Sung-hoon. Maybe Doctor Lee’s organs hold a secret to cloning we’ve yet to discover? Unless Sanyoung wants the list to protect the people on them, which could be possible, but then why would Director Baek be so willing to go along with all this murder and mayhem?
I’m also curious about Kim Hye-jin. Since she was listed as an egg donor, I’m now wondering if she’s Sung-hoon’s “mother” — or at least the incubation that helped bring him to fruition. He has memories of being a child that are separate from the flashback memories of Doctor Lee, which implies that Sung-hoon was somehow “born.”
I’m still unsure about Sung-joon, though. He could just as well be created much after the fact, since the flashbacks in the earlier episodes made me think he was in the medical basement where Soo-yeon now resides. Or maybe that was just for Sung-hoon to implant him with the GPS. Does that mean Sung-joon was also born the same way as Sung-hoon? Is Kim Hye-jin his “mother?” Also, when was Mi-rae born? She had to have been born prior to “the incident,” or else Sung-joon wouldn’t “remember” seeing the pregnant Nurse Ryu, since presumably his memories would have stopped after the organs were removed and Doctor Lee was sealed in his tank.
Ugh. So many questions. You’d think I’d have fewer ones as each episode goes by and we learn more, but with every question that’s answered, a dozen more pop up. At least Mi-rae and I are on the same page, and even Jo-hye is now aware of the secret research that was going on. I just wonder when she’s going to turn her attention to that instead of Deuk-chun and Sung-joon. Then again, it’s hard to have an element of danger when your heroes have the freedom to waltz into the police station and ask for help. I’m not sure if Jo-hye will ever fully become an ally to our little fugitive team, but I hope that she eventually realizes that there’s something much bigger here than a dirty cop gone rogue.
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- The clone face-off begins in Duel posters
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