Duel: Episode 13
It’s never easy realizing that the truth you’ve always believed about your family is completely wrong, especially if that “truth” existed to cover-up a potentially dangerous reality. As surprising discoveries are made about various characters’ biological parentage, everyone comes one step closer to figuring out where Doctor Lee’s original vaccination has disappeared to.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Sung-hoon points his gun at Chairman Park, demanding to know why the chairman created him. Even though Sung-hoon knows a cloned embryo was needed for the vaccine, he doesn’t understand why Chairman Park would clone a human and raise him for over twenty years. Angry, Sung-hoon asks Chairman Park why he would put him through so much torture.
Chairman Park simply says that he needed Sung-hoon. It started out as idle curiosity when Chairman Park asked Doctor Lee if, since they could clone an embryo, they could clone a full human. Doctor Lee told the chairman it wasn’t worth it, since clones would die early due to the aging organs, and Doctor Lee thought it was cruel to create a clone only to watch it die.
But Chairman Park realized that if they could clone someone with the same rare disease that he has, then his lab would be able to more effectively research cures. After all, the clone would be dying anyway, so it seemed perfectly justifiable in Chairman Park’s eyes.
Chairman Park is convinced that Sung-hoon would have done the same if he’d been in the chairman’s shoes. The chairman points out that Sung-hoon has killed others in an effort to save his own life. Which is true, but… it’s not exactly the same, since Sung-hoon didn’t purposefully create Byung-joon, Joo-shik, Dong-seul, or anyone else, in order to kill them later.
That might not have been the wisest argument to make, as Sung-hoon smoothly switches from his gun to a knife, which he now presses against Chairman Park’s throat. Sung-hoon angrily spits out that he should make sure Chairman Park suffers before he dies.
Sung-hoon warns the chairman that he’ll repeatedly stab Chairman Park just deep enough to cause pain, but not enough to kill him. He wants Chairman Park to experience the constant pain that he has endured.
Chairman Park manages to block Sung-hoon, desperately warning Sung-hoon that he’s making the wrong choice. The chairman shows a video call from Big Boss, revealing that Doctor Mom (unaware she’s being filmed) is standing in the middle of Sung-hoon’s lair. Sung-hoon’s eyes grow wide with shock as he realizes Doctor Mom is still alive.
Meanwhile, at the nearly deserted police station, Deuk-chun recalls his meeting with Nurse Ryu’s old friend. He’s not Mi-rae’s father, and the man reveals that after their other friend died, the pregnant Nurse Ryu had a miscarriage due to shock. Mi-rae is, therefore, not Nurse Ryu’s biological daughter.
Chairman Park tells Big Boss (who’s secretly filming Doctor Mom) that if Big Boss doesn’t get a call from him in five minutes, then Big Boss should kill Doctor Mom. Chairman Park taunts Sung-hoon, telling the younger man to go ahead and stab him — if Chairman Park dies, then Doctor Mom will die, too.
The chairman demands to know where Doctor Lee hid the real vaccine. But that just clues Sung-hoon into the fact that Chairman Park hasn’t been fully cured. Sung-hoon tells Chairman Park that it will be more enjoyable to watch the chairman slowly die from the disease, so Sung-hoon will spare his life for now.
The five minutes are nearly up, and with literally a few seconds to spare, Sung-hoon steps back as he orders Chairman Park to call Big Boss. Doctor Mom is still alive. Whew.
As Sung-hoon turns to leave, Chairman Park asks him why he’s so angry at the chairman. After all, it was Doctor Mom who created the clones in the first place. The chairman tells Sung-hoon that everything Sung-hoon knows about Doctor Mom is a lie, including the name she used back then.
Chairman Park continues to twist the metaphorical knife as he informs Sung-hoon that Doctor Mom has been working as the head of Sanyoung’s research lab, so she’s had plenty of opportunity to save Sung-hoon if she wanted to. Sung-hoon is stunned when the chairman smugly says that Doctor Mom was the one who authorized all the experiments that were done to Sung-hoon.
Deuk-chun watches over his sleeping daughter as he remembers an earlier conversation he had with Doctor Mom, who reveals her side of the story. After she was hit by the car, Sung-hoon was taken back to the lab, and Doctor Mom was informed that Sung-hoon had died there. She seems genuinely sad to realize that Sung-hoon has spent so long locked up in the lab, suffering and in pain due to all the experiments.
She blames herself for the original cloning experiment twenty-four years ago, even though she claims she was deceived by Chairman Park so there’s some blame to go around. Doctor Mom had wanted to continue her husband’s work after Doctor Lee died.
Doctor Mom is surprised to learn that Doctor Lee was able to fully develop the vaccine before he died, though. Doctor Lee never mentioned it to her, and Deuk-chun realizes that this means she doesn’t know where it could be.
Gulping from a bottle of whiskey, Sung-hoon tries to wash away the the idea that the only person he’s ever considered to be his mother also allowed him to go through all those painful experiments. Chairman Park’s voice echoes in Sung-hoon’s mind, pointing out that Doctor Mom never treated Sung-hoon like her own child.
At the hospital, Big Boss offers to torture Sung-hoon so Chairman Park can figure out what happened to the vaccine. But Chairman Park believes that Sung-hoon would be able to resist any physical torture (thanks to Sung-hoon’s years as a lab rat), so instead, they have to use psychological torture.
Chairman Park smiles to himself as he explains that he’s just feeding all the doubts Sung-hoon has had over the years, and soon he’ll convince Sung-hoon that Chairman Park is the only person Sung-hoon can trust.
At Sunbae’s safe house, Mi-rae sadly tells Sung-joon that finding her mother’s old documents and the photo of Doctor Lee gave her a little bit of hope that she might be able to finally find her father. Instead, Mi-rae wishes she had left it all alone, since she’s now discovered that Nurse Ryu wasn’t her biological mother.
Mi-rae confesses that it feels like she just discovered she’s an orphan, having lost her mother. Sung-hoon commiserates, revealing that he and Sung-hoon also had someone who acted like their mother, but who they couldn’t call “Mom.”
Flashback to tiny Sung-joon, sadly sitting alone in the secret hospital room. Doctor Mom tells him that Sung-hoon will be back soon after his check-up. Then she reveals a gift of a sketchpad and crayons. Tiny Sung-joon is delighted, and they draw each other’s portraits as they wait for Sung-hoon to return.
At that time, Doctor Mom went under the name Jin Soo-jin, so all the effort adult Sung-joon went through to find her was fruitless. Sung-joon admits that he still hoped he’d find her one day, but Sung-hoon told him during their most recent tussle that Doctor Mom had died.
Sung-joon reflects on the fact that growing up in the lab should have been a miserable experience, yet somehow, Doctor Mom and tiny Sung-hoon’s expressions of love made it one of the happiest memories of his life. Mi-rae accepts Sung-joon’s efforts to make her feel better, admitting that even if Nurse Ryu wasn’t her birth mother, she never doubted Nurse Ryu’s love for her.
At the prosecutor’s office, Jo-hye reveals to her team that Sung-hoon and Sung-joon are clones. They’re appropriately shocked by this, but Jo-hye explains how all the cases they’ve worked on lately are related to the cloning experiment from twenty-four years ago. Instead of focusing on Soo-yeon’s kidnapping, they’ll now be investigating at Sanyoung’s illegal experimentation and corruption.
Boon-suk points out that it won’t be easy going after Chairman Park since Sanyoung is one of the most influential pharmaceutical companies in the country. The prosecutors won’t be able to get the information they need and they’ll likely be blocked every step of the way. But Jo-hye says they’ll be going undercover, which sounds dangerous and exciting.
Sung-joon and Mi-rae pick up some lunch (Subway, of course) and head to the hospital to visit Soo-yeon. As they enter the hospital room, they see Doctor Mom.
Doctor Mom gasps in surprise at seeing Sung-joon standing before her, and Sung-joon is stunned to realize that Doctor Mom is still alive. Doctor Mom tearfully says that he’s grown so much, and Mi-rae discretely steps into the hallway to give them some alone time.
Meanwhile, Jo-hye has a secret meeting with Ahn Jeong-dong, the father of the little girl who was kidnapped in the first episode. Jeong-dong thinks that Jo-hye is there to get money from him, but instead, she muses that it’s interesting that there was no evidence of Jeong-dong at the mistress’s apartment — not one fingerprint or strand of hair.
Jo-hye deduces that the mistress wasn’t actually his mistress — instead, the woman was part of an illegal Sanyoung experiment that Jeong-dong had invested in.
Jeong-dong explains that after Chairman Park collapsed and his son took over the company, Jeong-dong was at a secret party where he found out that Sanyoung could create clones. Jeong-dong has a disorder where he can’t have children — his daughter Hye-joo was only born thanks to artificial insemination, and even then, she was frail and constantly in and out of the hospital.
He thought that if he could clone Hye-joo, then maybe… Jeong-dong leaves that thought unfinished, but Jo-hye looks absolutely disgusted at the thought that Jeong-dong is more concerned about creating a healthy child that had his DNA than about the actual welfare of his child who was already born.
The mistress who died was a surrogate mother carrying a clone of Hye-joo, but tests revealed that the clone was deformed, which is why Jeong-dong ordered it to be aborted. Jeong-dong is bitter that Sanyoung lied to him that they could manipulate the genes to create a disease-free Hye-joo, but Jo-hye is still horrified that he thought he could fix his daughter by simply creating a new one.
At the hospital, Sung-joon and Doctor Mom catch up. She thought he had died, but Sung-joon explains that days after Doctor Mom left him with her trusted friend, a fire broke out at the inn they were staying at, and he was the only survivor.
Tears in her eyes, Doctor Mom apologizes for the hard life Sung-joon has had, but Sung-joon reassures her that he’s no longer scared. Sung-joon asks if she’s seen Sung-hoon yet, since he knows that Sung-hoon believes she’s dead.
Doctor Mom says that she just can’t meet him yet, although she adds that she will, soon. After she finishes her work. Oooooh, and we see that Doctor Mom apparently found out about Sung-hoon’s lair thanks to Jo-hye. Doctor Mom also passed along a message to the chairman that Chairman Park should meet with Jo-hye if he doesn’t want Sung-hoon to be arrested as a serial killer.
Jo-hye visits with Chairman Park in his hospital room, where he grumps that her threats are useless. Jo-hye points out that while she could only access the lobby of the hospital before, she’s now in his private room — so it seems like her threats were pretty effective.
Chairman Park laughs, admitting that her spunk is the main reason he wanted to see her, so he’ll at least listen to why she wanted to meet with him. Jo-hye reveals that she knows the Chief Prosecutor works for Chairman Park, and that “the cow is getting too old to give milk.”
Chairman Park asks why he should get rid of a perfectly loyal “cow” for a “younger cow” (that is, Jo-hye), and Jo-hye says that she knows all about Doctor Lee’s experiments, Doctor Mom’s cloning, Sung-hoon and Sung-joon, and the current illegal cloning.
The chairman’s eyes grow wide at that last reason, and Jo-hye realizes Chairman Park is unaware about the current-day cloning. It’s enough to convince Chairman Park to agree to consider making her his new “cow,” as he demands Jo-hye tell him everything she knows.
Doctor Mom gets a call that there’s an emergency she needs to attend to. As she leaves, she tells Sung-joon and Mi-rae that she’ll return later, and that she’ll be happy to tell Mi-rae more about Nurse Ryu. She also promises that Soo-yeon will be well taken care of, especially because her research team are working on finding a cure.
Jo-hye returns to her office to find Deuk-chun waiting for her. He wants to know why Jo-hye had him reinstated as a detective, as well as the connection between her, the Chief Prosecutor, and Sanyoung. Considering Doctor Mom knows the name of the prosecutor who interfered at the station twelve years ago because Jo-hye told her, Deuk-chun is suspicious that Jo-hye is somehow connected to Sanyoung. Jo-hye admits that she’s going undercover by winning over Chairman Park.
Deuk-chun still wants to know why she had him reinstated, and Jo-hye reminds Deuk-chun that she’s always done anything she could to get ahead, and that she had her eyes on becoming the next Chief Prosecutor. But the Sanyoung connection made her realize that success and power aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Jo-hye had Deuk-chun reinstated because he’s the only person she could trust to help her.
Deuk-chun protests that she shouldn’t trust him because he’ll do whatever it takes to destroy Sanyoung, and he won’t go along with any of her games. As he leaves, Deuk-chun warns Jo-hye not to get in his way.
Doctor Mom’s “emergency call” was apparently an order to give Chairman Park a check-up. He frets that the cure isn’t ready yet, and she calmly tells him that her team is working on it, but removing the fatal side effects will take some time. Chairman Park blames her for putting him in this condition (y’know, by creating a vaccine that saves his life only to give him potentially cancerous side effects).
Chairman Park asks if Doctor Mom is going to go running to Jo-hye and tattle, but Doctor Mom coldly tells him that Chairman Park must be crazy if he thinks she’ll trust a prosecutor. Doctor Mom warns him that Jo-hye is planning to side with him just to get information — Doctor Mom only played along with Jo-hye to find out where Sung-hoon was.
Seo-jin arrives just as Doctor Mom leaves, and Seo-jin greets her father cheerfully, asking what he wants for lunch. Worried because Doctor Mom was just there, Seo-jin cautiously asks about his health. Chairman Park bluffs that he just wanted to know how the research was going, reassuring Seo-jin that the cure will be found before he dies.
At the other hospital, an now-awake Soo-yeon is ready to dig into the lunch Mi-rae made for her. Soo-yeon happily tells her father and Sung-joon how delicious the food is, and she laughs, which causes Sung-joon to get a Doctor-Lee-memory of another happily smiling young child in a hospital.
Deuk-chun notes Sung-joon’s strange reaction, but Sung-joon reassures Deuk-chun that he’s fine. It’s a good thing, too, since Deuk-chun declares Sung-joon to be Soo-yeon’s guardian when Deuk-chun isn’t around. Aw. Soo-yeon is sad when she realizes her father has to leave to go back to work, but she tells him that she’ll patiently wait, since it’s more important that he catch bad guys. Double aw.
Seo-jin puzzles over the fact that Sung-hoon told her he was going to find Chairman Park to get his revenge, but since her father is still alive, she concludes that something must have happened to Sung-hoon. She also realizes that her father never asked about Sung-hoon, whom he should have been expecting Seo-jin to bring to him like she’d promised.
Worried, she calls Sung-hoon, but he’s still reeling from his earlier paranoid bender and doesn’t answer. Chairman Park’s statements about Doctor Mom being the one who approved all the experiments on the clones fill Sung-hoon’s mind. In a rage, Sung-hoon tosses aside the syringe he was getting ready to inject into his hand.
At the police station, Chief Park reports that he’s found someone who used to work with Doctor Lee before he disappeared to work on the illegal experiments. The man’s name is Oh Seok-jin, and he used to be Doctor Lee’s assistant, but now is a professor.
Professor Oh tells Deuk-chun that he always considered Doctor Lee to be a kind and intelligent man who could have become something great if he hadn’t disappeared. Deuk-chun asks if there seemed anything strange around the time Doctor Lee disappeared, and Professor Oh says that Doctor Lee changed after his young daughter got lymphoma.
According to Professor Oh, Doctor Lee gave everything up for his daughter and cut himself off from the world before eventually resigning. Professor Oh doesn’t know what Doctor Lee was doing after his resignation, but if Doctor Lee was performing experiments, Professor Oh assumes Doctor Lee would have been looking for a cure for his daughter.
Seo-jin is still frustrated that she can’t reach Sung-hoon, especially since this means her brother will likely inherit Sanyoung (since per Chairman Park’s ultimatum in the last episode, the person who brings him Sung-hoon gets the company). Trying another tactic, Seo-jin calls someone else.
At the hospital, Sung-joon gently cleans Soo-yeon’s arms. She’s impressed that he’s so good at it, and Sung-joon casually says he’s done it a lot. Then he stops to wonder when that could have been, and a flashback of Doctor Lee shows him gently cleaning the hands of the young child from the earlier flashback — now presumably Doctor Lee’s daughter.
Sunbae arrives at the hospital room, cheerful as always as he hands out popsicles. Another Doctor-Lee-memory strikes Sung-joon as Sunbae says he’s giving the sweet popsicle to Soo-yeon to help the taste of the bitter medicine — which is exactly what Doctor Lee told his daughter, Joo-hee.
When Sung-joon calls, Deuk-chun is trying to make sense of the fact that Doctor Lee only started his research into finding a cure after his daughter supposedly died. Sung-joon tells Deuk-chun about his recent memories of Joo-hee.
Deuk-chun pulls the list of Doctor Lee’s family and realizes that, yep, Joo-hee is Doctor Lee’s daughter. She would have been around two years old if she died in 1991, which doesn’t add up to the age of the five-year-old from Sung-joon’s memories.
We flashback to the conversation with Nurse Ryu’s friend, who informs the gang that two months after Nurse Ryu’s miscarriage, she decided to adopt a girl and name her Mi-rae, the same name Nurse Ryu had planned to give her own daughter. That, plus the fact that Doctor Lee was obsessed with saving his daughter and that he made sure Nurse Ryu got the vaccination, makes Deuk-chun wonder what’s really going on.
Doctor Mom and Mi-rae enjoy a pleasant walk after having dinner together. As they make plans to meet up again, Deuk-chun calls Doctor Mom. Deuk-chun asks Doctor Mom if she saw her daughter’s body after Joo-hee died. Doctor Mom admits that she didn’t since she was in America at the time and only arrived after her daughter had been interred.
Deuk-chun tells Doctor Mom that he thinks he’s found Joo-hee and that she’s still alive. Doctor Mom is standing the middle of the street as she talks to Deuk-chun, and Mi-rae notices a motorcycle revving its engine. Just as Deuk-chun tells Doctor Mom that he believes Mi-rae is actually Doctor Mom’s biological daughter, Mi-rae shoves Doctor Mom out of the street.
Mi-rae takes the full impact of the oncoming motorcycle and is knocked to the ground. As the motorcycle speeds away, Doctor Mom frantically tries to rouse the bloody and unconscious Mi-rae.
So Mi-rae really is Doctor Lee’s daughter! I guess I wasn’t totally off-base when I idly speculated that Mi-rae could have received the injection, since she’s the only one I could think of that Nurse Ryu would give it to. I’m not used to Deuk-chun being the first to figure things out, but it at least proves that he became a head detective for a reason (and once again makes me happy that none of our characters are particularly obtuse).
But if Mi-rae is Doctor Lee and Doctor Mom’s biological daughter, and if Mi-rae had lymphoma, even at a young age, you’d think she’d have some sort of memory of it. Especially of being in the hospital with Doctor Lee. I’m trying to remember if she’s had any odd reaction to seeing Sung-joon, since you’d think the clones would trigger some sort of vague memory of seeing Doctor Lee’s — her father’s — face when she was a child. I can understand her not recognizing Doctor Mom since it sounds like Doctor Mom was mostly overseas at the time, but not recognizing Doctor Lee’s face after having so many chances to see again it just seems strange. Then again, maybe that mystery will be cleared up soon, since this show seems to anticipate all my nitpicky complaints.
If so, my other nitpick is the lack of action in this episode. As satisfying as it is to get more answers about how everyone is connected and what (presumably) happened with the Original Golden Syringe, I haven’t forgotten that this is supposed to be a “chase thriller,” and there’s been sadly very little action lately. Well, except for the motorcycle accident at the very end, which was clearly not an accident. The motorcycle driver was definitely aiming at Doctor Mom, which makes me wonder who could want Doctor Mom dead. Chairman Park or Seo-jin don’t make much sense, since they need her to find the cure. Sung-hoon is the most obvious choice, but even if he believes Doctor Mom betrayed him, she’s still the woman that he’s gone through all this revenge for in the first place. You’d think he’d at least want some answers from her before he tried to attack her.
I do appreciate the parallel of Mi-rae shoving Doctor Mom out of the way of an oncoming vehicle, much the way Doctor Mom shoved tiny Sung-hoon out of the way (which makes me think the motorcyclist ought to be one of Chairman Park’s goons — maybe somehow related to the prosecutor’s office — just to continue the parallel, even if I can’t figure out why yet). There’s been a constant refrain of parents or parent-figures doing all they can to save their children (and sometimes — but not always — succeeding), so to have a child save her parent, even without knowing the truth about that parentage, is nicely poetic. Besides, we can’t have Doctor Mom die right now since she’s the only one who can figure out the original vaccine to save the clones. Unless, of course, Sung-joon continues to magically get enough of Doctor Lee’s memories to eventually figure out how the cure was originally created.
Finally, I was a little shocked — but not altogether surprised — to hear that Sanyoung is still attempting cloning. I feel like this points to Seo-jin’s brother’s mishandling of Sanyoung, since he seems more interested in making money than actually delivering on its products (ugh, how gross I feel in calling a clone of a child a “product”). This makes me wonder if there are more clones out there, and not just in the “army of Yang Se-jongs” way. (Which, by the way, I continue to quietly hope for just because I still need that many Yang Se-jongs in my life.)
I’m still horrified, though, that Jeong-dong seemed to have no qualms about deciding he could replace his daughter with a clone. Was he expecting to just keep an extra daughter in a lab somewhere for when the real daughter’s illness finally got the better of her, and then surprise his wife on Christmas morning with a gift-wrapped, fully formed daughter? How would you explain that? “Hi honey, I know you’re crushed that our only daughter died after we’ve spent so much love, time, and effort caring for her, but look! I’ve made a new one who isn’t deathly allergic to milk! Yay! Oh, and she’ll die in her twenties because her organs age three times faster, but we can worry about that later.”
With only a few episodes left, I don’t think we’ll be able to fully explore the idea that Sanyoung is continuing to develop human clones since we still haven’t settled what happened with Sung-hoon and Sung-joon, but I’m going to need at least one person to seriously question the morality of human cloning as a way to satisfy the selfish needs of rich people, especially considering how much the poor clones have suffered.
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