The Virus: Episode 3

Suffice to say, this show is exactly not what you’d expect it to be. The people behind the camera are strange. The writing – and thus the directing and editing – is odd because we see scenes and montages that are strangely cinematic for no reason at all. It doesn’t make this show a high-paced thriller, which would be the tone better suited for the topic. I can’t say that it’s trying to be a “humanistic” drama because it doesn’t focus on the people well enough, or make me sympathize them at all.

Trust me – I’m trying to like this show as much as I can. It just does strange things sometimes.

[To watch, you can either view it on Hulu or log in to view subtitles at Darksmurfsubs.]

Episode 3 recap

 

In-chul manages to get away in a taxi, but he recognizes the driver; though the driver is wearing a cap down low on his face, he remembers him as the one who had driven him away from the Gangnam station, away from Myung-hyun and Soo-gil initially. Unsettled, he asks to be dropped off nearby, and makes sure that the taxi has left before he goes walking anywhere else.

 

Now that Myung-hyun might be infected, he takes Soo-gil’s car and drives himself back to CDC. He goes straight to the lab and warns Sun-dong to stay away as he grabs a few medical supplies. Then he locks himself in his own office while the rest of the team watches. Soo-gil informs the rest of the team that Myung-hyun might be infected, and that because his wife was infected, he was more adamant about catching In-chul. Ji-won has a moment of sympathy that I don’t understand, since it goes against what she had been telling him beforehand on the streets.

Myung-hyun calls the team from inside his room and informs them that he’s under quarantine in his own office. He’ll leave a vial of his blood for Sun-dong to check out if he’s infected or not. The team is freaked out, but they still have to continue working. While they all anxiously wait for the results to come out (in a series of long, somber glances and slow pans across the screen), Joo-young is to thoroughly investigate In-chul’s background, Ji-won to maintain communication with the hospitals to see if In-chul will visit, and Soo-gil to meet close acquaintances of In-chul. They all need to prepare for a major outbreak, when those infected train passengers develop their symptoms. Myung-hyun stitches his wounds himself since he used to be a surgeon as well.

 

In-chul does end up visiting a hospital, and he asks the doctor to check his blood to give a proper diagnosis on his “fever”. The doctor asks him to open his mouth wide, and of course he coughs into the doctor’s face. Oh great. And the doctor tells him that his fever is no big deal, and runs off to deal with a nurse.

In-chul hesitantly looks around, and then notices a foreigner standing a few feet away. He recognizes the guy from the subway, who had forcibly grabbed Myung-hyun and asked directions to City Hall. In-chul realizes he’s been followed and quickly sneaks away while the foreigner is on the phone.

When the foreigner realizes he’s gone, he searches the parking lot outside. In-chul manages to stay just out of sight and hears the foreigner call his accomplice that “the pigeon” has fled. The accomplice thinks that In-chul may just be somewhere in the hospital and so the foreigner heads back inside. But that’s when he senses In-chul behind him, and realizes that In-chul is running away. He rendezvouses with his accomplice – who’s the capped taxi driver – and they look around desperately for In-chul, not realizing that he’s hiding in the ambulance that just drove past them. Somehow In-chul later gets off and hides in the subway station after hours among the homeless.

 

At the Blue House, Do-jin requests an update on the virus. Dr. Yoon states that the cure will take a while since the virus is completely new. He makes a bitter pointed statement towards Tae-jin that if his research project had not been cut two years ago, they might have developed a super cure that could have dealt with this virus. Tae-jin will have none of it – “Your research failed,” he replies. And it turns out it’s all because the data in the research was falsified. Or, as Dr. Yoon puts it, they were a “mistake” by some of the researches incorrectly recording the data.

Do-jin wants them to contact pharmaceutical companies that have longstanding research on the flu and see if they’ve developed a good enough vaccine for it.

Dr. Yoon returns to Nasan Hospital in a foul mood because of the meeting. He is insistent on finding In-chul first – with the help of Myung-hyun’s team – because he wants their hospital to be the first to develop the cure for this disease.

 

Sun-dong returns back to Myung-hyun’s office with the blood test results. It’s negative for the infection! Rejoice! And let me throw in a “I told you so!” They catch up on the progress of the case, and so far no one has any new leads regarding In-chul’s whereabouts. They weren’t able to locate the taxi that he had ridden and find out where he got off. Ji-won suddenly realizes that her car’s black box may have recorded some information, and she and Soo-gil go to retrieve the footage from there.

Sun-dong realizes that In-chul had been taken to Sangrok Medical Center by some loan sharks. If they can locate those loan sharks, they might be able to find out the reason why he was taken there. Myung-hyun remembers that when he met the hospital’s dead chairman’s widow, she had said that loan sharks had come after her regarding her husband’s debt. Thinking they may be the same people, he has Joo-young give him their information and hunts them down with Sun-dong.

 

Reporter Jung is still on the case about the Jechon fire, and he knocks on an elderly man’s door asking for an interview regarding the son’s death. The old man throws a bucket of water in his face, telling him to go away instead. His son’s death has nothing to do with the reporter. A local restaurant owner proves to be a better source of information when she tells Reporter Jung to stay away from the ill-tempered old man. She doesn’t know how the son died, but after the son’s death he was able to pay off a lot of debts. She also knows about the medical center that caught on fire, and one source leads to the next with additional clues on what happened to that medical center.

Reporter Jung pieces together that the hospital was originally a mental institution and rehab center. It closed down several years ago and was sold to Dae Young Industry, a company that dealt with medical equipment. It was used as a warehouse, and the security guard of that place was actually the manager. The building caught on fire most likely because of a short circuit in the wiring. A lawyer had come by to see if compensation could be received for the accident, but he went away empty handed because the company didn’t have fire insurance. With that information, Reporter Jung asks a sunbae to help him find out more information about this Dae Young Industry.

 

Joo-young, Soo-gil, and Ji-won check out the black box from Ji-won’s car, and they find that the taxi cab that hit Myung-hyun made a deliberate U-turn to hit Myung-hyun.

Reporter Jung’s sunbae gets back to him and lets him know that there are only tax records for that company, but no other evidence of a business – meaning Dae Young Industries does not really exist. Another medical center that’s related to this company is Basom Medical Center in Gongju, which goes along with the tips that Jung’s been getting from his anonymous source. Reporter Jung is full of glee when he sees just how fishy everything is.

 

Myung-hyun and Sun-dong visit the loan center that took In-chul to Sangrok. At first, the loan shark there does not claim knowledge of In-chul, but he finds it so weird that several people have been asking about a dead guy. Myung-hyun: “How do you know In-chul’s dead if you don’t ‘know’ him?” Caught, the loan shark’s boss comes into view. He admits that the chairman of Sangrok Medical Center had wanted some bodies that would be fine if they went “missing” and in return he’d pay their loans.

The boss gave the chairman a lot of people, but he’s curious why the CDC is only asking about In-chul. Is it possible he’s still alive? Myung-hyun confirms he is, and warns them not to go near him whatsoever. The loan sharks joke – is he infected or something? But the smiles fade quickly when they realize Myung-hyun isn’t joking along with them. Myung-hyun and Sun-dong leave their card in case they have any more information, and exit. His interest piqued, the boss tells his employee to go find In-chul, but make sure he stays alive.

 

In-chul remains hiding in the station with the homeless, where even a fellow old man shares some food with him.

Early on the 9th day (I think?) another patient is rushed into the isolation ward at Nasan Hospital. It’s the doctor that In-chul had coughed on! The doctor weakly tells Se-jin about the patient, and Se-jin looks through the CCTV footage. They find In-chul at the hospital, and Se-jin quickly orders a lockdown on the hospital. The patients are to be sent out if not infected, and a list of all on-duty doctors and nurses in the past 24 hours are to be contacted and checked. One of the doctors is so stunned it takes him a loooong time to get into action and help the patients.

 

Se-jin then contacts Myung-hyun about the new development in the case, and sends him and his team the video. Not only does Myung-hyun confirm it’s In-chul but he recognizes the foreigner from the train station. Footage from CCTV cameras in the vicinity shows how the foreigner and the taxi driver then look around as if searching for someone. Myung-hyun realizes that they’re looking for In-chul, and In-chul’s running from them. In-chul’s innocent in all this, since he didn’t even know about his friend dying.

 

The question becomes, who helped In-chul escape? A flashback through In-chul’s memories reveals that when the fire started, he tried to get out, but the door was locked. Suddenly, it unlocked for him, and In-chul ran down the hall to escape. He was stopped by the dying doctor, but managed to kick free from his grasp and escape to freedom. Now it seems more like someone sinister is orchestrating this entire outbreak, and using In-chul.

On top of this, the homeless man who shared his meal with In-chul dies as well, and so In-chul makes a run for it. The outbreak escalates as well as more households are affected by the infection. Emergency time! (But Myung-hyun has a shower scene first. Wuh…?)

 

Myung-hyun gets a call from the guards at the lobby of CDC that In-chul has arrived to see him. He makes a mad dash for the lobby, and spots In-chul. Myung-hyun: “Everyone – get away as far as possible! The person with the mutated infection is right there!” Of course, doctors and cleaners alike all make a run for it, and In-chul watches helplessly as complete strangers give him a look of fear and escape.

And now it’s just the two of them left.

Comments:

Proving that Myung-hyun wasn’t infected was not really a successful way to increase the suspense and make the infection far more sinister. We already know how the virus spreads and what would happen next; we don’t need the writers to try and cast doubt on how the virus spreads, only to then tell us exactly what we already know. The virus spreads if In-chul coughs or gets his saliva on you, not if he kicks you with his shoe. If there is supposed to be a twist to how the virus will spread, then they could have shown it now, in this episode. Otherwise, I think they could have spent the time trying to track down more leads.

Aside from that, it looks like there’s a huge conspiracy surrounding the virus, and that someone is  – or a group of people are – infecting the population with no qualms of killing innocents in order to make a social statement, to prove a particular point, or to gain power. Instinctively, I think the government might be behind this too, because Do-jin is a suspicious fellow. While I liked the idea of In-chul being the sole killer with the motivation to infect thousands, I guess having a government or a “big brother” figure is far more sinister a threat for CDC than a college student.

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