The Virus: Episode 5

Halfway through the series and we see that the government is not as protective as we thought. For the sake of money, individuals within institutions are willing to kill in order to get rich from the vaccines they create.

Evening of Day 11.

Myung-hyun remains uneasy over what Reporter Jung told him. He doesn’t understand why only Sangrok Hospital has infected patients, and worries about the greater evil. Despite the late hour, he wants to go back to Nasan Hospital and check on In-chul; he can’t rest until they’ve extracted his bone marrow.

Nasan is closing up for the night, and as Se-jin walks through the halls, he sees two doctors wheeling a gurney out of the hospital. Suspicious, he goes over to In-chul’s room and finds an empty bed. He immediately phones Myung-hyun, who’s on his way, about the kidnapping. As he exits the elevator, he rushes right past the kidnappers and In-chul’s gurney. What stops him in his tracks is the trail of blood leading up to the elevator.

Myung-hyun attempts to catch the elevator, but misses it. He rushes outside, and yells for them to stop as they board a van. (Don’t yell – run!) He makes chase in his car and calls up his team to help track the car, giving them the license plate. There’s plenty of traffic that frustrates him to no end as well.

Joo-young discovers the van is licensed to Im Sang-taek, whom Sun-dong recognizes. They register the car as a wanted vehicle, and Sun-dong and Soo-gil head to Sang-taek’s loan office.

Myung-hyun loses the car momentarily at a cross road, and when he phones in, Ji-won informs him about Sang-taek. He realizes that Sang-taek knew about the experiments at Sangrok Hospital, and that he wants In-chul’s blood to sell to the highest bidder. Too bad In-chul is bleeding profusely from his not-yet-healed surgery wounds.

As Sang-taek’s van speeds along, an ambulance suddenly cuts in front of them. Out steps the Foreigner dressed as an EMT. When Sang-taek steps out angrily, Foreigner knocks him out and kidnaps all three people. By the time the police locate the van, it’s empty. Myung-hyun thinks they may have switched into a buyer’s van, and wants the police to check the CCTV camera in the area to see if it caught anything.

Meanwhile, all three men are taped up, bound to a chair, in an empty warehouse.

Myung-hyun returns to CDC to check on the CCTV cameras in the hospital to see how the loan sharks kidnapped In-chul. Just before the kidnapping, they see that Dr. Yoon had gone in to In-chul’s room. A little while later, the loan sharks take In-chul out. A camera outside the hotel reveals that as Myung-hyun got into his car, an unmarked ambulance sped around him after the loan sharks’ van.

He remembers how Reporter Jung told him about an ambulance that picked up the security guard in the last fire, but never brought him to a hospital. The presence of this unmarked ambulance proves that the fire in Sangrok and Jechon are related. To the CDC, it appears that the loan sharks are working with the Foreigner (even though we know that’s not exactly true).

It turns out the loan sharks and In-chul are all being held hostage by Lawyer Hwang. He warns Sang-taek that he meddled where he shouldn’t have, but thanks him for bringing In-chul back. Now he’s going to eliminate In-chul quickly (with an injection to the neck), and bring pain and suffering to the two loan sharks to “pay for their sins.”

Dr. Yoon isn’t pleased to learn about the kidnapping that happened right under everyone’s noses, but Se-jin wonders if he could have seen anything that night. After all, the CCTV caught him in the isolation ward. Dr. Yoon claims to only have checked that the patient was in good condition to get his bone marrow. Without the patient, there’s nothing Dr. Yoon can do now, and the government can choose whomever they want to manufacture the vaccine.

12th day of the Infection. Tae-jin isn’t too pleased to find that he wasn’t informed of In-chul’s kidnapping when it happened. Myung-hyun is in favor of reporting the truth – that In-chul was used to spread an infectious disease, and that someone is stopping the development of an important vaccine.

When Blue House learns of this, they blame CDC for their carelessness. At least they do have some pharmaceutical companies who are in the midst of developing a super vaccine, with the top contender being Global Life from Belgium. Meanwhile Dr. Yoon is conducting his own tests in a lab room, and purposely shutting Se-jin out of it.

That day, a random construction worker happens upon an old warehouse and discovers three dead bodies. The local police are called, but CDC comes in because of the infected bodies. Infected bodies means that CDC takes over.

Masks and gloves on, Myung-hyun makes his way in and he finds the loan sharks with blood coming out of their eyes; they were purposely infected. As for In-chul, he’s dead and his eyes have rolled back to show only the whites of his eyes. Myung-hyun screams in frustration, and even cries. I don’t understand the overacting… get your grip together man!

Myung-hyun then goes to visit his wife, and thankfully she’s still alive but not doing that much better. He promises to save her, even though it may not be likely.

Mr. Johnson from Global Life arrives at the Blue House to discuss a deal over the vaccine. (Note: both parties can understand Korean/English perfectly without translators, and refuse to attempt to speak the other language too.) He promises the government that they can create a super vaccine in two weeks, and that it’s based on a specific antibody that can resist any mutation of the flu. The tests have been successful, so the Blue House wants to get it.

However, Mr. Johnson has a condition: the government must pay 50% of the cost of development, and be responsible for the distribution.  If they can’t make a profit off the vaccine, then they won’t make it to begin with.

Naturally, since they’re desperate, the Korean government purchases the vaccine. Tae-jin makes a press statement about it, and when Dr. Yoon hears of it on the news, he goes into a rage at the cafeteria. He storms into the isolation ward and demands to speak with Se-jin.

Se-jin hesitates, since the nurse who had performed the surgery with Myung-hyun just passed away, but he listens to his boss’ rant. Dr. Yoon believes Global Life stole his research, because he was the one who spearheaded the research for that particular antibody for the vaccine. Technically speaking, it was his and Se-jin’s research, but he’s conveniently forgetting that point. His anger does not even give him a chance to even feel pity for the nurse that just passed away; all he can think about is the lost opportunity for wealth.

Dr. Yoon only cares about finding who the spy who shared his research, not even considering the possibility that someone else could have found the antibody the way they did. Se-jin is so ticked off that he points out that he found the actual antibody, and shared the discovery with Dr. Yoon. Yoon is so ridiculously angry and overacting that it’s suffocating… 

Reporter Jung waits outside the courthouse for his lawyer-pal to give him files regarding Lawyer Hwang’s cases. One of the cases involves Lawyer Hwang suing Global Life for patent infringement and winning, and another shows that by changing the name of the product he could extend the patent on it.

He doesn’t realize that he’s being watched by that mysterious taxi driver who works for Lawyer Hwang.

With more deduction, Reporter Jung wonders if the virus is “homemade” and specially created on purpose. After all, how else could an infection kill hundreds (nearly 500 already) in so short a time? For the sake of money, people could do scary things – it’s just a matter of finding out who.

Detective Kang Tae-shik (who was part of the local police that found In-chul and the loan sharks) looks at some of the surrounding areas’ traffic cameras. He sees the scene where the Foreigner beats up the loan sharks and takes them to other places, but doesn’t understand the meaning of that evidence yet. His partner comes back with autopsy results: In-chul was killed with potassium cyanide, and the loan sharks were killed by the virus. He also gave the CDC the CCTV footage, which makes Detective Kang angry. Why is the CDC stepping all over his case?!

Detective Kang wants to know where the cyanide came from, and to see if Sang-taek was previously involved with cyanide murders.

At a Japanese restaurant, Mr. Johnson presents Kim Do-jin with a “special gift”, of which Do-jin accepts quietly. HMM… Mr. Johnson then goes to the next room to meet with Tae-jin and Choi Jung-tae, Minister of Health and Welfare, to have a sort of celebratory meal for the signing of the contract. He assures that the Korean government will see profits almost right away, and because of high demand but short supply, they’ll be even richer. Mr. Johnson believes that after some time, the virus’s strength will weaken and it will end up being just a regular flu.

Do-jin is also personally quite pleased to see Global Life’s stocks rise.

Soo-gil hands over the CCTV footage from the police to Myung-hyun; the presence of the taxi driver at the three fires cements the fact that these events were all related. The question is now who would want the virus to spread (with the motive being money most likely). It seems that through the fires, the baddies were looking for someone who wouldn’t die right away from the virus so that it would have a chance to be contagious; that’s why they helped In-chul escape the fire.

The coroner contacts Myung-hyun about his autopsy on the three bodies. Loan sharks definitely died from a large dose of the virus. As for In-chul, the only possible cause of death is an injection of cyanide. He then shows Myung-hyun a bruise on In-chul’s back; before his death, someone had taken samples of his bone marrow, but didn’t let it heal, thus allowing for profuse bleeding. The coroner notes that only a trained doctor would be able to get the samples.

That leaves only two people that could have had the time to gather the samples: Kim Se-jin or Yoon Il-joong. Myung-hyun instructs his team to track down where they are. Ji-won is confused over why either doctors would hide In-chul’s location if they got his bone marrow and were involved in the kidnapping, but Myung-hyun points out that if they’re trying to make money off of it, they wouldn’t tell anyone.

Neither doctors are picking up their phones. As Myung-hyun heads to Nasan, Soo-gil heads to Dr. Yoon’s home to search for the sample and Ji-won heads straight to the lab at Nasan to see if the vaccine has already been created. Soo-gil’s search comes up with nothing, and Dr. Yoon and Se-jin are conveniently away from the hospital, both driving to undisclosed locations. Myung-hyun rifles through Dr. Yoon’s office and discovers a file on his computer that proves he made the vaccine.

Ji-won checks out the sample in the lab to check it’s viability to make a vaccine, and it’s not good news.

Dr. Yoon meets his contact; he’s gotten rid of the samples, and has the vaccine ready for an exchange. But when he takes a good look at his contact, he’s surprised, and is suddenly injected with potassium cyanide.

Ji-won calls Myung-hyun with news that that the samples have been contaminated. Completely pissed off, he throws Dr. Yoon’s photo to the ground and smashes the frame.

So… did Se-jin really kill Dr. Yoon?

Comments:

Practically everyone is a bad guy except for the CDC team. We know that a lot of the bad guys are acting out of their own self-interest to make more money, and it includes corporate espionage and selling out. I thought that Dr. Yoon was going to be a more important player in this web of greed. I thought that he’d rightfully take back his research and create the vaccine so he could get rich. It would then be a slap to Tae-jin’s face for ending his research years ago, because had he been allowed to continue making the super-vaccine, the Korean government would not have gone to Global Life. (Not that Dr. Yoon would have sold it any cheaper; and Do-jin probably wouldn’t have gotten such a hefty cut for signing with Global Life. I’m glad that Yoon’s dead though; he was quite the frustrating character.)

But it turns out that the real person to watch out for is Se-jin; he originally discovered the antibody for the vaccine, and so he probably wants all proprietary rights for it. I’d like to think that he’s kind-hearted though, since his sympathy for the nurse suggests that he’d use the vaccine for good, and not for money. But if he really killed Dr. Yoon, then he’s someone to watch out for. You always have to be wary of the quiet ones.

With Dr. Yoon out of the way, it becomes a three-way battle between Dae Young Industries, Global Life, and Se-jin. Dae Young originated the virus and probably wants the vaccine too; Global Life is infringing upon Dae Young’s vaccine patent but has the backing of the government; and Se-jin either sold his research or has his own agenda. It’s a bigger war for Myung-hyun to battle, and his basic job of containing a virus has been overcomplicated to the point where he becomes our hero against large institutions, otherwise hundreds will just die. The Virus isn’t really about a hero saving lives, but it’s a hero fighting injustice. 

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