“Duel” goes straight for the emotions this week and it has been a long time coming and never arriving. We have a series of reunions and revelations, some of them happy, others bittersweet and some pretty sordid. The clone brothers get to talk honestly for the first time while Deuk-cheon makes a promise to Seong-joon after recalling his past mistakes. Meanwhile, Jo-hye has hit the mother lode.
Episode eleven is perhaps the most easily approachable one in the series so far, as we get some much needed character interactions and development. Despite the show’s newfound sentimentality obviously leading to the crisis before the resolution, it really clears up the trauma, virtues, morals and intentions of our leading characters. It sadly also accentuates the biggest problem that has plagued “Duel” and that is how lacking it has been in this aspect.
“Duel” has been too task based to really be engaging. Our four leads of the rabid cop, the clones and the corrupt prosecutor have been kept apart for an entire series and their subplots have been more about what they do than who they are, what they think or how they feel. Their few interactions have mostly been discussing the next item on their to-do list and that simply does not make for exciting fiction most of the time.
Mourning what could have been aside, the episode clears up a lot of things. From Seong-joon’s (Yang Se-jong) affection and his brother’s resentment to the role of Doctor Han Yoo-ra (Uhm Soo-jung) in their life and from Deuk-cheon’s (Jeong Jae-yeong) own involvement in it to the Chief Prosecutor Woo Byeong-cheon’s (Jeong Dong-gyoo) expected corruption, a lot of things happen. I wish some had begun earlier on, but at least they are developing quickly.
There are a lot of questions here, of course. The twist of the vaccine’s unknown location and condition makes things more complicated and if the creators have not abandoned their introductory episodes, the bribes Jo-hye (Kim Jung-eun) and Deuk-cheon received must play a part in this somehow. There also has to be a reason why Soo-yeon (Lee Na-yoon) was selected by the institute and I want to know if Ahn Jeong-dong is related to that after all.
Which brings me to Jo-hye’s favor. Her character has been established as greedy and so I do not believe that the choice is a selfless one. What I wonder now is if she simply wants Deuk-cheon because his information can help her take down the Chief Prosecutor or if she knows about his and possibly her own deeper involvement. Perhaps the series can finally use her character well.
“Duel” is directed by Lee Jong-jae, written by Kim Yoon-joo and features Jeong Jae-yeong, Kim Jung-eun, Yang Se-jong and Seo Eun-su.
Written by: Orion from ‘Orion’s Ramblings‘
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“[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Duel” Episode 11″
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