Deuk-cheon discovers that a distraught father’s testimony holds little value in the face of conclusive evidence as he tries to convince everyone of the impossible. Our suspect is traumatized and knows little about the situation himself, as good ol’ dramamnesia keeps the mystery going. Meanwhile Jo-hye continues to exist as a mysterious force to be reckoned with when it comes to making progress.
The series banks a lot on the emotional core of Deuk-cheon (Jeong Jae-yeong) and Soo-yeon (Lee Na-yoon), which is a smart idea. Given that Soo-yeon will probably be around and not drugged the entire time, the series can really make great dramatic use of their relationship. While Jeong Jae-yeong does a great job for Deuk-cheon, the series needs both sides of this family pair to have screen time and development for greater impact.
Jo-hye (Kim Jung-eun) continues to be fascinating to me. We know that she takes bribes and does not mind risking Soo-yeon’s life, who I assume is her niece. At the same time, she is rational and she does show emotion and what appears to be sympathy. I just cannot be sure if her efforts are honest or just done for Deuk-cheon to stop pestering her. She genuinely does not seem to know what is going on at this point, but her personality is still a big question mark.
Speaking of mysterious figures, episode two shows us a bit more of Seong-hoon (Yang Se-jong), the kidnapper and scientist working under someone. His visitor was previously searched at the airport, so we know that he helps with “field operations”. If the Sanyoung Bioresearch Institute helped Soo-yeon in order to get a hold of her or to get Ahn Jeong-dong released, however, why is she kidnapped and in a secret lab and why is Ahn this duo’s target? Are we dealing with a rogue institute faction?
Most importantly, who is the clone? Seong-hoon or the amnesiac scapegoat, Seong-joon? What is the significance of the bloody ear lobe in his memories? It is possible that he is the original and that the clone took his place and wiped his memories instead. This assumption relies on certain fictional rules the series has not provided, however. Their memories and skills would have to transfer along with their DNA.
I am enjoying myself so far, although there are minor distractions. The series makes a big deal of Deuk-cheon using Yoo-sik’s (Lee Cheol-min) envelope despite having received a major bribe earlier. There are also the usual action show problems of style over logic, but I can overlook them for now. I am curious to see Yang Man-choon’s (Sim Wan-joon) future approach to Deuk-cheon, because our hero has enough enemies.
“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‘