Monsters have always been common metaphors in literature. They are either really monstrous creatures (think Count Dracula, Frankenstein), or used as a mirror of sorts on humanity’s monstrosity (re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Blood uses both ideas, we have monsters who ARE horrible, and we also have “monsters” who possess more humane qualities than humans.
To put everyone up to speed on the going-ons in eps5-6: Ji-sang is attacked by Jae-wook’s henchmen, who jabbed the vampire-killer poison into his neck (the same poison which killed Ji-sang’s mum). However, not only does Ji-sang recover from the attack, he actually “levelled-up”. His vampire blood counter-attacks the poison and becomes impervious to ALL forms of poison. (meaning, you can throw him in a chlorine-filled gas chamber/ suffocate him with sarin nerve gas, and he will be ok)
However, the mutation of his blood cells also brings about a side-effect. Ji-sang’s buddy, Hyun-woo, suspects the side effect also has to do with Ji-sang’s long term reliance on his mum’s drugs, Atavin, which has muted his bloodthirst all these years. Anyway, the unexpected result of his recovery from the poison, or his overdependency on Atavin, is Ji-sang becomes afraid of seeing/smelling blood. And that isn’t good news if you are a surgeon. Or if you work in a hospital. Or if you happen to be a vampire who is a surgeon and works in a hospital.
Right, so Blood hasn’t been very strong in the Logical Thinking department — it has been trying my leaps of blind faith all along. However, Blood is doing fairly well in using the thematic idea of monster/ monstrosity up till now. (and i hope it remains that way. the politicking is non-existant atm) Ji-sang, for all his superhuman abilities, wants to be a human. He blatantly even tells Hyun-woo that if taking Atavin will lead to his eventual death, he won’t mind it too — at least he can die a human. Interestingly, Ji-sang has up till now, never touched a single drop of human blood. (the only fresh blood he drank was from a pet deer) Like his mother, he feels that once he sullies his palate with human blood in whatever form, he will be a step closer to becoming a monster and a step farther from remaining a human.
And that’s where Chae-yon’s (or Ri-ta) significance comes in — she is the first person to remind him that despite his monstrous exterior, he is still human inside. A little like how Esmeralda takes pity on the freak Quasimodo and helps him when others shun him. The young Chae-yon/ Ri-ta, though semi-conscious at the point of the wolves’ attack, is aware that her black knight is not exactly human. A fact which she has been ridiculed with everytime she brings “that story” up. I suppose it won’t be long before she ties Ji-sang to that “oppa” who rescued her in her teens, since she already notices Ji-sang’s abnormalities on a few occasions.
While Ji-sang remains (or tries to) pure of heart despite being a monster, Jae-wook walks the thin line between becoming a full fledge monster, and remaining human. True, his experiment on human subjects with the vampire virus is horrendous, but his starting point is rather sympathetic. He recognises the value of the virus (minus its side effect) — it can help patients who are at Death’s door. The trigger came about when one of his patients, a little girl, committed suicide after she was abandoned by her family due to her rising medical costs (she had end-stage cancer). Jae-wook sees that the virus can help in prolonging human life — and as doctor, saving lives is a mandate.
So…is it exactly wrong? Jae-wook’s professor clearly thought so. He refused to participate further in the experiment (and Jae-wook had to silence him), condoning it as “creating monsters” even though the virus does help to save lives. Problem is, quite a number of test subjects died horrible deaths as they are unable to overcome the powerful effects the virus had on their bodies. Those that survived, well, they recovered fully from whatever hit them in the first place…but you know what they are now.
Unlike Ji-sang, Jae-wook has no qualms about taking human blood. But note this: he condemns drinking human blood from an unwilling donor, and he will never rob the blood banks for blood meant for human patients. His source of nutrients (a whole freezer full of them) comes from blood he bought on the black market, from countries such as India, that do not have laws (or are lax in policing them) against blood sales. He then sends them for refining, which strips the blood of the red blood cells (which he claims can trigger a feeding frenzy from vampires), leaving only the nutrients in the plasma and the white blood cells.
And to make himself as human as possible, he even goes to the extent of taking a drug that causes his body to enter a feverish state, thereby mimicking a normal human body temperature of 37 deg C. This isn’t even remotely comfortable for Jae-wook; he feels a lot of pain when he injects himself with the drug and throughout the next few weeks, he is perpetually nauseous.
While Ji-sang may be the monster who refuses to be one (to the extent of being a little irrational in his abstinences), Jae-wook comes across as a more interesting character to me. I do not like what he does to the unwilling (and ignorant) participants of his experiment, but then again, I find myself being sympathetic towards his course of actions at this point in time. I sometimes find Ji-sang to be a little hypocritical — he has no issues with using his superhuman powers when dealing with complicated surgeries or fighting off baddies, but he has big issues in acknowledging that his dietary needs are different due to his “condition”. Jae-wook, on the other hand, embraces both his identities. He acknowledges his needs as a vampire, but he imposes stringent moral (?) conditions on himself and his followers so that they are still human, in a weird way.