Enough of the vampires.
The thematic use of monsters in literature isn’t solely about the non-human beings, but they are used more often as a mirror to the humans’ fallacies — and strengths. Obviously the humans in Blood are disadvantaged when you compare them to the vampires, but that doesn’t mean that they are totally powerless. If so, Jae-wook won’t be so cautious about hiding his identity.
A short update on eps7/8: Ji-sang realises Chae-yon (the girl he saved, and who redeemed him from his despair at discovering his identity) is none other than Ri-ta, when both of them bump into each other while strolling down memory lane in the forest on Jeju-do. Ri-ta grows warmer towards the still-chilly Ji-sang when he reveals (or rather excuses) that he has a cogenital disease that explains his low body temperature, and more importantly, his sudden, unexplained absences and spacing outs during ops. When Ri-ta hears of Ji-sang’s resignation, she is genuinely upset.
Jae-wook, meanwhie, reveals himself to Ji-sang that he is of the same species as him (aka Vampire). Jae-wook tries to gain Ji-sang’s confidence and trust, by telling Ji-sang his secrets — how he manages to obtain his staples of purified blood, and his frequent injections to retain a fake human temperature. Ji-sang, who wants to stay on in the hospital, is tempted to take up Jae-wook’s offer for endless supply of free blood — a solution which will stave off his blood-hunger/ blood-fear during ops. However, he is still unable to make himself cross the line and acknowledge his status as monster.
Ji-sang’s persistent in maintaining (through brute, sheer willpower) his “human” veneer hints that there is something desirable about being (and remaining) a human in Blood. Blood hasn’t been subtle about the supernatural abilities and most importantly, the IMMORTALITY, vampires have. These abilities are what the human species have craved for for a gazillion years.
And yet, Blood shows that even without super powers, humans can be powerful.
Humans create and maintain territories. Very clearly exemplified by those doctors who are pissed off with Ji-sang taking over “their” patients, and “their” ops. Even though, they do not have the expertise to continue caring for that patient or handling his/her op. And as with all territorial claims, the issue has to do more with pride than anything else.
However, territories also play an important part in creating communities. In Blood, the vampires have very few friends. Ji-sang only has one buddy – Hyun-woo (who until now, I have no idea how he accepted a vampire as friend). And Jae-wook…he has minions. But zero friends. Compare this to Ri-ta. She may be annoying at times (ok, MOST times), but she has a strong support of confidants, family members, colleagues that rally around her and allow themselves to be irritated by her. In Blood, most of the huddlings (and consequent gossip sessions) are done by the humans. The vampires are relegated to brooding in their own offices.
While turf wars can be stupid and short-sighted in a hospital, they can also be very important in terms of alerting the humans on hanky panky going on within their grounds. Jae-wook breezes in with his drug research team and takes over the patients in Ward 21A (a free facility opened by the hospital targetted to treat the homeless and poor). However, Ward 21A is technically governed by Ri-ta and her team (plus Ji-sang).
Thus, when Researcher Seo (a vampire? Jae-wook’s hench(wo)man?) draws blood samples from Ward 21A’s patients without going through Ri-ta’s consent, she is understandably pissed. Not juz upset that her patients are being “robbed” by another team. But as a doctor, she is angry that she has been kept in the dark on the blood takings and more importantly, what the blood samples are used for. Later, when her patients in Ward 21A start to develop weird symptoms (like bleeding from all orifices), she begins to suspect that the research team has everything to do with it.
Well, the humans definitely can’t see what is beyond their noses at times. Like their sometimes useless territorial claims, the human characters in Blood also only see short-term advantages and gratifications. Sadly, Chairman Yoo’s setting up of the free Ward 21A isn’t really for charity’s sake. He has an unknown cogenital disease, and I suspect Jae-wook has promised him his “miracle” drug if Chairman Yoo allows him to use the free patients in Ward 21A as his guinea pigs. Thus, Chairman Yoo has been flatly refusing Ri-ta and her aunt’s (Associate Director Choi) warnings about the research team’s behaviours and their persuasions to open up the research team’s studies to the public. Horrifying to imagine that in order to save his own skin, Chairman Yoo is ignoring the deaths of many countless innocents. (and he isn’t a BAD person…even though he is Douchebag Daddy in Marriage, Not Dating)
Then again, being short-sighted also has its advantages — you forgive easily. Maybe cos the vampires have a muccchhhh longer lifespan (average 300 years in Blood), they don’t see the need to make friends or allow themselves to easily change their first impressions of people they meet. Although Ji-sang is almost getting there to make his ice cold heart a little warmer, his progress cannot be compared to Ri-ta’s or even his patient’s young daughter. Remember Ji-sang’s patient with terminal illness who has a young daughter in ep 3? Although the little girl hated Ji-sang for his totally zero bedside manners, in ep8, she comes around and decides that sometimes, being brutally frank is much better than dishing out white lies. She sees her daddy in severe pain, and yet clinging on to his life with huge dosages of morphine, juz so that he can see his daughter a little bit longer….and the poor girl is devastated. She’d rather her daddy dies now, and forgives Ji-sang for refusing to participate in creating that fantasy future where her daddy is cured.
Ri-ta, as I’ve said earlier, is also warming up to her cool and aloof boss. Though Ji-sang hasn’t really given her any forms of verbal/ physical encouragements to indicate he appreciates her change of heart. The turning points for Ri-ta’s acceptance of Ji-sang (and her wiping the slate clean of his previous rudeness) are when she realises Ji-sang (like herself) has lost a mother, and later on, when she learns that he has an “illness”.
Juz as she takes to anger easily, Ri-ta also forgives easily. She volunteers to back up Ji-sang (even though he never asked for her help), and on several occasions, lied to cover Ji-sang’s ass. When Ji-sang is unable to handle an op (due to his sudden fear and uncontrolled behaviours towards seeing blood), she steps in to replace him. And when questioned by Jae-wook, she brightly thinks up an explanation for Ji-sang — that he is again inflicted with severe tummyache and diarrhea. 😛
The most telling evidence for Ri-ta’s big heartedness is when she chooses to tell Ji-sang about her past. The incident where Ji-sang saved her from the wolves. (and Ji-sang nearly spits out his drink when Ri-ta embellishes her tale to include a love-at-first-sight between “that oppa” and herself) She only tells this story to people whom she trusts, cos even without her ridiculous embellishments, a story of a young boy who manages to fight off a pack of wolves single handedly, and who can “fly” through air…is kinda hard to believe. (and she has been made the butt of jokes over it, thus, that kinda stops her from randomly telling people about it)