Truth be told, Blood is interesting only cos of Jae-wook. He represents the paradox on which the entire show rests on. Whether the vampires are monstrous, or whether they are superior. In eps 11/12, we get a more detailed look into Jae-wook’s background and the reason for his horrible experiment on innocent humans.

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Briefly, Jae-wook used to work in the same research team with Ji-sang’s parents (Hyun-soo and Sun-young) headed by Dr Jung’s father. The team went to investigate the myth surrounding humans who became infected and turned into vampires. In the process, they (Jae-wook and Ji-sang’s parents) unfortunately got infected and became vampires themselves.

Jae-wook, who was also working as a surgeon in a hospital, one day lost a young patient to suicide, cos her adoptive parents abandoned her due to her rising medical bills. While we had previously thought the young girl died, apparently, she didn’t. She survived the jump from the hospital’s rooftop — but barely. In desperation, Jae-wook slitted his wrist and let her drink his blood. She revived — but is also now transformed into a vampire. And here’s the twist: she is none other than the innocent Resident Dr, Min Ga-yeon.

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The result of healing Ga-yeon through his infected blood led Jae-wook to the idea of using the VTB-01 virus strain to develop a vaccine that can cure humans of any disease or illness. He also persuaded the late Dr Jung to participate in his research. However, Dr Jung was probably spooked by the unnatural deaths caused by the virus and insisted to put a stop to the research. When Jae-wook refused to, Dr Jung said he will pull out from it. In anger, Jae-wook killed his mentor.

Now, decades later…Jae-wook is almost close to success. Using the Drug Research Team and the human test subjects “sponsored” by Chairman Yoo’s free Ward 21A, he managed to isolate the virus’ vampirey side effects from its immortality promise. However, that was done at the cost of several innocent lives lost — not only those test subjects, but also any other people that threatened to expose his research (the latest victim being Dr Jung’s son, who is also a doctor in Taemin Hospital).

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The thing about Jae-wook is you really cannot decide whether he is evil, or juz misguided. Blood shows him to be very ruthless, and result oriented. Anything or anyone that gets in the way of his virus research will be eliminated, swiftly. He isn’t above sacrificing some of his loyal minions too, as long as they serve his ultimate objective of keeping the research a secret. And although he claims to be truthful towards Ji-sang, we know he is lying through his teeth. He isn’t looking at Ji-sang as a “partner” in his research. He is only interested in Ji-sang’s genes, cos they hold the key to totally eliminating VTB-01’s side effects or enhancing its potential.

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Plus, he uses Min Ga-yeon — whom he knows Ji-sang trusts — as a spy. So much for being kind hearted and saving her from death earlier on. At the moment, Ga-yeon’s character can cut two ways — on one hand, she is still loyal to Jae-wook and is obedient to him cos he is her saviour. However, I’m not so sure how much of that innocence is a front. She is starting to see things from Ji-sang’s point of view, and is getting influenced by the human patients and doctors around her. But we know if she jumps ship, that will promise her end.

While Jae-wook’s modus operandi is cruel, and his use of unwilling (and unknowing) test subjects is deplorable…at the bottom line, is he really wrong? As a doctor, his ultimate goal is to prolong human lives. And to stave off the Grim Reaper as far as possible. His vaccine will not only provide a cure for every human diseases and illnesses imaginable, but also repair damage to existing cells. So that the blind can see again, and the crippled can walk again. And more importantly — Jae-wook is intending his vaccine to be distributed free. Yup, so not only the rich and powerful can gain access to immortality, but even the common man in the street, or the beggar at the road junction.

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In terms of selfishness, I’d think Chairman Yoo is more selfish than Jae-wook. Cos he agreed to set up the Special Ward 21A, and allows the Drug Research Team free rein over the hospital — so that they can find a cure for his terminal illness. And certain developments have led me to speculate that Chairman Yoo may be a murderer. He (and Associate Director Choi) may have sent hitsmen after Ri-ta’s parents. In ep2, we see that while searching for Ri-ta, the couple met with a mysterious pair of strangers in fishermen garbs. After that, Ri-ta’s parents mysteriously ended up at the bottom of a cliff.

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Ji-sang experiences the lure of Jae-wook’s promising vaccine, when he sees Ri-ta and her adoptive aunt (a nun by the name of Sister Sylvia) being tormented by Sister Sylvia’s illness and her impending death. Ji-sang actually volunteers to let Sister Sylvia have his blood. Ri-ta stops that train of thoughts, by telling Ji-sang that doing so would be unnatural. Cos if Death is the ultimate leveller, then who is Ji-sang to judge who to survive and who to die?

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