Welcome, curious Blood viewers! This is my first try at recapping a kdrama. Blood is an odd choice to boot, as I am not a vampire buff(y) in the least. Still, I wanted to cheer on Ahn Jae-Hyun – who appeared in secondary roles in the popular kdramas, You From Another Star and You’re All Surrounded – in his first leading role as Park Ji-Sang. In addition, dramabeans, my go-to site for recaps, is not recapping this drama as far as I know. I thought I’d give it a whirl. Thanks for joining me in my efforts as I present a recap of Blood, episode 1.
Blood 블러드 episode 1
A truck speeds across a wide, barren field. It stops at an isolated, abandoned church. A man in a white lab jacket, his face covered with a scarf, kneels at an old tombstone and wipes off the inscription: Do not seek death. Death will seek you out. He begins to dig. The grave reveals many bones and skulls with very long eye teeth. Fangs.
Location: Kochenia Republic, Sobacke Region
Someone shouts, “Dr Park!” Our lab coat man has a name. He runs outside as an ambulance and truck pull away. A second man in a lab coat meets him and reports they’ve been ordered to pack up and get to the station in Revesck. However, there is a young girl who needs surgery and hasn’t been evacuated. She remains in a less than desirable makeshift hospital room, unconscious and hooked up to tubes and machines. She can’t be moved, it’s too dangerous. Over the protests of the man in the lab coat and a soldier, Dr. Park says he will remain behind and do the surgery.
The soldier tells him the rebel armies don’t care about children or doctors, but Dr. Park cuts him off and tells them to go. They wish him luck. He nonchalantly replies that he doesn’t need luck for something so minor. Confident and a bit cocky, are we? Once inside the dilapidated building Dr. Park snaps open a round, silver box and eats a capsule. Immediately his eyes turn green and he super leaps over a barricade into the hospital room where the girl lies. Gowned and gloved, he mentally assesses the bullet’s location and its damage and visualizes the procedure. “Scalpel.” [Pause.] “Oh right, I’m alone.” Since genres include medical drama, thriller, horror, fantasy, and romance, I won’t groan at the failed attempt at humor. Meanwhile, the heavily armed rebels arrive in black combat vehicles. A rapid series of scenes keeps pace between the surgery and rebels on a mission. Dr. Park’s voice talks through the operation. Bullet removal complete. Half a dozen rebels make their way through the catacomb-like tunnels. Stitch. Tie. As he finishes up, Dr. Park says to the unconscious patient, “Your name is…let’s just call you Young Hee.” (File in the back of my mind, must be important later on.)
Just as a rebel reports that everyone is gone, Dr. Park backs into the hall with the girl on the operating table. Oops. He slowly puts his hands up and asks for their human kindness. “I’m a civilian doctor from Muenchen University Hospital in Germany.” He is ordered on his knees or be shot, to which he replies, “If you let us go, I will let you walk out of here on your own two feet.” No can do. Rounds are fired. Dr. Park shoves the table away as his body is riddled with bullets. A rebel moves forward and kicks him. Bad idea. It’s vampire transformation time ~ claws, eyes, veins, super strength, attack! Bodies fly down the length of the cavernous hallway. They’re down for the count. Dr. Park voice over: “I am a vampire.”
Vampire identity backstory:
Dr. Park was infected with the VBT-01 virus, passed from generation to generation…cause unknown and no known cure. The virus activates Telomerase to affect the human aging process resulting in mega longevity and supernatural powers. Adults stop aging at the point of being infected. Children age for 5 or 6 years, then stop, and that becomes their physical state permanently. Side effects: super physical capabilities, self-healing property, sunlight at dawn and natural light can be fatal, and a torturous thirst for blood.
As he gazes from the top of a building Dr. Park defines his fate as not being human, but something else entirely…existing between the living and the dead.
Childhood backstory: 1979 US Tennessee Moore County
A child in a vampire costume knocks on a door. It’s late, but he’s given treats. “Thank you Mr. Park.” Inside the house, Mr. Park sees shadows in the windows and pulls the drapes, but it’s too late. Glass shatters. Two hooded men attack. Mr. Park’s claws emerge, he growls, and super powers take over in a violent fight. He pulls off the hood of one of the intruders– it’s also a vampire. As the other intruder goes upstairs, Mr. Park yells, “No!” There’s a crib with music playing. A car drives away with a woman and a baby inside. The two hooded vampires (henceforth referred to as hoodpires) have come for the baby, but Mr. Park has already sent his wife and child away.
Boss Man (Ji Jin-Hee) approaches, sits in a chair, and asks the bloodied Mr. Park, “Where are Sun Young and Jason?”Mr. Park tells him to just kill him and leave his wife and Jason alone. His uncooperative attitude upsets Boss Man. The hoodpires stab Mr. Park in the neck with a very, very large spike needle (looks away). Ouch. With his back to Mr. Park, Boss Man cavalierly comments, “Rather than being an ambivalent friend, become a clear enemy,” and leaves him for dead. The car with Sun Young and Jason stops. In a flashback within a flashback, she begs her husband to go with her, but he sends her off to keep Jason safe. To the baby he says he believes he can save himself. 1979 Mr. Park is the father of Dr. Jason Park.
Coming of age backstory: 1994 Jeju Island
Sixteen year-old Jason wakes up and stretches. He feeds an injured deer recuperating in a cage and tells it he envies its possibility for freedom. When Jason tells his mother he’s going into town, she tries to dissuade him. In the end she concedes and holds up a bottle. “Take your medicine.” At the water’s edge, Jason drops the bottle and walks away. As Jason reaches for a textbook in the bookstore, an employee gasps and he turns to see she has cut her finger. He is drawn to the blood and can’t look away – an obvious result of not taking his meds. Fighting urges, he rips apart the book in his hands and staggers out. Back at home, he tunes out Mom’s tutoring. “Park Ji Sang!” she calls sharply. (Ji Sang and Jason are interchangeable.) He flatly comments, “I’m always going to be alone. What’s the point in all this?” They argue.
That night, as she mixes a powder with mortal and pestle, Mom contemplates Ji Sang’s earlier words, “I will never be able to live in peace…I already know that much about myself.” Outside, Ji Sang’s uncontrollable vampire urges get the best of him…and Bambi. Blood is on Ji Sang’s lips and hands, and Mom has seen it all from a distance. Vampire puberty has set in. In a fit of despair, Ji Sang runs until he reaches a cliff and falls into the water below. When he opens his eyes on shore, he lets out an anguishing yell.
It’s evening. As he walks the street, Ji Sang is harassed by a car full of loud guys. Not knowing his own strength, he lets them have it when they come at him. It is an embarrassing scene at the police station as a the bandaged men accuse an average kid of beating them up. On the bench against the wall lies a sinister hooded figure. Ji Sang has been discovered. Mom picks him up at the station and realizes things may get out of control.
At home, she scolds her son for showing off his strength. Ji Sang throws it back at her and says he just may have found something that he can make money at and live how he wants. Before Mom can finish the family motto, Ji Sang sarcastically chimes in, “I believe you will be able to save yourself. With your own abilities.” Mom has carried on the father’s motto for his son, but Ji Sang angrily mocks those words. “I don’t know anything about the father who spoke those amazing last words to me, so those words have no meaning to me.” Mom assures him that she will explain everything when’s he’s ready. No teenager wants to hear that. “I just want to be human. I have no hope. I just keep getting angry.” Mom can’t even console him as he cries, “I shouldn’t have been born.” Serious teen vampire anguish. I feel for Ji Sang.
Harvard University Massachusetts General Hospital, USA (more backstory)
Inside an operating room, doctors and team perform an operation. Whiplash. The scene change to Boss Man relaxing in an easy chair in a study, listening to music with his eyes closed and holding a glass. The phone rings. We only hear his side of the conversation. Someone is three hours late (note: a three-hour reference was also made during the previous surgery scene). I think it is safe to assume the surgeon is Boss Man.
Warning: hold on to your neck – more whiplash ahead. Ji Sang stands at an outdoor altar. “I suppose you won’t answer me, no matter what I wish for.” The two hoodpires watch him from a bank. A mom, dad, and daughter hike in the woods. The daughter complains that she’d rather be shopping, but the father explains that this is where uncle sent us. “Why here?” she wonders. (Were)wolves approach and gather before the hoodpires.
As her parents take pictures, the bored daughter wanders after a cute rabbit. When the parents look up, she is gone and call out, “Cha Yeon!” Ji Sang is alerted by the commotion he hears. Unaware of the approaching wolves, Cha Yeon pets the bunny when suddenly they lunge at her. She faints. Ji Sang appears in an arc and fights off the creatures with his super powers. The lurking hoodpires watch. The scene cuts to Boss Man who swirls his glass and says, “A pure vampire, Park Hyun Seo…your son is unique. Together Jason and I will prove that I was right.” It is clear that Boss Man has orchestrated all the ensuing commotion.Two men in blue coats approach the parents. The atmosphere is uneasy.
Ji Sang realizes his self-healing properties as his wounds disappear. He watches over the young girl and drips a dewy pain killing herb into her mouth. She opens her eyes, “Where am I right now?” and asks if he’s a ghost that lives in the forest. Ji Sang replies, “I guess you could say that.” She tells him that she prayed for someone to appear and save her life. She thanks him. Ji Sang disappears before anyone arrives. A rescue team finds her but her parents are not with them. Cha Yeon asks where they are. Clearly they’ve been intentionally separated: the men in the blue coats have led mom and dad elsewhere as the rescue party locates Cha Yeon. When Ji Sang arrives home, Mom quickly hides a (you guessed it) very large syringe filled with a liquid. She notices blood on his sweater and asks if something happened. After relaying the events in the woods, he confesses that this new feeling (of using his powers to rescue someone) is not a bad one. It seems our teenage hero vampire finally discovered some good in life. There is a series of scene sequences. Boss Man stands in a lab, wearing a white coat and staring intently at a beaker of liquid. Again, there’s a one-sided phone conversation. He tells someone to bring just the child. Ji Sang thinks about the conversation with Cha Yeon in the forest. When out for a walk, he passes the street vendor with hair bows and stops to look. (Before, on the way to the bookstore, he’d passed the hair bow vendor without noticing.) At home, Mom mixes syringe contents. The hoodpires approach the house, and crash through the glass. Mom leaps from the balcony, syringe in hand. The hoodpires wrestle it from her. As Ji Sang returns home he senses trouble. He dashes inside. Mom tells him to run. Ugh, a hoodpire injects Mom with the syringe. “Oma!” Ji Sang’s fangs come out, Mom drags herself over to a switch, flips it on and tells Ji Sang to close his eyes. It’s a very bright light and the hoodpires must flee. Ji Sang runs through the forest with his hurt mother on his back. When they stop to rest, a foreboding raven perches on a branch above. Ji Sang asks her what was in the syringe and who those guys were. Mom instructs him to run far away. But first, there is something he must do.
Ji Sang has returned Mom to the house. He tells her he can’t do whatever it is she has instructed him to do. But he must, she insists, because others may get infected. And, above all, he must take his painting. A sad farewell exchange takes place; Ji Sang pleads for Mom to hang on, and Mom makes sure her last words are clearly understood. There are tears, a round of sorries, I love yous, and Mom is gone. As Ji Sang removes the painting from the wall, a box drops to the floor from behind. He stands outside the burning house with his mother’s corpse inside. He has followed the unimaginable task his dying mother insisted he must do. With tears streaming down his face, he hears her words, “You can become human…the beast who became a handsome prince.” Ji Sang watches the video of his mother – one of the contents from the box behind the painting. She had prepared this for him all along in case something bad happened. It did. Important note: Thanks to the initial vampire back story narrative we realize that Ji Sang has reached that age where he is the permanent physical age he will remain as a vampire.
Kochenia Republic Civil War Region
Episode 1 brings us back to the present and the location where our story began. Dr. Park tends to wounded soldiers. In true kdrama fashion, his cell phone rings. He answers it above loud explosions. A young man on the other end cheerfully asks if he is playing a game as the gun sound effects are so real. Annoyed, Dr. Park is about to hang up when the young man tells him he has finally found the origin of that data. It is clearly something Dr. Park has been waiting for. He identifies Taemin Cancer Hospital ( Korea) security database as the much awaited information
There’s an explosion. Dr. Park is down. No worries. He gets up, tosses his phone, and struts with a determined expression. It appears that this new information will move Dr. Park and the story forward.
This episode has left us to draw some conclusions and ask some questions. They are mostly about Boss Man.
- Who is Boss Man? It’s fairly certain he is the Mastermind Head Vampire. Everything from the time he kills Papa Park, locates Jason Park, kills Mama Park, kidnaps the niece Cha Yeon and her parents, and directs the hoodpires and werewolves’ whereabouts all seems to be under his masterful control for a single purpose – to prove he is right. “About what?” we ask. Boss Man obviously needs Jason for something regarding his purpose, and –>
- Boss Man is a surgeon. Huh. There have been too many vials of golden liquid and giant syringes (I’ve developed a phobia of them) to discount that a medical background to research a vampire antidote or something along those lines is all part of his game.
- Mama Park must have been onto something on her own, and has left some instructions for Ji Sang on the video she made sure he got in case bad things happened.
- There must have been a reason why Boss Man made a reference to 3 hours in the operating room and later, on the phone to an unknown caller.
- Who is the friend/acquaintance who calls Ji Sang with the information about the data? How are they connected?
- Mama Park’s experiment efforts were to help Ji Sang become human, but how far did she get and what information did she leave? Was she racing the clock with Boss Man? And what are his intentions toward Ji Sang?
- Young Hee – Remember the name Dr. Park gave the young female patient. I’m sure she will show up later (perhaps with a different name). -selection of vampire trait
- The show laid out specific side effects that are in play in this vampire story. Probably a smart thing since there are so many vampire variables.
- I have used Jason/Ji Sang in the recap the way each name is used in the story. So far, only his father and Boss Man refer to him as Jason. His mother always used Ji Sang. I’m not sure if there is significance or if it is just a reflection of his English name being used in the U.S. and his Korean name being used in Korea.
- The contrast between the two incidents of Ji Sung’s confrontational displays of strength is significant. The encounter that landed him in the police station resulted in frustration. The encounter with the werewolves and the young girl in distress resulted in a new feeling that helped him redirect his super energies in a positive way and for a positive cause. This was one of the better laid out points of the story so far.
- At the altar, Ji Sang spoke out loud that his prayers probably wouldn’t be answered. When Cha Yeon said she prayed that someone would save her, he told her to remember that when she prayed to the heavens he wouldn’t always come.
- There are three backstories in episode 1 which makes it boggy. It seems like a complicated approach, but I understand how the vampire, family, and coming of age stories had to be included to bring us up to the present Dr. Park. It reminds me of the first episode of City Hunter which also covered the backstory of the main character’s birth and parents, and early childhood. Both dramas pick up when the main character is a teenager and his coming of age experiences and bring the story to present day young adulthood by the end of episode 1. Episode 2 is in the present, so I hope you will bear with me (and the show) and give it a chance. Having said that, I hope the upcoming episodes don’t jump around as much because it makes concise recapping pretty darn tough when there are such large time spans and various locations to cover.
- There is a coming-of-age puppy love/hair bow association in practically every kdrama.
Phew! I’m drained. Not to mention the inordinate amount of time I spent doing this. I have a newly found appreciation for recappers everywhere, truly. So, is Blood your cup of tea? Thoughts? Comments?
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