‘Jung_E’ on Netflix: this bittersweet end explained
With its AI robots, Blade Runner-like world, and opening action sequence, you might not have expectedto punch you emotionally in the chest.
From Yeon Sang-ho, director of 2016’s zombie horror Train to Busan, this sci-fi thriller follows a researcher and her team as they attempt to find the key to creating the world’s greatest AI battle robot. A secret connection to the test subject and the ethical issues of cloning human consciousness add complications. But it’s mostly a heartfelt story about a mother-daughter relationship navigating a war-torn dystopian Earth.
Jung_E’s Ending, Explained
In the year 2135, climate change and resource depletion have led humanity to survive in colonial shelters built in space. For 40 years, three Vaults that united under Adrian’s Republic have fought against the allied forces of Earth.
Legendary Allied Mercenary Captain Yun Jung-yi joins a mission to attack a fuel rod in an Adrian Vault. She has a chance to make a crucial shot but is distracted by a kid’s keychain. Her hand is shot, revealing that she is also really a robot.
Yun stops and it is revealed that she is in a simulation. Thirty-five years ago, the real Yun failed the mission and ended up in a coma. A Kronoid Lab research team, led by Yun’s daughter, Dr. Yun Seo-hyun, cloned his consciousness, which can be repeatedly uploaded to androids.
For five years, they studied Captain Yun’s brain map in a recreation of his last mission, trying to use the data to create the greatest AI battle robot. Once the android is able to escape the simulation, the “Jung_E” program will be finalized. Next, Kronoid intends to manufacture the elite and loyal combat robot for the allied forces to gain a winning advantage. It will also make Captain Yun an “eternal hero”.
In a flashback, it is revealed that Captain Yun became a mercenary to pay for his daughter Seo-hyun’s lung tumor treatment. On the same day as Seo-hyun’s operation, Captain Yun ended up in a coma. As an adult, Seo-hyun still feels guilty that her mother couldn’t live her life because of her.
After an ethics test to verify that she is not an android, a doctor reveals that Seo-hyun’s cancer has now spread to the rest of her organs. He is told that he has three months left to live. She could copy her consciousness into a prosthetic body for free, just like her mother, but that would also mean her brain data could be sold to corporations and used to create clones.
During a visit to the lab, the Kronoid president informs Seo-hyun that Adrian’s war is coming to an end and that the manufacture of weapons, including combat AIs, will cease. In an interview with Seo-hyun, Jung_E reveals that the keychain that distracted her was given to her by her daughter for strength and protection. She had to find him because her daughter had told her not to lose him. Realizing that this is what caused her to fail in her mission, Seo-hyun erases all memories of herself from Jung_E’s brain.
Before the simulations end, Seo-hyun tells the final android Jung_E the truth about who she is, deleting all other original data so that it can no longer be used to create other Kronoid products, including the Captain sex dolls. Yun.
In the final simulation, Jung_E appears to be downcast, but when her body is brought to be destroyed, she escapes with Seo-hyun’s guidance. Seo-hyun transfers his brain into a basic android and they leave on a train. During a fight with director Kim, who is actually an android of Kronoid’s young president, Seo-hyun is shot. After Kim dies, Seo-hyun tells Jung_E to leave her behind and live only for herself. Jung_E escapes and, now freed from the lab’s simulations, gazes out over a vast open mountainous landscape.
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