Netflix’s ‘Eye of the Storm’ takes the audience to 2003, when a hospital in Taipei is quarantined after it is identified as the hotbed of an infectious disease. Told from the perspective of different characters, all of whom have dreams and motivations that separate them from others, the story unfolds a compelling tale of what it means to be human in times like these. While the events in the movie take place twenty years ago, it transports the audience to just three years back, evoking the time when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its worst. This connection with the premise and the characters makes us wonder what the future holds for the people in the hospital. What happens to them in the end? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD
Eye of the Storm Synopsis
Dr. Zheng Xia has finished his shift at the hospital and wants to get home as soon as possible to be with his daughter on her birthday. Things are already a little volatile between him and his wife, who hates the fact that her husband is almost always occupied by work at times when he should be at home. Xia makes it out of the hospital and is halfway through when he is called back to perform surgery on a patient who was admitted during his shift. He gets the cab driver to turn around and drop him back at the hospital. When he is done with the surgery and ready to leave, he discovers that the hospital has been quarantined.
Xia’s patient, Jin You Zhong, who is a journalist, wrote an article about the possible outbreak of the SARS virus. Jin is the first to tell Xia that someone in the hospital is infected. He also knew that something like a lockdown could happen in the hospital, which is why he isn’t shocked when it actually happens. Instead, he focuses on finding patient zero to locate the virus’s origin.
Eye of the Storm Ending: Who was the SARS Carrier?
When Xia finds out about the quarantine, his first instinct is to find a way out of the hospital. He tries different exits, but they are blocked, leaving no way in or out of the hospital. He thinks about hiding out in one of the rooms but is discovered by Jin, who tells him about his quest to find the infected patients, whose identities still aren’t revealed. Jin asserts that the earlier they can identify these patients, the earlier they can make a case to the authorities to let the people without risk of infection leave the hospital.
Spurred by the journalist’s words, Xia seeks the records of the patients in the hospital. He lists everyone who died in the hospital in the past ten days. He knows anyone who died of SARS wouldn’t have SARS mentioned in their files because the hospital was trying to keep it quiet. Or perhaps because even they didn’t realize what was happening to the patients. The marker in these cases is death by pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
Xia and Jin narrow the list to a patient named Hua Xing Zhang, the first suspected of dying due to SARS. The other patient in the room then was Fu-Chuan Hsu, who they discover has been moved to the ICU. Before jumping to conclusions, they must confirm that Hsu is also infected. They don’t know why he was admitted to the hospital and if his situation worsened because of that other disease. The problem is that Xia is not allowed in the unit where they are keeping Hsu.
Later, the confirmation comes from Xia’s superiors. They reveal that not only is Hsu infected by the virus, but he was also the one who possibly brought it to the hospital. He got it from his son, who worked at Shiji Engineering, which is confirmed to be the place where the first infection was reported. What alarms Xia and Jin are that Shiji Engineering is a contractor for the hospital, which means that people from there have been moving in and out of the hospital all this while. They narrow down this connection to the linen staff, all of whom could be infected with the virus, which means that anyone they came in contact with would also be at risk of infection.
Do Zheng Xia and Tai-He Ang Die?
While Xia and Jin chase the leads, Tai-He works tirelessly to help people. He was assigned to Building A, but someone points out that he had been to Building B earlier that day. The other nurses become suspicious of him and refuse to be around him because they worry he might be infected too. Even when there is no proof of his infection, they force him to leave Building A and go to Building B, where all the infected patients are.
While Xing-Yan fights to keep him there, Tai-He decides to leave for Building B anyway. Once there, he joins the sparse staff caring for the patients that everyone else wants to stay as far as from. Tai-He follows every precaution to save himself, but somehow the virus gets to him. When he monitors his temperature, he discovers that he is running a fever, which confirms that he is, in fact, infected.
Even when his condition worsens, Tai-He remains conscious for the safety of others. He checks his own vitals so that another doctor doesn’t have to come into his room and make contact with him. When he notices that the patient in the next room is on the verge of death, he gives him CPR because no other doctor is around. Even when the doctors arrive, he doesn’t stop until the patient is revived. In the final scene, we find him sitting on the floor outside that patient’s room.
For Xia, things take a turn for the worse when he discovers that the patient he performed surgery on earlier that day worked for the linen department and died of SARS. When he checks his temperature, he discovers he has a fever, which he knows will worsen with time. Even before discovering he was infected, Xia decided to stay at the hospital after seeing how some doctors and nurses were hiding out, leaving a few others to take care of the uninfected patients. He didn’t want to be the person who left them in their hour of need.
When confirmed that he has SARS, Xia goes forward with performing surgery on the pregnant woman who was found to be infected. Xia knows that the surgery could get tricky, and someone experienced like him is needed to save the woman’s life. He also knows that if someone else takes their place, they would be at risk of infection. For him, it doesn’t matter if he is exposed to the infection from the patient because he already has the virus.
In the final scene, we find Xia in Building B, as he calls his family, presumably to say his goodbyes. He knows his chances of making it out alive are rather slim, but he doesn’t mention any of that to his daughter and wife. Following the call, he sees Tai-He sitting at a distance. They acknowledge each other’s presence, realizing the other is also infected. It is not confirmed what happened to them or whether they made it out alive. But they’re both content that they did their duty diligently and saved at least one life that day.
What Happens to Xing-Yan Lee? Do the Striking Nurses Return to Work?
Xing-Yan Lee is another nurse who watches the system in the hospital crumble as the panic increases. She and Tai-He were dating each other, but no one knew about it. When he is forced to go to Building B, she fights for him but has to bid him goodbye because he has made up his mind. Later, when he becomes infected, he doesn’t tell her about it.
In Building A, things get worse as several nurses and doctors leave their posts and refuse to treat the patients for fear of getting infected. They go on a strike, asking their superiors to get them out of the hospital before they come in contact with the virus. No one listens to their demands, and their actions only worsen it for their coworkers, who are so overworked that they don’t have time to sleep or eat. When one of the patients kills himself, Xing-Yan gets furious and demands the strike end, asking her coworkers to return to work.
No one pays heed to Xing-Yan’s work, and she continues to hold down the fort. In the end, however, it turns out her words reached some of her coworkers, especially their leader, who comes back to work, acknowledging her mistake. Her decision encourages others to give up the strike and return to work, especially considering that more staff members have become infected, rendering them incapable of carrying out their duties. While they still don’t know when the quarantine will be lifted, they have realized that they are the only ones who can do anything in this situation, and if they abandon the patients, all hope will be lost.
Read More: Is Eye of the Storm Based on a True Story?