For those waiting, the second season of the long-awaited Korean zombie series is finally here.
My initial master plan was to watch the first episode and write a review after. Fast forward a few hours, I found myself completing the series in the wee hours.
“I think the real story begins in Season 2,” says Bae Doona, who plays physician Seo-bi.
The story picks back up where it left off in Season 1. But it progresses with breakneck speed, opening in medieval Korea with a large-scale opening featuring hoards of infected zombies chasing after humans, hungry for human blood.
The plague is the primary backdrop for the plot. In the case of an unexpected plague outbreak, writer Kim Eun-hee said that she wanted to portray “people making choices and striving to overcome their difficulties within the confines of their social class and position”.
Ironically, these menacing-looking zombies don’t turn out to be the only monsters in the series. The incessant power struggle between Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon), Minister Cho Hak-ju (Ryu Seung-ryong) and the Queen Consort Cho (Kim Hye-jun) branches out to betrayal, deceit and exploitation.
Like many other Korean films, the attention to minute details was notable. Death and killings are rampant throughout, hinted by foreshadows in the earlier episodes.
The metaphorical depiction of crows squawking signalled impending deaths. So, here’s a piece of advice for the faint-hearted: a tinge of gore is unavoidable.
Afterall, the tagline for the season is “blood will spill”, which becomes evident in the later part of the series.
Blood signifies revenge, feud and victory. “Struggling to survive, and fighting to protect the family, [are all] ideas encapsulated in the word blood,” Ryu Seung-ryong, who plays Cho Hak-ju, explained.
Amidst all the gore, monologues are kept to a minimum. Characters don’t tell the story directly, leaving room for imagination, evoking thought from the viewers.
So, if you have questions itching at the back of your head, fret not, because you’re not alone. But everything will fall in place in the last two episodes.
Though a historical piece, the situations enacted eerily depict present-day society. Who knows, we might be all living in a “kingdom” where we witness and experience the battle for power.
The series ends on a cliffhanger, yet again. Is that a tease for the third season of the drama? Guess we’ll have to wait to find out.