The Long Plot, Sans Spoilers
Kingdom is back from the dead (technically, a 13-month hiatus) as Season 2 picks up from the first season's big cliffhanger, with Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji Hoon) and his men trying to fend off the undead horde—in broad daylight!—and prevent them from entering the capital. As if a swarm of terrifying flesh-eating zombies is not enough, the prince also has to stop Lord Cho (Ryu Seung Ryong) and his power-hungry family from claiming the throne. Surrounded by enemies, traitors, and the undead, Prince Lee relies on physician Seo-bi (Bae Doona) to unravel the mysteries of the resurrection plant and the horrific plague it caused. To make things even worse, no one is truly safe because there might be more to the disease than they initially thought.
The Short, Honest Plot
As the undead continue to ravage on innocent people and while the Cho family inches closer to the throne, you're left to realize who the real monsters are.
The Actors And Where You Last Saw Them
Ju Ji Hoon as Crown Prince Chang
OG K-drama fans may remember Ji Hoon from his breakthrough performance in the 2006 romantic comedy Princess Hours. Before starring in Kingdom, the actor already had roles in numerous sageuks such as I Am The King and The Treacherous.
Bae Doona as Seo Bi
Known for her versatility and unique visuals, the multi-awarded actress is no stranger to "monster" films, having starred in Bong Joon Ho's The Host. She burst into the Hollywood scene with the 2012 film Cloud Atlas and starred in sci-fi offerings Sense8 and Jupiter Ascending.
Kim Hye Joon as Queen Cho
Hye Joon worked with Bae Doona in the 2018 romantic comedy-drama Matrimonial Chaos! A year later, she starred in the dysfunctional family film Another Child, earning her the Best New Actress award at the 40th Blue Dragon Film Awards.
Ryu Seung Ryong as Lord Cho Hak Ju
The veteran actor gained worldwide recognition through the 2013 tear-jerker film Miracle in Cell No.7. He has starred in some of Korea's highest-grossing films, including Masquerade, Extreme Job, and The Admiral: Roaring Currents.
Did You Know?
- Jun Ji Hyun, best known for her roles in My Sassy Girl and My Love From The Star, made an appearance in the last episode of Season 2. Viewers are FREAKING OUT over her character and the possibilities of a third season!
- Kingdom is actually based on the 2014 webtoon series The Kingdom Of The Gods, penned by the show's screenwriter Kim Eun Hee.
- Descendants Of The Sun's Song Joong Ki was first offered the role of Crown Prince Lee Chang but according to his then-agency Blossom Entertainment, the actor turned the role down to focus on his wedding to Song Hye Kyo that same year.
What My Friend Thinks:
"Season 2 was worth the wait! As a history junkie, I appreciated the references to real historical events like the Japanese invasions of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. I also loved the culmination of the characters' revenge against Lord Cho and his family and I was so thrilled when Seo-bi discovered how to cure the disease. I am really looking forward to the next season!"—Robin
What I Think:
The opening action sequence—which lasted for a whopping 15 minutes—delivered a nail-biting encounter with the undead horde on the outskirts of the city. I sat on the edge of my seat, LITERALLY, while attempting (and failing) to figure out who will and won't survive by the end of Episode One. Banking on a massive production budget, Kingdom prides itself on beautifully choreographed sequences and stunning visual storytelling to recreate Korea's historical Joseon period with the addition of blood-hungry creatures.
Being no stranger to sageuks, I came to expect complex political conflicts coupled with the zombie genre I love, and boy, was I in for a ~bloody~ treat. More than just a zombie flick, Kingdom at its core is a social commentary. Viewers have front row seats in witnessing a kingdom on the verge of collapse as it tries to simultaneously battle a zombie outbreak from the outside and a political conspiracy that's causing decay from the inside. To think that the plague all started due to an influential family's lust for more power and partly because of famine-stricken peasant communities, the series forces us to examine human nature and morality. In the event of a national or international crisis, will you put righteousness above all else and think of others, or will you save yourself first?
As things are not always black and white, Season 2 provides more backstory and development for the characters we love and love to hate (ahem, Queen Cho). All characters have their own motivations and reasons for their actions, even the so-called villains. One particular character that made a strong impression is the traitor among Prince Chang's most trusted allies. Although he betrayed the prince, I can't help but empathize with his situation and shed buckets of tears when he was finally reunited with Chang during his final moment. My favorite villain of all is the mad Queen Cho. To be honest, I was more scared of her than the zombies!
With the introduction of a mysterious character in the last few seconds of Episode 6, viewers can't help but be intrigued as to what the faith of the people in the kingdom will be. Until then, I'll find comfort in the fact that winter will soon turn into spring and this too (hopefully) shall pass.
I'd Recommend It To:
The drama should be on the to-watch list of hardcore zombie fans! If you like The Walking Dead, World War Z, or Train To Busan, you'll surely enjoy the gore and thrill of this fresh new addition to the zombie genre.
I'd also recommend it to sageuk enthusiasts out there. The series will satisfy your craving for palace backdrops, hanboks, and political storylines.
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