Random Thoughts On Season 2 of Netflix’s Kingdom:
***WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS***
1. I’ve hardly been watching Korean dramas lately, no matter how popular it is. K-drama viewing requires focus; it’s not just something I can put on while doing something else. Because, you know, subtitles. However, I made exception with Kingdom Season 2. I’ve been waiting for this for ages. And since it’s only six episodes, it’s quite easy to binge-watch.
2. Right after the first 19 minutes of Episode 1, I quickly paused Netflix and posted on social media that the first 19 minutes alone is so worth the long wait. It’s THAT good. The excitement, the thrills, the cinematography – OH. MY. GOD THE CINEMATOGRAPHY – and that last frame when Prince Chang and his cohorts were able to escape the zombie herd. That’s more than enough for me to say that I’m fully satisfied.
3. But wait, there’s more! You think they slowed down after that? No! Never! Right at the beginning of Episode 2, we see the backstory: Apparently, the resurrection plant? Was a biological weapon that they used to win the war against the Japanese. Which eventually backfired against them and wrecked havoc towards the entire kingdom. Sounds familiar, isn’t it? Wasn’t that how COVID-19 was said to have originated from?
4. At the 13:30 mark of Episode 2, I hit ‘pause’ once again and gave that awesome plot twist a freakin’ STANDING OVATION. Not only was it totally unexpected, especially at Episode 2. The execution was just fantastic. And I’m overdosing on the emoji.
5. Within all that fabulously-executed zombie scenes is the heart of the story: the Joseon-era political drama. It’s still classic sageuk with all the twists and turns, but still seamlessly weaved through all that blood and gore. I have to commend the writer for coming up with such a tightly-packed story that’s so fast-paced, yet leaving you wanting for more. Six episodes is just too short, ya know? We want more, and we want it NOW! (OK, maybe not now. SOON, maybe?)
6. Another reason why this drama works is the ACTING. Again, I’m amazed at how Joo Jihoon seems to have this innate royal aura in him. He could be standing in the middle of the crowd (living or otherwise) and you just know who to call, ‘Your Majesty’.
You know what? I could enumerate the entire cast including all the zombies and I’ll say they all killed it in the acting department. Everyone did so well.
7. One thing I love about Kingdom, especially Season 2: the strong female characters. Bae Doo Na’s Seo Bi is the calmest, most intelligent character in this drama. If everyone turned out dead (or undead) in the entire kingdom, she will be the only one who will survive. Meanwhile, The Queen turned out to be not just a bitch, but the Biggest Bitch Of Them All. Just when you thought her father Cho Hak Ju (Ryu Seung Ryong) is the main villain in this drama, nope, you guessed it wrong!
8. I wouldn’t want to end this review without raving some more about the production values. I just found myself with my mouth wide-open quite a number of times while watching. Amazing execution of scenes paired with brilliant story-telling + excellent acting, this drama was just top-notch.
9. Of course, since it was hyped during promo period, I watched out for Jun Ji Hyun’s cameo. She appeared in the end. Which means, there’s a Season 3 and she will be on it.
10. Apparently, Kingdom is more aligned with the COVID-19 pandemic than we all think. Other than it’s a pandemic that apparently started as a man-made experiment meant to be used as biological weapon and a lockdown is needed to avoid mass infections, it turned out that one way to save yourself from it is to take a nice, long bath.