Netflix original presents sageuk (historical) zombie thriller series Kingdom. The drama stars Ju Ji-Hoon, Bae Doo-Na, Heo Jun-Ho, and Ryu Seong Ryung among others. The drama is about a prince who is declared a traitor by the corrupted officials after “death” of the king. The King has been turned into a zombie, kept alive and chained by the officials until they are able to install their own person onto the throne. Meanwhile, the prince investigates the case and comes face to face with the zombies.
Kingdom Episode 1-3 Recap
A medical expert with his assistant is brought secretly to the King’s chamber. The assistant is warned not to look at the king as he serves a bowl of blood to the “King”. The assistant is pulled into the kings’ bed as we hear his screams. No one has seen the king for 10 days except the Queen and her father the state councilor, the rumors of King’s death has started spreading. Even the prince is not allowed to see the King, the prince decide to investigate the matter himself. He decides to steal the royal journal (in which everyday moments of King is noted down) while searching he sees a shadow of a monstrous thing which stench like death.
Before he could actually see the monster he is found out by the chief councilor who subtly implies that prince is a traitor who wants his father dead. The prince’s subordinate is able to steal the journal but there are no entries in the journal after King got severely sick. The last entry is written by the royal physician who has already retired three years earlier. The prince decides to investigate the physician and leaves the palace. The physician arrives at his place with the dead body of his assistant, his place is already filled with sick and hungry people.
Elsewhere, the chief councilor forces other nobles to declare the prince as a traitor. Soldiers are sent to bring the prince but he has already left to look for the physician. The chief councilor sends soldiers to Dongnae (where the physician live) to kill the prince. Meanwhile, one of the sick patients uses the dead body of the dead assistant in the soup and gives it to all the other sick and hungry people. Later, in the night all the people who ate the soup get sick and turn into human eating zombies.
The Prince and his assistant arrive at the physician house which is barricaded by the bamboo spears some of which have blood on it. The Prince and his assistant enter the house, the inside of the house is as creepy as it is from outside. There are blood stains on the walls, doors are broken and on the top of that, the prince found a lot of dead bodies as well. His assistant hides the prince’s identity and calls the soldier and the magistrate (his first day on the job) of the town to handle the bodies and catch the culprit. The person who cooked the soup (Young-Sin) is suspected of all the murders. While the town soldiers are looking for Young-Sin the prince continues his investigation into the physician and founds out about Seo-Bi (one of the physician’s assistant).
They find her in the mountains where she is looking for something. She looks exhausted and there is blood on her hands and clothes. She tells them that the physician is already dead and the reason for all the deaths in her town and Hanyang (capital city) is a plant called resurrection plant. When she finds out that the corpses from the house are removed she gets really scared. Meanwhile, the examiners are examining the corpses they find that the bite marks on the corpses are of humans. Young-Sin sees that the corpses are gone he goes to magistrate’s office (where corpses are held). He tells them to burn the bodies soon otherwise they will wake up.
Seo-Bi tells the same thing to the prince while rushing towards the magistrate’s office. Seo-Bi arrives at the office and begs them to burn the bodies before they wake up, no one believes her and Young-Sin. The sun sets and the corpses start to wake up and start attacking people just as she said. Meanwhile, the prince arrives at the physician’s house for further investigation, where he meets the soldiers sent by the chief councilor to kill him. He gets into a fight when they are attacked by a Zombie (physician’s corpse). The prince is saved but his enemies perish including the son of the chief councilor.
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The magistrate’s office has turned into a massacre after everyone is attacked by the zombies. The magistrate survives after he locks himself in the same cell with Seo-Bi. The zombie’s attacks soon spread from the magistrate’s office to the whole town. The number of deaths and zombies starts to increase at a rapid pace. The prince and his assistant are able to survive somehow. Elsewhere, the chief counselor is feeding the Zombie King with the queen’s maids. Elsewhere, the prince finds out that to kill the zombies they need to cut their head. Later, the sun rises in the town and all the zombies start to run in shades to avoid the sun rays and falls “asleep”.
Next day the soldiers who barricaded themselves with their leader arrived at the magistrate’s office. Young-shin tells them that they need to cut heads of Zombies and burn their corpses in order to stop their resurrection. One of the noble’s mother is totally against decapitating or burning his precious son’s corpse. The prince arrives as well and punches the leader who barricaded the fort and didn’t allow the civilians to enter which led to many deaths. The identity of the prince is revealed and he orders to burn the corpses. He also orders to transport the survivors through the boat before night fall. He further orders to send a messenger for help and burn the signal fire (it used to signal the arrival of attacking enemies from the other empires) as well.
Later, Seo-Bi informs the details of the first Zombie attack at the physician’s house to the prince. She also informs that there is a plant which can cure this disease for good. There are not enough ships to rescue all the survivors. The magistrate, the rich and the soldiers fill the only ship and the other civilians are left stranded. The prince and his assistant are left stranded as well. The mother of the noble from earlier boards the corpse of his son on the ship in secrecy.
I really enjoyed this series, its quite fast pace, great story and a must for zombie horror genre lovers. I can’t wait for the second season. The six episodes just flew by. The quality of drama is really great as you can the amount of money spent on sets. The Zombies look and bite really authentically, the make-up is really top notch.
On forums, I have heard the complaints about the acting of Bae Doo-Na and the queen. I somewhat agree with Bae Doo-Na whereas regarding the queen rather than her acting it was her age that bothered me more. I think they should have casted someone a bit more mature.
Anyways the main star of the show is Ju Ji-Hoon and he doesn’t disappoint at all. He is well matched by Kim Sang Ho and the versatile Ryu Seung-Ryung. If you guys have Netflix and haven’t seen this series yet I will highly advise you to add this to your playlist and binge-watch it.
Ju Ji-Hoon will be seen next in MBC fantasy thriller drama ITEM.