It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before, and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born.

For the curious, here are links to 20082009 (a bad year), 201020112012 (when we left the blog behind), 2013201420152016, 2017, and 2018.

Well, the zombie film we planned on watching last night sounded a little dull and got mixed reviews, so Dr. Girlfriend and called an audible and instead watched two back-to-back episodes of Kingdom and boy, am I glad we did! After the cliffhanger ending of episode 2 where our Crown Prince (Ju Ji-hoon) sees the city of Dongnei in flames (spoilers!), we open with a look back at what happened when the sun went down and the dead woke up. And what happened was an amazingly action-packed solid twenty minutes of grotesque, twitchy, screechy zombies sprinting around, leaping and biting everybody they can find.

Nobody was safe, except for the people who got to high ground on top of buildings, and while some of the more horrific attacks remained off-screen, they weren’t shied away from. I also wanted to note that when I said last time that the gore was light, there is still a ton of blood, just no graphic flesh-rending.

It’s not needed, anyway. The violence of the zombie attacks is enough to do the trick.

But that’s not nearly as disturbing as the way the upper-class fucks over the peasants, and the Crown Prince is having none of it. When he reveals his identity the next morning to the survivors, they are rightfully fearful of his wrath, but he’s more interested in curbing the zombie threat than punishing them. However, incompetence wins out and while the Crown Prince and Moo-Young (Kim Sang-ho) are away, and the nobles and politicians escape on the only surviving boat, leaving everyone else at the mercy of the undead (which they also failed to take care of).

Despite sounding like things are dreary and horrifying all the time, this episode we also got one of the cleverest cockblocks of all time, as Seobi (Bae Doo-na) deliberately misinterprets the intentions of the governmental leader she saved overnight, telling him that his flushed face and rapid heartbeat are probably signs of gonorrhea before being whisked away to see the Crown Prince.

There’s also a fantastic scene during the attack where two prisoners in a cell are locked into a shared stockade, each of them with their heads stuck through holes in opposite ends of a plank. One is turned and the other spends the night trying to avoid being shoved into the arms of the zombies reaching through the cell bars.

Episode 4 opens with the Crown Prince taking charge, yet again, doing everything in his power to get the survivors to the devastated hospital at Jiyuheon, which leads to another extremely effective scare as they discover hordes of zombies sleeping the day away in the nooks and crannies of the forest. The forest they have to pass through to get to safety.

And the sun is about to go down.

The way the show leans into the different threats during the days and nights is really one of its main strengths, because after surviving another night of zombie terror, the Royal Army arrives with orders to arrest the Crown Prince. But it’s not just for treason this time. Lord Cho (Ryu Seung-ryong), the father of the queen and for all intents and purposes, the real ruler of the country, has received the severed head of his son (the Crown Prince beheaded him last episode after he turned into a monster and tried to eat him).

Needless to say, things are heating up, and the slow start of the first episode has given way to equal shares of zombie attacks and political turmoil. Hell, Lord Cho has even decided to no longer keep the king’s state of undeath a secret from high-ranking officials, while also cracking down on the co-conspirators to the Crown Prince’s potential coup.

And I didn’t even mention the fact that the very pregnant Queen (Kim Hye-jun) is secretly bleeding! I don’t even want to know what that’s going to lead to.

I also wanted to point out that after coming off as simply comedy relief in the first couple of episodes, Moo-young has really come on strong as an action hero alongside the Crown Prince. These guys are a great team and by these two episodes, I’m really behind them and want to see them come out on top.

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