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 2008, 2009 (a bad year), 2010, 2011, 2012 (when we left the blog behind), 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Beware. Here there be spoilers.

With the third episode of the season, director Park In-je puts his signature stamp on Kingdom, opening with the rewinding of a massive battle between an invading Japanese army and a horde of zombies. We eventually learn that this is the event from three years prior that earned Lord Ahn (Heo Joon-ho) his reputation as a hero of the nation, against his best intentions, as Minister  Cho (Ryu Seung-ryong) suggests using the Resurrection Flower to turn a village of diseased peasants into a zombie army, rather than lost any more soldiers.

Ahn, when surveying the battlefield after the Japanese were repelled, promises the dead that he will honor their sacrifice. Hard cut to zombified Ahn causing chaos, taking arrow after arrow, and finally attacking Cho, biting a huge chunk out of his face. This allows Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) to step up, demonstrate how to kill a zombie, and make his case for the fact that Cho had reanimated the King and was using him to establish and maintain his own power.

From this point on, the episode is a series of surprises, betrayals, deaths, births, and a power struggle for control of Korea. Oh, and an abject lesson in never underestimating a Queen Consort desperate for a male child.

I haven’t looked ahead at spoilers or into whether or not another season is in development. I hope it is, but damn if every episode this time is costly to our fully established heroes. There has been a major death in each chapter so far and if it keeps going this way, there won’t be any characters to carry over into a third season. While that sucks for the viewers who have fallen in love with these people, it makes for amazing television. It’s almost like every episode is a season finale, but instead of wallowing in nihilism like a certain other historical fantasy series that everybody loved until they didn’t anymore, there’s a sense of hope here that resonates regardless of how grim things may get.

I think that’s my favorite thing about the show. The good guys are truly good people, doing their best and trying to inspire others to do their best. I suppose this could all change by the end, but writer Kim Eun-hee doesn’t seem to be trying to undercut the notion of being a good, honorable hero. Prince Chang is no Ned Stark.

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