October 19, 2021

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Kingdom: Ashin of the North – How Much Is The Netflix Special Korean Zombie Episode Worth?

Kingdom season 2 was released in early 2020 and no season 3 has been confirmed yet, but Netflix is ​​still sticking with the Korean series as the platform has released a 93-minute special, Kingdom: Ashin of the North, which serves as a prequel back to origins. -The origin of the zombie epidemic. BEWARE OF SPOILERS ON KINGDOM EPISODES AND TWO SEASONS!

EVIL FLOWER
After the start of the zombie epidemic and the burning of the nation in the first batch, season 2 of Kingdom refocused its plot on the plot and the high authorities responsible for the massacre, revealing a new chapter of the web with increasingly complex backgrounds (and we loved it).

In the final seconds of the final episode, former Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) and nanny Seo Bi (Doona Bae) come across a mysterious woman named Ashin (Jun Ji-hyun), who appears to be shooting these strings. royal conspiracy and using zombies as weapons of mass destruction, in addition to being evil villains. A shadowy figure with a Machiavellian design that goes on to embody all the characteristics of the series’ great antagonists, though his rather extreme motivations remain to be discovered.

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This is one of the main goals of this particular episode, Ashin of the North, which is more like a prequel feature film, where screenwriter Kim Eun-hee and director Kim Seong-hun have revived the medieval universe and especially strengthened its geopolitics. dimensions. This spin-off doesn’t shy away from piling up corpses, slashing and shredding human flesh in gruesome sequences that sometimes target B (zombiche and zombie tiger), but focuses more on self-defense intrigue and Joseon maneuvers to get rid of its foes: Jurchen. and more specifically the Pajeowi tribe.

As such, it’s another highlight on the misery and stigmatization of rural communities in the kingdom, one of the themes the series explored in the previous two seasons. If the tone and atmosphere remains gruesome, the first zombie doesn’t appear after an hour of viewing, in a more expert final act that allows the episode to relate to the events of the main series.

The return to the origins of crime may seem disconcerting at first, with a lack of temporal benchmarks, a slightly too dense introductory text and a host of new names to remember, but the stakes come pretty quickly. While deepening the work’s mythology, the audience retains several anchor points, in particular the purple flower that allows the dead to revive and gradually becomes a political instrument used to burn peninsulas and blood (although its existence and power have been known for decades and nature seems to accept it). ).

As another home port, the spin-off calls for Park Byung-eun to reprise her role as Min Chi-rok, who suspects the fault of the infertile Queen in Kingdom season 2. Similarly, the episode once again proves the lack of mercy from the highest authorities and the Haewon Cho clan’s lack of loyalty, which is clearly a habit of diplomatic incidents. On the other hand, we can doubt the immediate usefulness of some of the new characters like Ai Da Gan (Koo Kyo-hwan). He appears to be the ruthless leader of Pajeowi, but only gets a few brief moments in front of the camera, with the screenwriter perhaps giving him a real quarter-hour of fame in the following season.

DESTROY THEM ALL
As the barely referenced hook on the poster points out: “revenge is coming”. As well as pouring into the political thriller and horror genres, Ashin of the North is built primarily as a psychological thriller and revenge film that traces the chaotic journey of an anti-hero succumbing to insanity and cruelty, both the crimes for which he is responsible. misfortune. The trials and traumas she endured as a young child (with Kim Si-a’s very convincing features) lead her to become a tireless, cold and scary woman, whose outer calm exacerbates the inner anger, contained within Korean star Jun Ji-hyun. straight face.

Like zombies whose mere metaphor for our own inhumanity plagues society, Ashin is therefore only the umpteenth collateral damage in a clan war that will turn against the executioner and ignite the powder. But his transformation into a genocidal fighter is perhaps the series’ crudest trait, with a slightly too Manichean reversal, which definitely gives it a more theatrical and artificial aspect, even if this dramaturgy remains fairly effective in its absence. be yourself.

Summarizing the journey of several years in 90 minutes while shining the lens on one character, the narrative is sure to find itselfa discontinuous at times, with a lot of exposure and a blatant underdevelopment of some of the characters that remain. One-dimensional and that psychology is barely touched. Yet we can rejoice not to see with Ashin of the North as a by-product of Kingdom, but rather a narrative and dramatic bracket that has benefited from the same aesthetic attention to going beyond the visual ambitions of the television format and offering objects that tend to be more cinematographic.

Whether through artistic direction, photography, shot composition, play of light, variety of settings (dark forests, green plains, desert landscapes, and snow-capped mountains) or different framing, this special episode reminds us that Kingdom to date was one of those proposals. the most ambitious and unique in the Netflix catalog. Therefore we can’t wait for the announcement of the third season, but also the next special episode, which this time will revolve around the journey of the Crown Prince, still played by Ju Ji-hoon.