Zombie Kingdom: Ah Sin from the North / Kingdom: Ashin of the North
Genre historical horror
Directed by Kim Sung Hoon
Cast: Jung Ji Hyun (Ah Sin), Kim Si Ah (young Ah Sin), Park Byung Eun (Min Chi Rok), Kim Rwe Ha (Ah Sin’s father), Kwon Beom Taek (Dr. Lee), etc.
Студии AStory, B. A. Entertainment, Baram Pictures
Release year 2021
“Kingdom” was the first Korean series to be released in 2019 for the streaming platform Netflix. The six episodes, in which the historical genre was combined with zombie horror, were also remembered for cruel palace intrigues – these were insidious wars for the right to ascend the throne and the extermination of all who could interfere with the usurpation of power.
The second season of “Kingdom” with the same number of episodes adequately continued the plot of the first season, which ended at the most interesting, when a horde of zombies appeared in front of the heroes – it became even more difficult to destroy the dead than before. Fortunately, the sequel did not disappoint. It retained the magnificent royal decorations and residences of the rulers, and to them the showrunners added even more large-scale battles with rich action and thoughtful choreography of actors from the extras.
The showrunners didn’t tease viewers with vague explanations, answering key questions by the end of the twelfth episode. At the same time, the creators quite clearly hinted that this was far from the end, and in the last seconds of the final episode of the second season they showed a completely new character. It was a heroine named Ah Sin – it is to her that the special, which appeared on Netflix at the end of July, is dedicated.
With the special episode “A Sin from the North”, a very interesting situation turned out – this is not at all a fan service and not a conditional expansion of an alternative universe, but a full-fledged backstory that becomes a shocking prologue to the events of the first and second seasons.
Of course, it’s more interesting to watch it after reading all the episodes of the series (then episodic appearances of two familiar characters will be clear), but there is an option for viewers to do otherwise – if you haven’t seen a single episode, acquaintance with the Kingdom may well begin with a prequel.
It is worth noting that the opening credits of “A Sin from the North” with brief information about the territorial distribution of land can confuse absolutely all viewers – new and prepared for two seasons. However, you should not be afraid, as the plot unfolds, the relationship between the tribes and groups will become clear, as well as the reasons for their long-term enmity.
Unlike the series, the events of the special take place far from the splendor of the royal palaces, and there are no heirs here claiming the throne. In the center of the plot, a small border village of the Jurchens is a tribe of strangers who, due to military events, settled in Joseon. People from the tribe have lost touch with their roots, but never became local – the Joseon people despise them and use them for their own purposes, without providing any help. Young Ah Sin sees her father being forced to become a spy while her mother dies of a terminal illness. The girl believes that she will be able to find a rare plant in the forest that can heal, but she does not even know what awaits her when she returns to the village.
The special episode brings together a new cast, led by actress Jung Ji Hyun (we saw her at the end of the second season). The atmosphere here is also slightly different – more gloomy, and this is not about the policy of the reigning persons, but about the actions of the commanders-in-chief, who are trying to maintain the inviolability of the lands at any cost. A special role in the special will be played by the forest on the territory of Phesagun, where strangers are forbidden to go. Locals spread rumors that a predatory monster lives there, but people who enter the forest thicket may turn out to be worse than monsters.
It is clear that from the special episode of the “Kingdom” viewers are waiting for another batch of zombies. And the undead will definitely appear, but it will not happen immediately and not in such quantities as in the series, and without spectacular battles.
But in the special there will be a curious discovery, with which the scriptwriters will fully compensate for the lack of palace intrigues. Thanks to this revelation, we will get to know the cold-blooded antagonist and see the direction in which the plot of the third season will move.
Perhaps, after two seasons of the series, the special episode will not seem so exciting, at first even too confusing in the territorial plot. However, you should not stop watching, the special has an interesting story of revenge, as well as the basis for the continuation of the “Kingdom”.
Pros: a full-fledged background of the new character; the events of the film are important for understanding the whole story of the “Kingdom”; You can start your acquaintance with the series with this one and a half hour prologue Cons: fewer zombies; confusing territorial entry Conclusion:
a rare case when a special episode becomes not a fan service, but a full-fledged prequel. He sets the stage for the third season of Kingdom.