The Infection Spreads
Episode 1 of All of Us Are Dead begins with a kid called Jin-Soo bullied at school. With rain pouring down and under the neon sign of a cross, Jin-Soo hits back and snaps. With contorting limbs, he launches himself at the other kids… and tumbles down to his death. Or at least, it should be his death.
He’s still alive and taken into hospital with serious injuries. He’s not himself though, and his father, Byeong-Chan, shows up and notices him growling and snarling. Holding a Bible, he apologizes before beating his son down down. It’s not enough though and he’s still alive.
We then skip across to Hyosan High School. Specifically the science lab, where a crazed rat inside a cage bites a girl called Hyeon-Ju. As she holds her bleeding finger, Byeong-Chan shows up. It appears this is his lab and when he notices Hyeon-Ju’s cut, he shuts the door and holds her captive.
After his son went missing, rumours have begun spreading about Byeong-Chan. Kids whisper that he smells like a rotting corpse and since Jin-Soo’s disappearance, he’s slowly been growing more crazed and erratic. Well, if that includes tying up that bitten student and keeping her captive inside his lab then yes, he’s most definitely crazy.
It’s here we settle down a little and start to get to know some of these students. On-Jo is a bright, optimistic kid but her father has absolutely no hopes for her to excel at school. There’s no pressure, and he admits that everyone is equal – especially as he works as a paramedic and see life threatening injures every day.
One of her best friends is Cheong-San, and he clearly likes her. He doesn’t show it though, instead treating her mean. However, that’s nothing compared to the mean bully in school, Gwi-Nam. He’s the guy we saw beating up Jin-Soo at the start of the episode. He turns his attention to a couple of other kids, including Eun-Ji, whom he forces to strip off, and Cheon-Su, who he forces to film.
Su-Hyeok shows and tries to put a stop to this but the kids are scared and succumb to the bullies’ wishes.
Unfortunately, things only get worse for Eun-Ji, who finds herself at Myeong-Hwa’s will. He scribbles over her t-shirt, writing in English “I’m jol sexy” while in class.
While Eun-Ji excuses herself, Hee-Sun does too as she feels under the weather and needs to see the nurse. Hyeon-Ju comes stumbling out from the lab she’s been kept in and is clearly infected. With bloodshot eyes and snarls, the teacher rings the hospital. The other kids mention that Hyeon-Ju smells like a rotten corpse too.
The paramedics arrive to take Hyeon-Ju away, led by On-Jo’s father. On-Jo says goodbye to her dad, potentially for the last time. Hyeon-Ju is not herself and she’s taken to the heart of the city. Unfortunately, when Byeong-Chan realizes that Hyeon-Ju has gone, he’s shocked and urges them to put her in quarantine. Because of his abduction though, he’s approached by several police officers and arrested.
While this is going on, we learn that the school nurse was actually bitten by Hyeon-Ju. It doesn’t take long for her to turn, with black veins protruding from the bite on her arm. As she lies on the floor, convulsing, Gwi-Nam sees her and begins filming. His friend is immediately bitten and turns too.
Through a really slick one-shot take we cut from the drama downstairs to see Eun-Ji up on the roof. She wants to escape her living hell but just before she jumps, several infected students tumble out the window before her, shattering glass and snarling viciously.
The infected continue to grow in numbers, and that poses a particularly big problem for the students inside the canteen. Among them are I-Sak, Cheong-San, Sy-Hyeok and On-Jo. The latter is shocked, and as an infected arrives and pins her down, things have gone from bad to worse.
The Episode Review
All of Us Are Dead gets off to a really solid start here, managing to slowly show the infection spreading and growing across the school. Now, as the screenwriter is the same guy who gave us the disastrous L.U.C.A.: The Beginning last year, let’s hope this series doesn’t take a similarly ludicrous turn.
With a solid 12 episodes to work with, there’s plenty of material to chew through and with the school about to become ground zero for this infection, it remains to be seen who survives.
The opening 20 minutes or so of this episode works so well to introduce the different characters, switching seamlessly from one student to the next as they go about their school-day. As one would expect, these are teenagers so the usual love triangles, bullying etc. are all tackled but it doesn’t deter from the series too much. Especially as this is a day like no other.
The ending hints that we’ve got plenty of drama to come, with the cliffhanger setting things up on a precarious knife edge.