The Final Stand
The season 2 finale of Kingdom begins with the remaining survivors working together and contemplating how they’re going to survive the night. Chang tells them not to die for him as the Queen sits atop her throne and watches as the undead pour through.
Seo-Bi unleashes fire on the ground and lights a torch in a bid to keep them in check as the mad Queen allows herself to be attacked and eaten by the zombies. Seo-Bi keeps the hordes around her at bay, snatching up the screaming baby and using a burning robe to flee from the chambers and make it to safety.
Meanwhile, the rest of the guards decide to try and get Chang out via the rear garden. He formulates a plan to use themselves as bait, dropping blood into the gutters as a distraction while marching across the rooftops.
Beom-Pal slips, leading Young-Shin to save him with a well-placed bullet to the head of the ravenous zombie closing in on him. Unfortunately one of the other soldiers is not so lucky, and the undead use him as a stepping stone to get up to the roof. Once there, Chang and the others fight off the zombies one by one while trying to get across the rooftop.
As the numbers look set to overwhelm him, he drops the shingles on the guttering and continues to march across to safety. With all the undead following them across the roof, it’s just what Seo-Bi needs to escape. Only, she finds the child bleeding and as she puts it down, she looks in shock at where it’s been bitten on the arm.
Meanwhile, Chang and the others make it to the frozen lake to make their last stand. The undead storm across the lake. The soldiers use their remaining bullets to shoot the ice, in a bid to have them all completely collapse into the icy waters, while the rest of the group engage in hand to hand combat with the zombies.
Chang finds himself bitten in the shoulder and while the rest of the group become overwhelmed by the undead, Chang uses his bare fists and every ounce of strength left to try and break the ice.
As all hope looks set to be lost, another wave of the undead is enough for Chang to try and double his efforts as an undead Hak-Joo charges right for him. As he does, Chang uses his momentum to knock the man into the lake head-first and finally breaking the ice as everyone plunges into the water.
With the ice broken and the parasitic worms in their cuts gone, the survivors gasp for air and make it to the surface. In the aftermath of the fight, they make it to the palace where Chang is told he needs to put the child to death to avoid a revolt from the people.
Chang wanders through the palace and finds Seo-Bi and the child. She implores him not to kil Moo-Young’s son but Chang raises the sword and looks set to kill… until we jump forward 7 years later to see the undead threat has gone. Chang clearly spared the child too and instead, has helped make him the young King of the land. The records are locked and the true nature of what happened to the young King is kept a secret. The various survivors (excluding Chang who’s noticeably absent) decide to do their best to prevent him finding out the truth about the undead.
In Hanyang, Young-Shin arrives and greets Beom-Pal where we then cut back in time and see that Chang obviously didn’t kill the child and instead makes her promise that he’s definitely cured from infection. With her telling him the worms left his body, Chang realizes that one person needs to die. That person being himself. He tells Kim Sun to help guide this child to become the best King for the land and sacrifices himself, disappearing into the light and presumably not to be heard from again.
As we see through the narration of Seo-Bi writing in her journal, we learn what happened to spread this disease so far. However, as we soon learn the infection hasn’t gone completely. The resurrection plant can still be found in remote parts of the country.
As we cut to Seo-Bi and Chang, we see them working together, heading to the Hwanghae Providence to try and track down someone who’s working on releasing the infection once more. Young-Shin hands Seom-Pal the journal and gives him an ominous warning that there could be another infection in the future.
Seo-Bi and Chang make it to their destination where they hear bells clinking as they stand at the ready. An infected man charges for them but Chang beheads it. However, more bells clinks in the distance as another outbreak looks likely.
As the camera pans across the ravaged landscape, we see inside a house where the undead are kept inside boxes as a mysterious woman is clearly the one starting this infection again and she’s the one who’s been spreading this resurrection plant around the country. That woman, as it turns out, is Jeon Ji-Hyun. She turns to face the camera and as she does, we cut back to the palace where one of the parasitic worms wriggle up the Prince’s face where the season ends.
The season 2 finale of Kingdom is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the early action and fighting is exciting and the last stand on the ice gives off a serious Game Of Thrones vibe in terms of the undead threat being an actual credible threat like it was in the early seasons of that show. Kingdom, up until this point, has made the undead such a credible threat that the jump through time feels a bit disingenuous to the story. Given the way this one ends, the time jump feels like it may pay off and given this one has already been renewed, it’s safe to say there’s certainly more story in the pipeline.
The second half of the episode essentially sets up a third season rather than closing out all the plot threads and while it’s great to see the show continuing forward, we’re left with a lot more questions than answers here. It’s almost as if we’re led to believe the entire undead thread died in these frozen lakes rather than seeing the people fighting back with water to try and stop the undead once and for all – which is something that could have made for a really interesting set of scenes.
There’s no question that Kingdom has made zombies a credible threat again but with them brought back again with bells and a new ring-leader in this Pirate Queen, we could see another evolution to this idea in the future. For now though, the show ends with promise for the future and another season finale that ends things on an agonizing note. In terms of credible zombie series though, Kingdom claws and scratches its way to the top of the pile, making it one of the more exciting and interesting zombie series on TV right now.