Netflix’s Kingdom Season 2 left audiences with a major cliff-hanger when ex-Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji Hoon) and Seo Bi (Bae Doona) journeyed north in pursuit of the origins of the resurrection plant after facing off the zombie horde. Shortly after arriving at a seemingly empty village, they come face-to-face with Ashin (Gianna Jun Ji Hyun), who’s seen standing among undead who have been locked up.
The abrupt appearance of this new, mysterious character left many questions unanswered and had viewers guessing and thirsting for more. Who is she? Is she also a zombie hunter and researcher like Lee Chang and Seo Bi? Will they band together to save the world? Could she, like the undead, be out for blood? If she’s leading the apocalypse, the question is, why? All of that is explored in the 92-minute Kingdom special, Kingdom: Ashin of the North.
1. A tale of two tribes
Kingdom Season 2 ended with the ex-Crown Prince Lee Chang and Seo Bi discovering that the plant originated from the Yalu River region on the Chinese border and are told by villagers that someone from China has been selling seeds and instructions on how to use the plant across Joseon. This seemed to imply that the resurrection plant was a conspiracy organised by the Chinese to take down Joseon, which we quickly learn is not entirely true.
Kingdom: Ashin of the North takes place in the northern region of Joseon-era Korea where the Pajeowi tribe and the Seongjeoyains reside. The Pajeowi tribe are of East Asian Tungusic ancestry, also known as the Jurchen people. This means they’re not actually Koreans but live close to China, Korea, and Japan. The Seongjeoyains, also Jurchens, have lived in Joseon Korean lands for over 100 years.