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The Ending Of Kingdom: Ashin Of The North Explained

Contains spoilers for "Kingdom: Ashin of the North"

"Kingdom" may have been Netflix's first original Korean series, but it's quickly grown into a behemoth for the streaming service. It follows a zombie outbreak that occurs during the Joseon era of Korea's history. It's an intense drama filled with ample horror and intrigue, which is why it came as no surprise when the first season premiere came with a Season 2 announcement shortly after its release. 

Season 2 carried on the high caliber fans had come to expect with the show when it debuted in March 2020. Now that we're in 2021, it's only natural for audiences to anticipate Season 3 sometime in the near future. That's why fans were taken by surprise when a new "Kingdom" movie special, titled "Ashin of the North," came out to hold viewers over until more episodes arrived.

For the time being, "Ashin of the North" offers plenty of excitement and is bound to play a significant role going into the future of the series, even if much of the story functions as a prequel to the main series. It makes for a great starting-off point for people who haven't seen the rest of the series because you can follow along with what transpires. But what does the ending of "Kingdom: Ashin of the North" holds for the show's future?

Ashin's motives are revealed

"Kingdom" Season 2 ended with the reveal of a new mysterious antagonist coming into the fold by the name of Ashin (Jun Ji-hyun). When we first met her, she kept zombies inside boxes, and it was unclear precisely what her motives entailed. "Kingdom: Ashin of the North" gives us much-needed exposition and shows why Ashin should not be trifled with. 

Much of the movie depicts Ashin's depressing backstory. She lost her family and even had to kill her own father when she discovered him captured and amputated by enemy forces. She's been through a lot, and when it seems like she can't take any more, she turns on the Kingdom of Joseon, killing various soldiers in the process. She then goes back to her village that was destroyed so many years ago, where we learn she converted some of her family members and her former neighbors into zombies with the resurrection plant. We then see her sell the plant to a physician, which sets into motion the events of the series starting from Season 1.

We only get a glimpse of what Ashin's capable of in the mainstay series, and this special shows how ruthless she's become. She's slaughtered numerous men without mercy, going so far as to allow the zombies to devour the soldiers without trying to help them. Knowing that she keeps her undead loved ones locked away also hints that perhaps she's searching for a cure to the disease. Only time will tell if she's successful or if she'll have to put them down as she did with her father. 

Ashin will be a main antagonist moving into Kingdom Season 3

"Kingdom: Ashin of the North" doesn't merely provide us with exposition on how the zombie outbreak started in the first place. It also lets us know that Ashin has been an antagonist the entire time. She's lurked in the shadows, and barely anyone she's met has been left alive to realize what a problem she can be. Even now, the characters we've known all along, such as Seo-bi (Bae Doona) and Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon), have no idea who she is and didn't even see her in the Season 2 finale.

No doubt Ashin has a bone to pick with Lee Chang, considering he's the Crown Prince of the Joseon Dynasty. Ashin seeks revenge on all those who tore her family and way of life apart. She won't stop until everyone has suffered as much as she has, and thanks to "Ashin of the North," the audience understands her better than ever. If Season 3 had come first, most people would've gone into it hating her merely because she's an antagonistic force. With the movie premiering, viewers become conflicted. It's hard to see her purely as a villain when she has a pretty reasonable explanation for wanting revenge on everyone affiliated with the power structure that caused her to lose everything.

Expect more bloody battles and zombie action to take place when Season 3 finally comes out. It's going to be an emotional ride.