I have been waiting a few weeks to write this piece because it would mean including a lot of spoilers from the Netflix zombie show ‘All Of Us Are Dead’. But now that it’s been some time since season 1 came out, guess all those who would’ve been potentially pissed over spoilers, might have already seen the series by now.

The primary plot focuses on a group of high-school students trying to survive a zombie apocalypse, hoping they would be rescued by the military eventually. As soon as I was done seeing the first season, I couldn’t help but think of how the Korean show is probably steering towards a new era of the ‘zombie-vampire’. Let me explain…

In the series, a virus spreads through the population that turns them into rabid thoughtless human-eating beings. They are quick on their feet, but their vision is impaired, so they rely on sounds to follow people. However, in a major twist, some of those affected by the virus manage to retain their intelligence, so they can see, talk & emote like their regular selves, but develop a strong affinity for human flesh. A character in the show hilariously refers to them as ‘halbies’ – short for half human and half zombie.

In a bizarre but convenient explanation, a character in Episode 9 explains to the military how the ‘halbies’ can be asymptomatic and show know signs of being infected. “She tests both negative and positive, depending on when we test her,” a military medical person say. The virus is said to have mutated in these cases, ‘hiding in the RNA of cells’ and can be detected only when it manifests, so the affected don’t display external signs when it’s dormant.

That’s why one of the primary protagonists – Namra – who turns into a halbie, looks normal even after being bitten by a zombie. However there are times when her eyes go blood-shot red and she gets a strong urge to bite off her crush’s face. She fights back the animal instincts and continues to be with the main group of human-students trying to survive and with her enhanced half-zombie senses, she is able to help reduce the chances of her friends dying.

The series ends with the high-school students finally making it to the Quarantine Zone, while Namra hangs back, fearing detection. So she stays back in the bombed district, while her friends go on to live in the military run quarantine camp at the border. Three months later, the zombie breakout is said to be largely contained, but residents from the ground-zero district remain in quarantine due to fears over the unpredictable nature of the zombie-virus. The high-school students who survived decide to go back to their school and see if Namra is doing okay.

So season 1 ends with a cliffhanger, where the teenagers go back to the terrace of their school, and Namra jumps to the roof like a super-human. There’s a mildly emotional reunion and Namra explains she had been doing just fine, hanging out with other halbies like her. In a cryptic claim, she says she still has a lot of things to do. She then says “they’re back, I’ll be back soon” and jumps off the roof. Everybody looks bewildered and scared as she practically flies off. End credits.

Who is back? And what does Namra intend to do when she is back? Did she lure them back into the city so that they could be served as easy dinner for her halbie friends? Even if that’s not her intention, will her new friends resist the urge to eat up her old pack? Or are they planning to see and build a strong halbie army of their own? After all, the pack that survives made a damn good team. There are a multiple possibilities that can be explored in the next season.

The smartest thing for these halbies to do would be to blend in, live like the great old vampires from classic Gothic fiction or like those from the more modern comic-series ‘American Vampire’ by Scott Snyder. All they have to do is pretend to be completely human, lure their victims, eat them and ensure nothing is left of them. Because it’s made pretty clear that there is no guarantee that a halbie’s bite will turn the victim into one too.

At this stage of the series, we don’t yet know if these half-humans would enjoy eternal youth or near immortality like vampires. We do know this, they are stronger, faster and heal like wolverine, so they already have an advantage over the rest of the species. So the halbies from ‘All Of Us Are Dead’ simply have to take notes from another Netflix show ‘Castlevania’, where vampires have infiltrated the human world, living largely normal lives to avoid being slayed, feeding on animal blood, reserving human killings for special occasions. That’s not to say the Castlevania vampires keep a low profiles… nope… most of them a rich folks living in fancy castles and a lot of them are royalty/regional leaders and generals (the show is set in the 15th century). Or there is the more recent Korean vampire-themed 2021 show set in present day, “The Sweet Blood”, where vampires carry around animal blood in flasks.

So if Namra and her gang play their cards right, there might become the new bosses of the world. They could go on to become mayors, police chiefs, business heads, billionaires or even the head of the nation, who knows…. and so, there will be a dawn of the Zombie-Vampire era in Korea. Or rest of the world.

By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

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Ep 66: 5 Things That Keep ‘All Of Us Are Dead’ Alive