‘All of Us Are Dead’: How Does the Virus Work? And What Does It Mean for Nam-Ra?
In the zombie genre of TV and movies, there is always a twist to the viral virus that turns people into monsters. The All of Us Are Dead Korean drama by Netflix follows many similar plot elements seen in the genre regarding its heinous virus. The virus evolved and became much more than ever expected as the K-drama progressed. By the finale of All of Us Are Dead, the virus’s effect on student Choi Nam-ra (Cho Yi-hyun) could be the start of a new breed.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for All of Us Are Dead.]
A high school science teacher is responsible for the virus in ‘All of Us Are Dead’
A lot happens within the first episode of All of Us Are Dead. A student is being bullied on a rooftop and falls off the ledge. The events that occur afterward are what cements the story. Lee Byung-chan (Kim Byung-chul) is the student’s father and sneaks into the ER to see him. Byun-chan knows why his son survived a fall that should have killed him.
When his son starts turning into a monster, he uses a Bible to “kill” him and uses a suitcase to transport the body. The following day at school, a female student is bitten by a caged mouse in Byung-chan’s classroom. Byun-chan is the high school science teacher where All of Us Are Dead K-drama occurs. He kidnaps the student when he realizes she is infected.
After a few days, she breaks free, alerts students and the school nurse, and is taken to the ER. The female student becomes patient zero and begins the domino effect of spreading the virus at school. Byung-chan is arrested by police and reveals why he created the virus in All of Us Are Dead.
Byung-chan developed the virus to help his son
During interrogation, the audience learns Byung-chan has a Ph.D. in cell biology from an American university and returned to Korea to become a researcher at a pharmaceutical company before quitting. He then became a teacher. Byung-chan reveals why and how he created the virus in a video diary cut.
He experimented with cats and mice. The mice would always become a victim to their prey. A mouse would lose all inhibitions and fight back every once in a while, leading to a spike in testosterone. Byung-chun extracted the hormone and refined it to make the virus. But why?
His goal was to turn fear into strength and his son with the virus so he could become a predator. Byung-chun’s son was severely bullied and wanted to die. The virus was Byung-chun’s effort to save his son. The virus in All of Us Are Dead has fatal consequences and the infected become zombies. As the K-drama progresses, the virus becomes deadlier when it starts to evolve.
The Jonas virus created a new form of zombie in ‘All of Us Are Dead’
A zombie drama needed a necessary twist to make things interesting. The school’s bully Yoon Gwi-nam (Yoo In -Soo) became one of the first examples of the mutated virus. After fighting Lee Cheong-san (Yoo Chan-young), he is bitten by zombies. But he comes back to life fully conscious and can self-heal, and is invisible to zombies. Nam-ra is also infected. But she can control her hunger and the virus’s effects.
In another video-diary entry, Byung-chun realized the virus was evolving when it detected antibodies. Nam-ra and another student hold a mutated version of the virus. But in the All of Us Are Dead finale, when the students believed Nam-ra died to save them, they find her alive months later.
She no longer has a mutated left eye or visible signs of infection and explains there are others like her. Nam-ra has super strength, agility, sensitive hearing, and more. This could mean the mutated version of the virus allows humans to look normal but keep all the powers of a zombie. The government failed to find a cure and could mean Nam-ra and the others could be the answer.
All of Us Are Dead is available to stream on Netflix.