‘All of Us Are Dead’ Theory: The Jonas Virus Is Affected by Anger and Emotions Outside of Fear

The premise of Netflix‘s All of Us Are Dead Korean drama is teenage students trying to survive a zombie outbreak while trapped in school. The outbreak ties back to a dangerous virus by science teacher Lee Byeong-chan. In All of Us Are Dead K-drama, Byeong-chan gives a backstory to how the Jonas virus works. As the virus infects the students, it gives away a theory of how it mutates and makes certain characters immune.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for All of Us Are Dead.]

Nam-ra and zombies with Jonas virus in 'All of Us Are Dead' staring at each other.
Nam-ra and zombies with Jonas virus in ‘All of Us Are Dead’ | via Netflix

Why did Byeong-chan create the Jonas virus in ‘All of Us Are Dead?’

As soon as the K-drama begins, audiences learn the events are all due to Byeong-chan. When his son is bullied on a rooftop, he shows signs of turning into a form of a monster and survives falling off the ledge. Later on, when Byeong-chan sneaks into the hospital to see his son. But his son convulses and turns into a ravenous monster.

The outbreak occurs when a female student is bitten by a lab mouse hidden in Byeong-chan’s classroom. Audiences soon learn why and how he developed the virus. After his son’s bullies get away with hurting his son and tormenting other students, Byeong-chan wanted to make him stronger.

Taking a mutated hormone in mice, he developed the virus. The Jonas virus turns fear into strength and makes the infected into zombies with no inhibitions. Video diary entries also explain the virus mutates on its own to survive and attacks healthy cells.

As the main characters fight off their classmates, some get infected but do not turn into ravenous and unconscious zombies. There is a possible theory of how the virus mutates depending on the infected person’s emotions.

Nam-ra, Gwi-nam, and Byeong-chan had a mutated version of the virus in ‘All of Us Are Dead’

Could it be that the Jonas virus mutates based on emotions outside of fear? Byeong-chan explained he created the virus to turn his son’s fear into anger and strength. In All of Us Are Dead episode 5, Cheong-san and Gwi-nam are fighting while trying to avoid zombies. When Cheong-sang uses a phone to gouge out Gwi-nam’s eye, he falls and is attacked by a group of zombies.

Cheong-sang refuses to help him, despite his pleas. Gwi-nam is overcome with searing rage and vows to kill Cheong-sam no matter what. As audiences believe Gwi-nam is dead and will turn, he comes back to life as a mutagen of the virus. He has all of a zombie’s abilities but remains conscious of who he is.

When Nam-ra is bitten by a mutated Gwi-nam while trying to save Su-hyeok, she does not turn immediately. Knowing what could happen, she stands strong and is willing to leave. But Su-hyeok stands by her side and protects her, so do On-ja. Throughout All of Us Are Dead, she keeps from turning at bay with the help and love of Su-hyeok and her own resilience. The theory about the virus suggests a person’s emotions before and after being bit affect the mutagen.

Audiences also saw this before Byeong-chan disappeared in episode 4. He willingly sacrifices himself to save the detective and is not afraid of the monsters he created. Later, he is alive and conscious with a mutated version of the virus. In the finale, Nam-ja explains there are more like her.

Audiences never see Cheong-san turn into a zombie in ‘All of Us Are Dead’


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One of the best examples of the mutated virus theory is Cheong-san and Gyeong-su. When Na-yeon purposely infects Gyeong-su, audiences see what he sees as he turns. He starts to panic in fear as the virus creates a hallucination. This proves Byeong-chan’s explanation that fear results in becoming a zombie.

The All of Us Are Dead virus theory also applies to Cheong-san. When Gwi-nam bites him in episode 11, he does not turn right away. He gives On-ja his name tag and confesses his feelings for her. They also have their first kiss. To save his friends, he enters the construction site to end Gwi-nam once and for all. He also attracts the zombies with sound to make a path for the characters to escape.

During the entirety of the scene, audiences never see an indicator of Cheong-san turning. He even shouts it’s the best day of his life. The theory suggests Cheong-san’s emotions of love toward On-ja, his friends, and his bravery resulted in a mutated virus.

All of Us Are Dead is available to stream on Netflix.