This article contains major spoilers for All of Us Are Dead.
As we mentioned in the counterpart to this article, most of the romance in All of Us Are Dead is contained in a single love square. There, we talked about On-jo and Cheong-san, but here, we’re going to delve into the relationship between Su-hyeok and Nam-ra, two of the show’s other key characters. And the question of whether these two end up together is an even more complicated one.
Do Su-hyeok and Nam-ra end up together?
In many ways, again, this is a classic dynamic. Su-hyeok is the bad boy, and even though he no longer hangs around with bullies and has sworn off fighting, his chequered past, handsome features, and martial prowess mean he checks all the boxes. Choi Nam-ra, meanwhile, is the introverted class president who everyone believes is squeaky-clean. And while she might not be as edgeless as everyone thinks, she’s still quietly grappling with personal demons and puts most of her focus on her studies.
These two are the best-looking characters in the show, so there’s a sense they’ll get together even from the beginning. At first, though, Su-hyeok is floated as a potential love interest for On-jo until the Jonas Virus starts to spread through the school and he begins to get closer and closer to Nam-ra, which comes with some real complications.
Most of these complications stem from Nam-ra being bitten by Gwi-nam. However, at this point (and as discussed here), the Jonas Virus has mutated and is now turning the infected into super zombies that retain their sentience. This is the fate that Nam-ra experiences. She develops heightened senses and a bloodlust that she can barely control, but she is also able to recall who she is, and she retains many aspects of her former personality.
Nam-ra is an interesting case study since she’s the only character who is able to stave off her bases impulses – both Gwi-nam and Eun-ji give into them quickly. Part of this is probably the faith that Su-hyeok puts in her. When she first turns, he tethers himself to her physically so that if she is unable to contain herself, she’ll bite him first. On several subsequent occasions, he outright offers himself to her so that she can feed on him rather than her own arm, though she turns him down every time.
I said while recapping the show that this is a clear metaphor for adolescent sexual attraction – Nam-ra talks about the strength of her hunger for Su-hyeok, and how she has never wanted to eat someone as badly as she wants to eat him. It isn’t exactly subtle.
But it’s also part of the plot. As things go on, Nam-ra’s hunger worsens, and eventually, she distances herself from the group and feeds on the flesh of a corpse. This is an important turning point for her and marks the moment she realizes she cannot continue to be part of the main group. She disappears into the mist and doesn’t make it to the quarantine zone after the bombings.
However, since Nam-ra finally bonded with the group during a fireside chat during a rare moment of downtime, it’s this symbol that she uses to attract the survivors in the epilogue. Sneaking out of the quarantine zone, those who survived make their way to the roof of Hyosan High School, where Nam-ra is. By this point, she seems to have her condition under control. Her wounds have healed, and she has learned to live with her abilities. She’s happy with her fate. She promises the others they’ll always remain friends, but she remains behind to help out others like her who also survived the bombing. So, Su-hyeok and Nam-ra don’t end up together, but they do find closure in their relationship.