Gyeongseong Creature Season 1 Part 2 Review – The season might be over, but the story certainly isn’t

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: January 6, 2024 (Last updated: last month)
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Gyeongseong Creature Season 1 Part 2 Review
Gyeongseong Creature | Image via Netflix
3.5

Summary

The first season of Gyeongseong Creature bows out with a blatant tee-up for Season 2, but it remains an impressive thriller and poignant metaphor in its own right.

It is only two weeks since Gyeongseong Creature Season 1 Part 1 was released on Netflix to much fanfare, which hardly seems like any time at all. Part 2 consists of the remaining three episodes, all equally hefty, which have the unenviable objective of both providing a reasonable conclusion to the first season’s story while also brazenly setting up Season 2.

The good news is that Part 2 does that with aplomb. A shaky episode and some other downgrades notwithstanding, there are still enough major twists and reveals for these three episodes to be enjoyable on their own terms, while also clearly forming part of a much larger story that is seemingly only just beginning.

Part 2 picks up where we left things in the Part 1 finale, with the action having shifted from inside the sinister Ongseong Hospital. With this setting change comes a slight shift in the show’s focus. Out is the claustrophobic tension of the first seven episodes, and in is a more thorough depiction of historical colonial oppression reimagined as a gory creature feature.

In the action department, Part 2 does suffer from this change, but the show is inarguably a better exploration of the power structures above a facility like Ongseong, and the terrifying legacy that unfettered power can leave behind.

With richer characterization thanks to already-developed relationships, the time spent away from the hospital is more personable. There’s some clunky writing in Episode 8 as the show has to catch up with everyone’s new circumstances following the initial escape, but it’s worth enduring that to get to the good stuff, which comes once all roads inevitably converge back on the hospital.

Maeda, who was established as the real villain in Part 1, gets to settle into this role a lot more, while the leads Tae-sang and Chae-ok enjoy a more developed relationship and clearer moral impulses. The Korean people’s desire for freedom remains the underlying motivation, though, and with that viewpoint having crystallized in several characters, most notably Tae-sang, it’s able to be given more of a voice in the final three episodes.

Having the characters understand themselves and each other more makes for clearer dramatic stakes, and the final two episodes, though the finale in particular, benefit from this immensely, even if some of the late-game’s more out-there plotting threatens to move away from the core relationships somewhat.

The focus on these specific dynamics – the leads with each other; each lead with the villain; the creature with Chae-ok – does, admittedly, leave some supporting characters a little underserved. This is mostly just a niggle, though.

Unsurprisingly given the entire season was filmed at once, Part 2 is equally as impressive as Part 1 on a technical level. It’s well-shot, and capably performed, and the action is tense and snappily edited. Mileage may vary on the writing, though, which can feel clunkier than before in the early going and leaves many potentially frustrating open doors in the finale.

Gyeongseong Creature is far from over

Niggles aside – these three episodes, all told, are perhaps a slight step down from the more fleshed-out and consistently tense opening seven – Part 2 of Gyeongseong Creature manages to build to an impressive denouement that reinvents the show’s entire premise.

The show also works better here as a metaphor for historical injustices and national pride. The character arcs and plot both coalesce into a poignant statement on the legacy of colonialism that is powerful without being preachy, though admittedly unsubtle. If Part 1 was far from a perfect package, Part 2 could never lay claim to being faultless either, but in its totality, Gyeongseong Creature is an impressive K-Drama with seemingly much more to offer.

What did you think of Gyeongseong Creature Season 1 Part 2? Comment below.

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