All Of Us Are Dead Season 1 Ending Explained: A Grim New Beginning

Read with caution. There are spoilers for "All Of Us Are Dead" season 1 below.

After the success of "Squid Game," another violent, outlandish South Korean drama series has taken its place. "All Of Us Are Dead," a zombie apocalypse horror series adapted from the South Korean webtoon "Now At Our School," has captured audiences worldwide, becoming a massive hit for Netflix.  

In the vein of "Train To Busan" and "Kingdom," the series follows a group of students fighting for their lives after their high school is overrun with zombies, thanks to a science experiment gone wrong. But "All Of Us Are Dead" is not just a zombie drama: creators Chun Sung-il, Lee Jae-kyoo, and Kim Nam-su have put their own stamp on the horror sub-genre, taking its trappings and weaving them with social commentary on issues such as Gen Z anxieties and government ineptitude. 

Throughout its 12-episode run, the clever group of Hyosan High School juniors uses their creativity to evade their classmates and teachers — who have now transformed into a horde of zombies. Super-strong zombies that can run really, really fast. 

Despite the show's title hinting at a definitive ending, some of the students make it out alive. Although several fan-favorite characters do not survive long enough to be rescued (justice for Cheong-San!), the show ushered in a new beginning for the survivors while potentially setting up a second season. If you missed out on any detail towards the end, don't worry! I'm diving deep into the "All Of Us Are Dead" season 1 finale and answering any questions you may have had after the screen went blank.

Who all survived at the end of season 1?

Not many characters made it out of Hyosan City alive at the end of "All Of Us Are Dead." The show's final episode begins on a devastating note. We see the implications of the bombing of Hyosan city, and we also learn it's not the end of the epidemic yet, with the students being forced to fight one last battle before arriving to safety.

The city bombing is intended to eradicate the zombie problem, but it takes the lives of fan-favorite character Cheong-san (Yoon Chan-young) and the school's resident bully Gwi-Nam (Yoo In-soo) in the process. And while it initially seems to mark the end of prominent character deaths in the show, it shockingly doesn't. 

When the students make their way to the evacuated city of Yangdong, hoping to find a safe haven, they're warned about an incoming horde of zombies from their friend Nam-ra (who has turned into a half-human half-zombie hybrid — more on that later). During the attack, archer Ha-ri (Ha Seung-ri) is nearly infected by a zombie and her brother Wu-jin (Son Sang-yeon) gets bitten trying to save her. Nam-ra too gives in to her bloodlust and eventually abandons the group for their own security, which leaves six (still human) students standing at the end of the season. 

On-jo (Park Ji-hu), Su-hyeok (Park Solomon), Dae-su (Im Jae-hyuk), Hyo-ryung (Kim Bo-Yun), Ha-ri, and Mi-jin (Lee Eun-Saem) are discovered by the authorities and finally rescued, and we see them adapting to a new life at the quarantine camp. If Netflix decides to go ahead with a second season, we could see these characters return! Considering the show's open ending that suggested there are more infected people (halfbies) than the characters may have anticipated, maybe we can hope to see some familiar faces make a comeback.

Nam-ra and the halfbies set up an interesting future

"All Of Us Are Dead" season 1 introduced the concept of halfbies — a variant of the Jonas virus. The fascinating thing about this variant is that the people infected do not transform into insatiable monsters like the others. They retain their human personality, memories and appearance, but the virus provides them with super-strength, heightened hearing, and smell — and they can foresee impending danger from others of their kind. They're like super soldiers. The only negative (and rather inconvenient) aspect to this is how people become listless with bloodlust and are drawn to hurt those around them. 

We see Nam-ra as a halfbie who refuses to hurt her friends; she controls her urges, powerful as they may be. We also uncover how the bully Gwi-nam weaponizes his situation in the worst possible way. And at the end of the season, when the survivors reunite with Nam-ra, they find that their friend is now leading a group of halfbies ... which means there are many more infected people than any of us suspected. 

The half-zombie, half-human variant is an interesting concept to explore, especially since the show maintains that its cause is the Jonas virus created by the school's science teacher Lee Byeong-chan. Viruses mutate and evolve constantly (as we are all now painfully aware), which is pretty cool to see incorporated in a fictional show. 

Zombies have dominated pop culture since becoming popular in the late '60s (with "Night of the Living Dead") and the popularity of "The Walking Dead" in more recent times. But "All Of Us Are Dead" offered an essential, fresh take on a genre that has been loved and explored for decades. The series honors the genre's tropes and makes it its own. If Netflix propels a second season into production, it would be cool to see how the Jonas virus continues to develop and if there's any hope for those infected by it.

What happened to the science teacher's family?

Lee Byeong-chan, the school's science teacher, is an excellent example of how dangerous knowledge and power can be in the wrong hands. He created the Jonas virus to help his son Jin-su, whom Hyosan High students were bullying. Instead of helping him navigate the situation as an adult, he injected him with a virus to make him powerful enough to revolt against the bullies. Weird, right? Anyway, it did not occur to Byeong-chan that developing a virus is never a good idea.

At the end of the final "All Of Us Are Dead" episode, we learn that the government officials responding to the Hyosan zombie outbreak arrive at Byeong-chan's home. After seeing the teacher's zombified wife and son chained to the bed, they arrange to take them unharmed so they may be "preserved."

Initially, I thought they wanted to experiment on them and find a way to produce an antidote — but we already saw that they have a zombie soldier and a half-bie in captivity. This brings me to my next point: government ineptitude has remained a strong theme in "All Of Us Are Dead," so this could foreshadow how corrupt officials may have plans to use infected people for their own purposes. Spawning another epidemic? Threatening enemies? Bringing ruin to other cities overseas? Creating halfbies to be super soliders? Considering the power the government currently has, the possibilities are endless. It's also a sad reminder that humans very rarely learn from their mistakes. Do better, humans!

How the finale sets up All Of Us Are Dead season 2

With the Jonas virus continually growing, the show's open ending sets up a lot of potential for season 2. As seen with Nam-ra, this particular variant can control their urge to kill ... but only to a certain extent, which means they cannot assimilate into ordinary society. But there's humanity left in them, and they can suppress their urges, which should count for something, right? As the science teacher who made the virus explained in his experiment tapes, creating a vaccine is impossible. So, how do these hybrids move on? Are they subjected to a life of isolation forever? 

Seeing Nam-ra leading a group of zombies to a new beginning could be an exciting way to continue the story. The first season focused on the survival of humans, could the second focus on the survival of half-zombies? Or is another outbreak on the way, with the science teacher's zombified family being let loose to destroy another city? The halfbie variant can cause chaos if they decide to rebel against the humans, so we'll have to wait and watch to see if they turn to the dark side.

The director has plans for All Of Us Are Dead season 2

"All Of Us Are Dead" director Lee Jae-kyoo is very keen to explore a second season. He has some ideas to continue the story and admitted to having "intentionally" made room for more. Lee shared his hopes for a second season in conversation with The Korea Herald:

"Many directions, settings and scenes were intentionally produced to expand the story into an additional season, including the introduction of the new races of zombies. If the first season can be seen as having presented humanity's survival, the next season can talk about the survival of zombies. I hope to present viewers with another season."

Netflix hasn't announced an official renewal for the zombie series yet — and K-dramas are seldom renewed for multiple seasons. The success of "All Of Us Are Dead," however, has been significant. The show has topped Netflix charts across the globe with multiple record-breaking runs, so it wouldn't surprise anyone if the streaming giant decided to renew the series. All I'm going to say is that as long as the Hyosan High survivors return, the viewers certainly will.