Let's Break Down That "All of Us Are Dead" Season 1 Ending

The Korean Netflix original "All of Us Are Dead" has made quite a splash since its Jan. 28 premiere. Adapted from the webtoon "Now at Our School" by Joo Dong-geun, the K-horror series follows a group of high-school students fighting to evade a zombie outbreak spreading like wildfire across the globe — and which originates from their school's very own science lab. Dubbed the "Jonas Virus," the contagion virus is created by a desperate father who, in a last-ditch effort to protect his timid son from ruthless bullies, puts his scientific knowledge to dangerous use — unwittingly wreaking havoc on the world in the process.

Consisting of 12 episodes, each clocking in at about 60 minutes, the first season of "All of Us Are Dead" takes its sweet time developing the central characters as they struggle to survive — but the season finale is somewhat open ended. If you're trying to decipher the ambiguous season finale of "All of Us Are Dead," read ahead for a breakdown.

How Did On-jo and the Gang Escape the School?

In the eleventh episode, Cheong-san (Yoon Chan-young) gets bitten by his former classmate — and now half-zombie — Gwi-nam (Yoo In-soo). Knowing he won't make it out alive, he chooses to stay behind and distract the zombies, sacrificing himself so his friends can get out of the school before the oncoming military airstrike. The group makes a narrow escape, but the airstrike seems to have taken out Cheong-san, along with the rest of the zombies in the school. Following the explosion, the camera shows Cheong-san among the dead bodies, seemingly dead himself. A heartbroken On-jo (Park Ji-hu) goes back to the construction site to look for her best friend, but Nam-ra (Cho Yi-hyun) — a human-zombie hybrid with a heightened sense of smell and hearing — tells On-jo she doesn't feel anyone alive around the building.

Thanks to Cheong-san's sacrifice, the students finally escape the school and head for Yangdong, the evacuated city next to their hometown, Hyosan. They're guided along the way by ribbons tied to the trees by On-jo's late firefighter father, Nam So-ju (Jeon Bae-soo). Finally, they reach the secluded streets of Yangdong, where a horde of zombies attacks them. While the gang fights valiantly and defeats them all, one of the undead claims the life of Wu-jin (Son Sang-yeon), Ha-ri's (Ha Seung-ri) brother, as he tries to save his sister.

Is Cheong-san Really Dead?

Cheong-san escapes several close brushes with death over the course of the season. Could he have somehow escaped the construction site before On-jo returned in hopes of finding him? Could Nam-ra not sense anyone "living" because he's turned into a human-zombie hybrid like her? Only a second season will tell.

ALL OF US ARE DEAD, (aka JIGEUM URI HAKGYONEUN), from left: YOON Chan-Young, PARK Ji-hu, (Season 1, ep. 101, aired Jan. 28, 2022. photo: YANG Hae-sung / Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection
Everett Collection

Why Did Nam-ra Leave the Group?

Along with her newfound zombie super-hearing and sense of smell, Nam-ra also acquires a craving for human flesh. Overwhelmed by her insatiable urge to devour her friends, she decides to part ways with them before they reach the military personnel who take them to quarantine zones.

What Happens After the Time Leap?

The show leaps four months into the future in the final episode, at which point martial law in Hyosan has been lifted for the first time since the outbreak, giving the quarantined residents some freedom. Traumatized by the horrifying experiences they've lived through, On-jo and the rest of the group's survivors deal with their grief and survivor's guilt by visiting a makeshift memorial for their friends.

During one of these visits, On-jo notices a campfire in the distance, which she assumes is on the rooftop of their high school. She remembers Nam-ra — an outcast before the zombie outbreak — saying she wished she could have another campfire night with her newfound friends. On-jo tells Su-hyeok (Park Solomon), and, along with the rest of the survivors, they go to see if Nam-ra is camping out at the school. Returning to their now-demolished school, the students relive the horror they experienced. But sure enough, their suspicions that Nam-ra is living there turn out to be true.

Nam-ra greets them and appears to be doing well, having adapted to life as a half-zombie. When On-jo asks the former class president to join them back at the camp, she turns down the offer, assuring them that she isn't alone. "There are a few more like me," she says. Nam-ra's super-hearing then kicks in, alerting her that her fellow human-zombie hybrids are back, and she jumps off the roof in a swift motion as her friends watch in awe.

What Does the "All of Us Are Dead" Ending Mean?

The finale of "All of Us Are Dead" is hopeful, yet brimming with possibilities. While Netflix hasn't yet ordered a second season, the show could go in a number of directions if it returns. We could see the repercussions of the epidemic, which has not been entirely eradicated, as well as Nam-ra's (and maybe Cheong-San's) journey as she navigates this new world as a half-zombie. In addition, the intelligence officers who examined the survivors were seemingly gathering information to weaponize the virus — which could play a big role in a second season. The possibilities are endless, but fans will have to wait for another season to get the answers to their most pressing questions.

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