There’s nothing drab about Netflix’s Korean action series Black Knight, which released all six Season 1 episodes on Friday. Although set in a dystopia, the show doesn’t feel like a hopeless slug — at least in the first episode — thanks its charismatic leads, who bring much-welcomed humor to the dark story.
The backstory: 40 years prior to the events of Episode 1, a comet struck the earth and sent most continents plunging into the sea. Only one percent of the population survived, and the Korean Peninsula turned into a desert.
Scarce resources and a heavily polluted atmosphere spurred a new caste system in which survivors were distinguished by QR codes (embedded in their skin) that divided them into General, Special and Core districts. Those without a code were labeled refugees and left to fend for themselves. Some of those refugees became vigilantes known as deliverymen, who stole important resources and kept the vulnerable segment of this new apocalyptic society alive. The most legendary of them all? A guy named 5-8 (played by Kim Woo-bin).
In the premiere, 5-8 is effortlessly cool while confronting a group of hunters who were bullying one of his newbies, and he takes them down with relative ease.
Meanwhile, a young Yoon sa-wol (Kang You-seok) is just a hopeful kid aspiring to be one of those famed deliverymen but still has some growing up to do. Since he’s a refugee with no QR code, he’s been living with Seol-ah (Esom), a major for Defense Intelligence, and Seul-ah, who is equally enamored with the deliverymen. Sa-wol’s curious wandering outside during a refugee crackdown period put them all at risk, and was grounded for 15 days.
In contrast to the bleak refugee areas marred by thick dust and zero greenery, the Core District is practically a utopia. The underground haven boasts sunny skies and visible grass for miles, and it houses society’s most elite including Madam President. With people in the Special District suffering from depression and panic attacks because they can’t see the sky’or forest, she plans to relocate them to a new district — District A — which is currently under construction.
But not everyone is game for District A, including 5-8, who is en route to stop it. Along the way, he encounters a thrill-seeking Sa-Wol, who hitched onto his delivery truck with some friends. 5-8 is not amused by Sa-Wol’s playful challenge to a fight and promptly kicks the kid out of his moving vehicle. Moments later, the famed deliveryman walks through three tornadoes (!!!) to get to his destination. However, his secret informant never showed up, and the Air Core was delivered, meaning that his mission to delay construction on the new district failed.
Elsewhere, Sal-wol’s risky rendezvous earns him an earlier punishment, and he is immediately locked in his room. That is perfect timing because 5-8 drops in for a delivery, and an excited Seul-ah nabs a selfie with the famous deliveryman. Moments later, unknown agents swoop in for a surprise attack. Several men try to inject Seul-ah with a mysterious substance, but Sal-wol breaks out of his room and bravely fights them off. But he couldn’t save Seul-ah, who dies after being shot. Sal-wol is subsequently killed by one of those agents, who shoots him in the head.
Wait, what just happened?
Were you shocked by Black Knight‘s series premiere? Grade the episode below, and then sound off in the comments.