Kingdom Episode 7 – A full dash and more!

It’s been a very interesting last couple of weeks on Kingdom where we saw the contestants have a blast, taking the audience along for the ride. We saw the groups head off to a sports event to compete against each other in relay races and vault jumps and the highly anticipated inter-group collaboration stages in episode 7. 

Sadhana: I thought episode 6 was fun and a nice filler, but not much to say beyond that!

Rimi: I don’t have much to say either. It’s always fun to see some cross group interactions and I was super happy to see Minhyuk being recognised by the guys for the hunk he is (*insert heart eyes emoji*), but that about sums up my thoughts.

Sadhana: Hahah, I knew you’d enjoy that. I was thinking about your Kingdom crush when the visual award came up 😀 

Rimi: I knew he would win! ❤ Moving on though, Round 3 – uff! Those were some strong performances! As always, I’m curious to see which teams we liked best!

*drumroll please*

Rimi: Oh wow! We have the same choices this time! And unsurprisingly, they differ from those of MNET’s.

Sadhana: Yeah, but this time I know and can really see why MNET chose Mayfly – but personally, I just liked It’s One’s performance (for rap) more. Mayfly had a strong cohesive performance to back up their interesting lyrics as well really good rap performances. But It’s One had so much heart ❤

Rimi: I have to agree with you. I do feel like Team Mayfly had a better understanding of what Kingdom wants from its performances and they delivered, whereas Team It’s One – under the direction of Bobby – just enjoyed the performance. Bobby composed the song, correct? If you look at the line distribution, he doesn’t himself have a “strong” verse. It feels like he heard Hwi-young and Sunwoo’s wish to do hip-hop/rap, and gave them an opportunity to fulfil that wish. ALSO, I was impressed with both Hwi-young and Sunwoo! They’ve got great flow and tone, and are better rappers than I was expecting! Final thought: Full Dash also just had a nicer composition/arrangement. 

Sadhana: Yeah their chemistry as a team was so so good! Also, exactly – regarding their composition. Full Dash is just very catchy! 

Rimi: Yeah! I remember Changbin announced that from Round 2 all songs would be on the streaming platforms, but it hasn’t happened yet. And this one is actually an original song!  I need it on Spotify, stat!

Sadhana: Yeah, it’s a shame. I’d abuse the repeat button on that song. It sounds like a great one to start your Mondays off with vengeance xD Also, Sunwoo and Hwiyioung’s wish to actually show off their rap skills really came through and I think help make the performance itself such a delight to watch. It puts a huge smile on my face whenever I watch it. One of the biggest joys I think is to watch musicians really enjoy themselves while performing – whatever the genre – and on this front the It’s One trio have all my points and respect and even thanks! 

Rimi: Yes, yes and yes – to all of this! What about Mayfly? I was certainly impressed with the way the stage was designed. I’m also slowly becoming a fan of Han. He’s … a surprisingly impressive guy. All of them are overachievers, I suppose. But other than the fun at the beginning of the stage, where Changbin ruins a painter’s work, then a writer’s ink pad – which was just hilarious – I didn’t find the stage too memorable. And the music was less enjoyable somehow?

Sadhana: Yeah, I felt the same, but I guess that’s subjective? If you’re looking at the kind of thing Kingdom wants out of its performances, the whole spectacle “storyline” they’ve been nudging groups toward, you’ll see that Mayfly fit all the criteria. So yeah, I get why they won – because there wasn’t anything technically wrong with it was there? They delivered on the performance, the rapping itself and the lyrics too. But yeah, for me too, it wasn’t as memorable as It’s One’s. 

Rimi: Well said. There wasn’t anything technically wrong with it, plus it met all of Kingdom’s criteria. But Full Dash just showed genuine heart. (Also loved the lyrics – Full Dash, again)

Should we discuss the dance team now? 

Sadhana: Yup, I see we’re in agreement there as well. We’re quite “aligned” this week if I were to use corporate jargon that the team I’m working with loves to overuse xD. 

Rimi: Hahaha!~ Indeed, and here, I think once again, Team Mayfly showed a better understanding of the assignment, but it’s not that Team It’s One weren’t good – it’s more that they made a few odd choices and missteps.

First, it’s clear that a show like Kingdom, which loves its big gimmicks and stunts, would warrant a bigger team. So it was surprising that they sent only 3 performers. Second, they should have added vocals and lyrics, if they’d taken this extra step, the performance would have been much more K-pop-fans’ style and MNET style.

Sadhana: YES, I found it super odd that with a team like The Boyz they sent one dancer?! It doesn’t make sense. Not to mention SF9. In fact, last week I was pretty sure this round would be It’s One’s for sure given how good their choreo and performances were in the previous rounds. So I’m really not sure why they chose this particular group for the dance. They did a good job, really, but compared to the extravaganza that Wolf by Mayfly was, poor things didn’t stand a chance. And you could also see this in their faces when the camera cut to them in the middle of Mayfly’s performance. 

Rimi: Exactly. I too think they understood this as they watched Mayfly’s performance. They focused too much on individuality but without anything super impressive/memorable from any of the three – although Juyeon’s table flip was kind of cool. 

Sadhana: Yep, Juyeon’s table flip is the one thing I clearly remember from their performance. I thought it was super cool. 

Rimi: On the other hand, Wolf. Where do I even begin? I thought it was a simple, fun, almost childish concept, but masterfully executed. My favorite part was not even Felix’s stunt but all the howling they included in the song and imitated whenever it came on. “AUUUUU!!”

Sadhana: The howling was cool but in this one too they looked like they were having fun to be honest. In the performance, they peppered individual stand-out moments with intense coordinated parts and given all the members they had I think that worked out really well for them. 

Rimi: LOL yes. Even the aesthetics – from the styling to the contact lenses they were wearing, was very memorable. As a visual moment, I think Peniel walking out with the wolves on a leash was beautifully done. And Seonghwa continued to blow me away with his pink hair. Plus, they did have vocals, clear, lovely vocals – even if pre-recorded, it just made the whole thing so much more fun.

A final word on the rankings from earlier rounds that were revealed. I was really happy that SF9 and then BtoB came first and second! Given that that was the order in which I ranked them too!

Sadhana: Ooh yes, but rankings remind me also that it seems almost unfair that the “top 3” groups were into one group and the “bottom 3” in another group. It was ATEEZ’s choice, but still, given how things went down. 

Rimi: Do agree. Even more so because it’s so frustrating that Full Dash lost the Rap round. Not everything has to be about scripted, prop heavy stages. When a stage is minimal but has so much more heart, why can’t that be recognised and be counted in favor of the team? 

Sadhana: Yeah, I wish things were that way. Also, I was excited to see Twitter familiar Kim Young Dae as a judge (who primarily writes about hip-hop) and was wondering what he genuinely would have thought about the two performances. Because Full Dash seems so much more in the hip hop spirit.

Rimi: Yes! I was also happy to see Kim Young-dae! 

Sadhana: I’m looking forward to this week’s episode because on the one hand, BtoB, but on the other, there’s this whole squad from It’s One that’s yet to perform so they’ll all be in on this vocal performance which should make for pretty exciting viewing. Also Mayfly’s singing IU’s song! So excited~ 

Rimi: Opposites once again. I’m excited about It’s One taking on Taeyeon! 😀 “Spark” is pop perfection. It truly reminds you why pop, when done well, is such an easy and fun listen. 

Sadhana: Fighting to both teams for Episode 8. See you next week! 

Rimi: Until next week ~~ (*goes back to playing Full Dash on repeat on YouTube *)

Author: Sadhana C

I'm interested in technology, culture, and the business of Hallyu. I currently work full time as a product manager and have previously reported on start-ups. In my free time I like to read fiction and learn languages.

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