Kingdom Finale – Episodes 9 & 10

This is the final discussion on the last two episodes of Kingdom. Gasp! Can you believe it’s been 10 weeks (and more) since we started doing this? Anyway, in this post, we discuss the favourites from the two episodes and (sadly) lament about the stuff that didn’t impress *cough* episode 10 *cough* 

Rimi: Thinking back to ep 9, I have to say I really loved SF9’s “Move” and enjoyed The Boyz’ “Monster”. Sadly, ATEEZ’s “Answer” didn’t really leave its mark. 

Sadhana: Same! I liked both SF9 and The Boyz’ performances so much that I can’t pick a favourite from this week. Super super impressed by The Boyz’ choreo – I think they killed it with the dance alone. And SF9 was superb as well. However, I felt the whole monster/snake thing we already saw with ATEEZ’ performance from an earlier round, and felt overdone. 

Although I’m saying these two performances were my favourite, I think the overall standout *moment* from this episode for me from this episode was when ATEEZ brought in the opera singers and that whole bit – gave me goosebumps! 

Rimi: I do agree about the opera singers – I had goosebumps too! But again, it then feels like the opera singers stole the performance. And they were what made it grand, rather than anything ATEEZ themselves did.

On the other hand, SF9’s “Move” – uff! Sexy, sultry, without being overly so. Great concept about finding your own color that was very artistically executed. A beautiful arrangement that I keep returning to. SF9 have really owned Rounds 2 and 3 for me. The Boyz’ returning to their strength, their synchronised choreo, was also very cool to see. The performance for Monster shone when we got shots of all of them on stage, moving exactly in sync!

Sadhana: Yes! I went to the Full Cam performance that was uploaded to Mnet’s YouTube channel – it was amazing! What I also liked about SF9’s performance was that this time it seemed like each and every member had their moment to shine – you could clearly appreciate their unique talent as well as what makes them killer as a group. Which, I think, also made their performance slightly longer, but I can’t complain (too much) Hehe

Rimi: YAAAS! That Full Cam performance is *chef’s kiss!

Sadhana: I found out much too late that Mnet was also uploading member focused performances for each group each week! Did you know about this? 

Rimi: Yes, I did! Hahaha – I guess this is my miss Sadhana. I ought to have told you of the various ways you can see more of the performances – as a veteran viewer.

Sadhana: This makes me wonder how many times you watched pink-haired Seonghwa focused performances. Hmmmmm. 😛 

Rimi: Sadly, pink haired or no,Seonghwa is too young. You should wonder instead whether I watched and re-watched Min-hyuk ripping off his shirt and unleashing those abs.

Sadhana: Hahahaha. Let’s keep it PG – although the performances certainly haven’t been ^^

Sadhana: On an entirely different note, episode 9 made me wish for a sunbae (mentor) who looks at me with this exact mix of excitement and fondness when I’m doing well. This was Bobby when Sunwoo was rapping during Monster. 

Rimi: AW …. Bobby is a sweetheart! What a contrast between his personality and the image of a rapper. 

Sadhana: Yeah! Okay, I think that’s it for episode 9. The consensus is anyone who’s reading this and hasn’t yet watched SF9’s Move and The Boyz’ Monster should do so. Stat. 

And where to start with episode 10,,,,, 

Rimi: I think we should address the elephant in the room when it comes to episode 10. Which is the simple fact that it was…very underwhelming. None of the songs particularly stood out, the performances paled in comparison to those of earlier rounds and the behind the scenes was… just stupid. A complete filler and waste of time that showed us nothing about how the performances were conceptualised or why. Not to mention the first 30 minutes, where they introduced the same six groups over and over and over and over again.

Sadhana: I can’t believe it was aired live (Was it?) I was so so put off when the episode length said t h r e e hours… but, like you, discovered that it was mostly filler. Honestly, I struggled to finish watching this. And it’s a shame because we had our complaints about the show till now, but it was consistently entertaining till episode 9. 

Rimi: Exactly. 

Sadhana: From the new songs that we did get to see in episode 10, I liked SF9’s Believer the most, closely followed by The Boyz’ Kingdom Come.The dance break with Q at the center was really good! Had these performances been in an earlier round, they wouldn’t have ranked in my top 3, which should tell you all you need to know about this episode. Also, I didn’t love the song, but I liked that ATEEZ had a ton of fun on stage when they were performing The Real. 

Rimi: We’re “aligned” again. I too liked SF9’s “Believer” the most, followed by The Boyz’ “Kingdom Come”. And this is mostly because I liked the actual songs for these performances the best. To clarify, this sounds strong, I’m mostly ambivalent – just that these two songs jivved the best with me, of the six options we had. What about you?

Sadhana: Yes, definitely only from the choices in this episode haha. The episode ended with Stray Kids winning (no surprises there after the last round), but I took a look at Wikipedia for the final rankings for all and well, I am surprised. 

Rimi: Oh wow. That is massively different from my experience of the show. I’d rank BtoB and SF9 tied for first. Followed by The Boyz and Stray Kids. Then iKon and Ateez. What about the final rankings surprised you?

Sadhana: I thought SF9 would be ranked higher – because they did win a couple of rounds, didn’t they? Or at least came in first or second places. Same for BtoB as well, they were consistently hovering in the top 3 for most of the performances. I guess in a show like this where there’s no elimination based on the last ranked group, these don’t *really* matter, but yes, surprising nonetheless. 

Rimi: In the end, from the way the show itself did not give much importance to rankings, my final take-away is that the rankings were there only to stir in some drama and make it a “competition”. Ultimately, this was a show about grand stages, fun song arrangements and covers and some cute collaboration between different groups. For that, I do have to say it wasn’t perfect, but Kingdom was an enjoyable watch.

Sadhana: Oh, for sure! For a first time watcher (and hey! I made it all the way through one reality show finally!) it was a really entertaining show throughout, whatever it’s flaws. The show’s aim was also to net some new fans (like me) along the way and it succeeded, in my case at any rate! 

Rimi: You did! Congratulations! 🎊🎊🎊

Sadhana: Thank you ^^ It’s also 50% thanks to this commentary we’re doing that made it all the more fun so all the credit doesn’t go to Mnet alone hahaha

Rimi: Agreed! Watching it with you made this much more fun too!

Sadhana: 😀 Okay, for someone who may not have watched all the episodes, what would your top 3 performances overall be, that you’d suggest to them?

Rimi: Wow, that’s going to be super difficult, but let me try.

Top Three Performances Overall:

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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