One could say Gyeongseong Creature is Korea’s answer to Stranger Things. While there are many similarities between the two sci-fi shows, they are, of course, based in different eras and play with our emotional heartstrings in unique ways. Gyeongseong Creature follows the owner of a pawnshop in Joseon-era Gyeongseong (present-day Seoul), a little bit before they got independence from the Japanese. The show follows Tae-Sang’s journey from a simple bystander to someone who cares for his people because of the atrocities he sees. It’s a simple story that poses the question, who is the real monster? As it goes with historical fiction, there will be deaths on both sides. So, while we wait patiently for the announcement of a second season, let’s look back at all the important characters that died in season 1.
In part one of Gyeongseong Creature, we see some Korean citizens conscripted into being a part of the Japanese military. One of the soldiers in Onseong Hospital is one such Korean. A young man, who was taken away from his home just before he could go to study and make something of himself to look after his mother. Yeong-Gwan meets the sleuths and Tae-Sang in the hospital when they’re trying to look for Myeong-Ja. He helps the Korean citizens escape the hospital with Tae-Sang and Chae-Ok, but while manning the defences, he’s shot in the chest by the Japanese soldiers before Tae-Sang or Chae-Ok can save him. At the end of Part 1 of the show, Chase-Ok sends his dogtag, as per his request, back to his mother to let her know that he, unfortunately, died in the field, but always wanted to return to her. It was definitely one of the saddest deaths on the show.
Tae-Sang’s close friend is Jun-Taek, who is part of the rebellion in Gyeongseong. He has a couple of friends who get caught by the military and imprisoned. Jun-Taek joins Tae-Sang to go to the hospital, for what we think is a rescue attempt, but in reality, he wants to know about some secret intel that will help him lead the rebellion. Unfortunately, while he’s struggling to explain this to his two imprisoned friends, he gets caught by the soldiers. While that lands Jun-Taek in trouble, it also leaves Hui-Do and In-Hyeok in Tae-Sang’s care. Tae-Sang is a genuinely kindhearted person who does end up saving the two men, along with many other Korean citizens locked up in Onseong waiting to be monster food. Unfortunately, after being shot at and severely wounded, Hui-Do ends up getting killed by the monster before they can escape. But his death isn’t in vain because it helps the others escape safely.
Sergeant Haneda is like a mini-me of Colonel Kato. He’s one of the main antagonists of the first part of the show, and he is as passionate about the experiments as Kato and Ichiro. I suppose all three of them are sadists, but Haneda is more keen on hurting other human beings than caring for any sort of result. At the end of Part 1, Haneda chases Tae-Sang because he wants to desperately take revenge on him for freeing all the citizens. Tae-Sang ends up winning, and in Part 2, we see Haneda beg for mercy in the aftermath of his failure, asking to be killed for dishonoring his people. Even if he hadn’t been killed then, he would’ve ended up dead in the blast anyway.
Director Ichiro can almost appear to be the big villain of this show, but he’s only second in command, with Maeda being in charge of the whole thing. It’s almost like Ichiro is doing the school project, but Maeda is presenting it to the class. Ichiro’s death is an act of vengeance by Chae-Ok. She thinks he’s the reason her mother is in the state that she is, which is technically true, but this is before she learns about Maeda’s involvement in it all. Chae-Ok shoots Ichiro in the head in a shocking twist in the tale, giving nobody the time to save the guy. This is when she gets taken away by Maeda’s people and learns the whole truth.
Now, Myeong-Ja’s story is the saddest of them all. She’s pregnant with a Japanese man’s baby as a courtesan, but then she ends up being kidnapped by his wife and taken to Onseong Hospital under the guise of protection and care. She’s left to fend for herself while Ishikawa sets up a desperate search for her, essentially setting up the whole show. However, ironically, he ends up abandoning her the second he learns about her becoming a bloodthirsty monster. She’s now impure, so he doesn’t even want his child anymore (disgusting). By this point, Myeong-Ja is tired of the struggle of it all, so she ends up scraping at the man with her fingers. She wounds him so deeply that his skin is peeling away from him like chipped wallpaper. His life is in Maeda’s hands, and she gives the most nonchalant reaction to Ichiro about her husband dying. So Ichiro chooses to leave Ishikawa for dead on the hospital bed.
Kato finds Myeong-Ja when she’s about to go into labor. Somehow, the basement of Onseong Hospital survives the blast, and Kato saves Myeong-Ja’s baby. We can assume that birthing a Najin-host baby could’ve possibly killed Myeong-Ja, but Kato could’ve also killed her because he wants the baby for himself, and there’s nothing else she can do for him. Myeong-Ja was the reason this all happened in the first place, so it’s one of the harshest deaths of the show, for sure.
Yoon Jung-Won and Chae-Ok traveled together from Manchuria to Gyeongseong in search of Chae-Ok’s mother. At the beginning of the series, it’s been 10 years since Chae-Ok and her father began their search; however, by this time, her dad has already started to realize that Chae-Ok will never live for herself if she continues to dawdle in the search for her mother. Especially when he thinks she’s probably dead. By the end of the series, though, Jung-Won realizes that Chae-Ok can have a happy future with Tae-Sang and live the life he had with his wife before she was taken away. For Chae-Ok’s future, he sacrifices himself and sends Tae-Sang off to save her while he blows the hospital up with himself and Seishin inside it (TT), leaving Chae-Ok an orphan.
Chae-Ok’s mother is the monster who mostly can’t be tamed since the Najin is too powerful because of the anthrax in her. However, with Chae-Ok around, she can dig into her human memories and try to control the Najin, at least for a little bit. When Chae-Ok sacrifices herself to save Tae-Sang, Seishin realizes what she’s done too late. She takes her child into a body of water and decides to put the Najin inside of her because it would bring her back to life while simultaneously ending her own misery. To her, it’s a win-win situation, even if it would leave Chae-Ok in a very difficult position. Maybe she just believes her daughter is strong enough to defeat the hunger of the Najin.