Drama Review: The Glory Part 2 gloriously wraps up with not just one, but two acts of revenge

Song Hye-kyo as Moon Dong-eun in a still for The Glory. Photo: Graphyoda/Netflix

Fans can finally witness Moon Dong-eun’s (Song Hye-kyo) decade-long revenge scheme in The Glory Part 2, after an excruciating three-month wait. The second edition of the drama series dropped on Friday (10 Mar).

Spoiler alert: Things only get better with a side of swoony romance as eye candy Joo Yeo-jeong (Lee Do-hyun) levelled up his game with Moon.

The Glory Part 2 also answers burning questions, like the mysterious death of Son Myeong-o (Kim Gun-woo), one of Moon’s bullies. And the alleged murder of Yoon So-hee, another school bully victim alongside Moon, played by Single’s Inferno 2 contestant Lee So-e.

Head-on revenge begins

Moon’s plots against her bullies became more tactical and direct since Park Yeon-jin (Lim Ji-yeon) had already uncovered her intentions.

Lim Jiyeon as Park Yeon-jin in a still for The Glory. Photo: Graphyoda/Netflix

Apart from getting her truth out there, her heavy use of using the media could possibly be to openly humiliate them, mimicking how they did so to their victims in the past.

Mirroring real-life cancel culture, these moves were clever nods that gave the story a more realistic touch, despite some dramatisation.

Throughout the series, the ripple effects of Moon’s firestarter tactics have seen far-reaching consequences. The once-tight knit bullies start betraying one another, leading to the crumbling friendship without direct instigation from Moon.

Love blossoms

Watching the antagonists get taken down one by one can be a satisfying watch, but it can be overwhelming at times. So it is a welcoming distraction to see star-writer Kim Eun-sook’s romantic storytelling shine again in the sub-plot of Moon and Joo’s blossoming relationship.

It was heartening to watch Joo bring out another side of the heroine as she broke out into genuine smiles every now and then and found herself some much-needed solace.

From comforting hugs to a grand first kiss (which were all uncharacteristically initiated by Moon), both actors got to showcase their chemistry, as compared to the first part of the drama.

This season also explored Joo’s character way deeper than expected, strongly justifying his weak linkage to Moon previously.

Song Hye-kyo as Moon Dong-eun and Lee Do-hyun as Joo Yeo-jeong in a still for The Glory. Photo: Graphyoda/Netflix

Everything from Part 1 made sense after it was disclosed that his own personal plan to become her executioner had been in motion even before she knew of his existence — flying way beyond just a cliché “coincidence”.

After having watched both parts, it was definitely an emotional rollercoaster to see the underdog characters go through such terrible, inhumane experiences and rise back up stronger than ever.

The verdict

Although the ending is bittersweet and slightly ambiguous on Joo’s revenge arc for his father’s killer, it is a relief to know that the leads — who fans have been rooting for — can fight their own monsters as each other’s executioner and partner-in-crime.

The Glory will undoubtedly go down as one of the best revenge Korean dramas in history.

It has not only served as an entertaining watch for many but has also brought about a cultural impact by heightening awareness of school bullying and violence in South Korea.

You can watch both parts of The Glory on Netflix here.


Drama Review: The industry’s best comes together for revenge series The Glory

Photo: Graphyoda/ Netflix

The Glory (2022) is the second collaboration between leading lady, Song Hye-kyo and star writer, Kim Eun-sook after Descendants of the Sun (2016).

It ended with a heart-palpitating cliffhanger which left many itching for the second season, slated for release this March.

Following the footsteps of revenge dramas like The Penthouse: War in Life (2020) and The World of The Married (2020), the eight-episode season found immense success in its formula of an anti-heroine and her brooding scheme to get back at her high school bullies years later.

Considering all the demeaning acts they’ve done to her, one would expect an action-packed payback from Moon Dong-eun (Song Hye-kyo). But her elaborate master plan consisted of slow, torturing mind games that would keep her hands completely clean as her tormentors turned against one another.

The clever use of mind games was heavily reflected in the traditional game of Go. It is a chess-like board game, something the protagonist learnt in the process of vengeance.

It was also what introduced Dong-eun to her potential love interests: Joo Yeo-jeong (Lee Do-hyun) and Ha Do-young (Jung Sung-il). They both expressed liking towards her despite her lack thereof. More scandalously, the latter is her bullies’ husband.

The leader of the pack and Do-young’s wife, Park Yeon-jin (Lim Ji-yeon), particularly shone as a standout character many love to hate. She’s the mean girl in school who later becomes a good mother despite a twisted affair.

Photo: Graphyoda/ Netflix

The character also marks Lim’s first role as a vicious villainess which garnered her much praise. In fact, she pulled it off so well that it was hard to remember her sweet demeanour in her previous roles.

Props to the casting director as well, for the startling resemblance between the younger and older cast for Dong-eun and her bullies. From their physical appearances to the performances, there were many similarities which made the transition to the adult characters seamless.

Photo: Graphyoda/ Netflix

Amidst the darkness in the plot and its incredibly flawed characters, there was still light in the character of Kang Hyeon-nam (Yeom Hye-ran).

Though her backstory was nothing short of tragic, Hyeon-nam managed to bring in some laughs when things were tense — even breaking the shell of Dong-eun.

Photo: Graphyoda/ Netflix

Furthermore, the budding dynamic between Dong-eun and Hyeon-nam as the seasoned mastermind and the amateur assistant respectively, played a huge part in building stronger emotional connection to these characters.

On top of Dong-eun’s execution of her revenge, the sub-plot that stood out was the affair between Yeon-jin and Jeon Jae-joon (Park Sung-hoon). Along with the consequences of it.

The show writers rode on Jae-joon’s colour blindness to imply that Yeon-jin’s daughter was his, and not her husband’s. The shocking revelation stirred things up by looping Do-young directly into the mix.

This made Do-young, previously an outsider in the situation, much more involved which could possibly pose as a catalyst for Dong-eun’s revenge in the upcoming season.

Not everything, however, was as engaging as watching Dong-eun psychologically torment her bullies.

As the male lead, Yeo-jeong felt out of place in the revenge drama. The only linkage to Dong-eun was that he was her teacher for Go. This reignited connection years later still felt disengaging and almost impossible, considering how their relationship lacked a strong foundation in the first place.

Photo: Graphyoda/ Netflix

But given Kim Eun-sook’s past iconic works with romance, having a heartthrob character feels like the missing piece to her puzzle. No doubt, it will be fun to watch how the second season will explore Yeo-jeong’s own revenge story aside from helping Dong-eun.