We all love a good revenge drama. The Glory offers a well-established storyline that caters to a vengeance-obsessed audience and challenges our anger management issues. While I don’t agree with the move to split the drama into two parts, I believe this is more of an executive decision from Netflix to milk its depleting subscriber count. Anyway, I honestly couldn’t think of any other phrase to describe the first part but “cruel yet impressive.”
As unfortunate as it may sound, school bullying is always around. Especially in Korea where it’s still arguably largely monoethnic, social classes and unrealistic beauty standards are still being valued by many. There are three levels of how it can be addressed. The first and obvious one is the intervention of the school through the teacher or the administration. Second is the parents of either the bullied or the bully which is a bit more difficult because cooperation may not be attainable. The final level would be through the bullied who can take matters into his/her own hands – whether that would be done cleanly or not for lack of a better phrase. And in The Glory, the victim takes matters into her own hands – planning decades-worth of revenge against her perpetrators.
Moon Dong-eun (Song Hye-kyo) grew up experiencing violence for breakfast. Her father is nonexistent, and her mother willingly throws her off under the bus when tempted by money. Dong-eun faces the most brutal of bullying from a group of rich brats who burns her skin and assaults her. It is a great build-up if that’s the drama’s aim to gain our attention! It makes my blood boil, and I can’t wait for doomsday to come. The bullies took the limelight for Part 1 – we watch them succeed one by one in their dream life while their poor victim spent every single day waiting for her turn to avenge her misery.
Dong-eun’s every move is calculated. She worked hard day and night to fund herself and her schooling. Studied for major tests and survived university. All these while still getting updates from her bullies through their colorful social media accounts. I liked how the drama kept it real on how Dong-eun was able to plot her revenge for so long. She assessed her enemies’ strengths, weaknesses, and connections. And the best way to get back into their lives again? Yes, through the school where they used to beat. What a full circle moment when Dong-eun finally entered her old school not as the bullied dropout, but as a homeroom teacher of her mortal enemy’s daughter.
The drama didn’t lack the intriguing lives of supporting characters as well. Main bully Park Yeon-jin (Im Ji-yeon) and her two minions Lee Sa-ra (Kim Hieora) and Choi Hye-jeong (Cha Joo-young) grew up into the women they aspired to be. Yeon-jin became a successful weather girl with a loving family. Sa-ra is an acclaimed artist who holds exhibits and still sings at church. Hye-jeong remains to be the social climber that she is, but now she works as a flight attendant. All three women look elegant on the outside, but their personalities still rot deep within.
While the women are all flourishing in their careers, the men however are a different story. Jeon Jae-joon (Park Sung-hoon) is now a certified business mogul thanks to his rich parents and treats Son Myeong-oh (Kim Gun-woo) as his
dog servant. Complications arise when Dong-eun started to jolt their lives. The plan is easy – reveal their weaknesses, turn them against each other, and take away the most precious in their lives. But the execution? It is way dangerous for someone like Dong-eun to do it alone.
Injuries, not scars
One of the best scenes in the drama was when Dong-eun revealed her past to Joo Yeo-jung (Lee Do-hyun). She came clean about her revenge, and she does not need a prince charming to rescue her from the personal grief that she’s been processing for the longest time. All she needs is an executioner – someone who would not bat an eye just to kill for her. It’s a very intimate scene and I was stunned when Yeo-jung explained to Dong-eun that the marks on her body are not unhealed scars, they are injuries, and that people should pay for what they did to her. Yeo-jung willingly joins her in her plan and I can’t wait for the pair to bring chaos to Dong-eun’s bullies.
Speaking of Yeo-jung, what an intriguing character he is! I’m so excited for Lee Do-hyun because he lets go of his good boy image in this drama! At first, I thought he was just like his past roles – a smitten schoolboy who does everything for his noona crush. But the moment those nerve-racking knives made their debut on screen, I knew. Yeo-jung exudes serial killer vibes – I hope not because I want to root for him and Dong-eun – but I couldn’t help thinking about his connection with Kang Yeong-cheon (Lee Moo-saeng).
What made Dong-eun different from other revenge-hungry anti-heroes is her game plan. She is an offensive fighter. Dong-eun knows when to strike and does not hide from her enemies. She lets everyone know that it’s her doing – making The Glory an enjoyable watch. Dong-eun reveals her enemies’ darkest secrets while showing them the path to her. Now, one of the most intriguing cliffhanger points that the drama left us with was Yeon-jin’s husband. Whose side will he take on? He is equally cunning as everyone, so I don’t want to get my hopes up. But if Yeon-jin were to team up with him, of course, Jae-joon would not sit back and watch them raise Ye-sol (Oh Ji-yul) together.
🔪 The teenage counterparts of the main characters deserve their own spin-off show! I never thought I’d hate Shin Ye-eun even more after her “pick-me girl” character in Yumi’s Cells, but her portrayal as teenage Yeon-jin is on a whole new level of evil! She’s one hell of a talented actress!
🔪 Protect Hyeon-nam (Yum Hye-ram) at all costs! Poor woman only wanted to be freed from her abusive husband and give her daughter the best life! I hope she gets the justice she deserves. Also, isn’t she the best spy ever?