K-Drama Review: ‘The Glory’ A Chilling Revenge Series with Song Hye Kyo’s Brilliant Performance

the glory review

Edited by Young Jun Yang
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

the glory review
Credit: Netflix

There was both excitement and concern over the reunion of “romance masters” Song Hye Kyo and Kim Eun Sook. However, it didn’t take long for people to realize that Netflix’s The Glory was a meticulously crafted revenge series.

Mon Dong Eun lives in a living hell. She’s bullied beyond what anyone can imagine by Park Yeon Jin and her clique, but there’s not a single friend or adult who’s willing to lend a helping hand. She goes up to the top of the building, thinking that the pain will only end when she’s dead, but soon she finds herself a new goal and dream – becoming “Park Yeon Jin,” the girl who’s tormented her life.

Unlike Dong Eun, Yeon Jin’s life was nothing more than a “playground”: nothing was difficult for her and she feared nothing. She had friends by her side, and every terrible thing she did disappeared with money and connections. She became a weathercaster, and as she’d always wished, she tied the knot with Ha Do Young, the CEO of Jaepyung Construction, at the prime of her life and had a beautiful daughter. It was a life everyone envied, but that was only until Dong Eun, who was nothing more than her “toy,” walked back into the picture.

The Glory follows the story of Dong Eun, who’s plotted her revenge for over a decade, and those who head toward ruin after getting caught up in her scheme. Some images come to mind when you think of a revenge story – anger, cruelty, excessiveness, etc. However, Dong Eun is quite different from other protagonists in the revenge dramas we’re familiar with, and the process of her concocting a plan is also unconventional. She’s cold, indifferent, and dry. All these things combined could make the series feel “dragging,” but The Glory maintains this tone while keeping the tense momentum for viewers.

Firstly, Song Hye Kyo’s new, unfamiliar face is particularly impressive. Rather than the “lovely” Song Hye Kyo we’re familiar with, her cool, never-laughing face we’ve never seen before is surprisingly refreshing and eye-catching. Lim Ji Yeon, who challenged her first-ever villain role, also flawlessly portrays the vicious and savage Park Yeon Jin. Of course, Jung Ji So and Shin Ye Eun, playing the younger days of Dong Eun and Yeon Jin, also showed outstanding performances.

Another note-worthy thing about The Glory is that it doesn’t give narratives to the perpetrators. Park Yeon Jin, Jeon Jae Joo (Park Sung Hoon), Lee Sara (Kim Hieora), Choi Hye Jung (Cha Joo Young), and Son Myung Oh (Kim Gun Woo) crushed Dong Eun’s life purely out of their pleasure. The fact that they show zero remorse for their own cruelty allows viewers the catharsis since there’s no room for sympathy even after they pay the price.

It’s not as impactful as her previous projects, but Kim Eun Sook’s unique lines and sense of humor are still the same. Listening to the catchy lines, especially said between the female characters, is a lot of fun. The talk between Dong Eun and her secret helper Kang Hyun Nam (Yeom Hye Ran) lightens up the mood, while the cheesy lines that the writer gave to Yeon Jin give off a chilly vibe. The attractive actors, story and lines, combined with Director An Gil Ho‘s unique directing, complete the quality and the fun of The Glory.

the glory review
Credit: Netflix

However, the relationship between Dong Eun and Joo Yeo Jeong (Lee Do Hyun) lacks persuasion. His willingness to become “an executioner” for her, just because they share a similar pain, needs more explanation. Since part 1 focuses on Dong Eun’s planning of the revenge, so Yeo Jeong’s screen time is significantly low, but the problem is that The Glory goes from a revenge thriller to a romance whenever the two meet. Rather, the subtle tension between Dong Eun and Ha Do Young (Jung Sung Il) is even more intriguing. But there’s plenty of room for him to make up for the disappointment in part 2 since Yeo Jeong will take on his role as Dong Eun’s aid in her revenge in earnest.

Moreover, the depiction of violence was another disappointment. Yes, it’s true that a portrayal of the violence to a certain extent was inevitable to convince viewers of the pain Dong Eun had to endure and to induce viewers’ anger at the villains. Yet, the abuse and violence shown in the series were unnecessarily explicit and provocative.

Part 2 will showcase Dong Eun actively carrying out the revenge she’s plotted all her life. Whose side will Do Young take after realizing his wife’s hast? How will Yeon Jin and her clique stop Dong Eun now that they know they’ve involuntarily joined the game Dong Eun started? And what will be left when this revenge ends? I can’t wait for March when part 2 will be released. (8/10)

 

Editor Yang Young Jun: There is at least one good part in every movie or TV series. A media geek who isn’t picky with genres.

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