Edited by Young Jun Yang
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
*This article includes a spoiler.
It was a painfully long two months. After the huge success of its first installment, part two of The Glory was finally unveiled. Will the end of the epic revenge Moon Dong Eun (Song Hye Kyo) has been plotting for a long time be an exhilarating ending or everyone’s downfall and ruin?
The story picks up right where we left it off, with Dong Eun executing her revenge to bring down Park Yeon Jin (Lim Ji Yeon), the one who’s ruined her life. Driven into a corner, Yeon Jin chooses Dong Eun’s mother as her “new curling iron” to torture her, but it’s not enough to crush Ding Eun’s lifelong vendetta. Now, the only thing left for the perpetrators is to be punished, thoroughly.
Those who made Dong Eun’s life a living hell finally faced the consequences of their actions. Yeo Jin was all alone, abandoned by her family, while Lee Sa Ra (Kim Hieora) lost her career and was put behind bars for attempted murder. Choi Hye Jung (Cha Joo Young) lost her voice, and Jeon Jae Joon (Park Sung Hoon) and Son Myung Oh (Kim Gun Woo) paid the ultimate price with their lives.
An interesting aspect of The Glory is that Dong Eun is never directly involved in the gruesome fate of those who wronged her. Though she might’ve orchestrated the whole scheme, it was the perpetrators themselves who turned on each other. Maybe it was a fitting ending for those who hadn’t changed one bit, just like Dong Eun’s mother. On the other hand, the sense of satisfaction that Dong Eun and her helpers give us as they rely on and support each other to achieve their own version of redemption is palpable.
The strengths of part one are still evident in part two. Firstly, because the latter half of the story focuses on the downfall of the villains, the performances of the actors are jaw-dropping. In particular, Song Hye Kyo’s transformation and the imposing presence of Lim Ji Yeon, somewhat wrapped with unfamiliarity (but still astounding), are overwhelming. Especially Lim Ji Yeon’s last weather forecast scene in the prison where her eyes are crying but her mouth is smiling gave me goosebumps. Park Sung Hoon, Kim Hieora, Cha Joo Young, Kim Gun Woo, and Park Ji Ah, who played the role of Moon Dong Eun’s mother, also perfectly embodied characters that one would never want to encounter in real life, adding to the immersion.
Writer Kim Eun Sook’s unique, ear-pleasing lines and comedic features spice up the show. The humor unexpectedly emerges and invigorates the dark atmosphere, and the witty lines are somewhat cringy but delicious to savor. The calm and cool screen tone that stood out in part 2 is also a prominent element in part two.
However, I still have mixed feelings about Dong Eun and Yeo Jung’s narrative. The story of overcoming the emptiness that remains after the long-plotted revenge with a new emotion is definitely attractive. Yet, the blind devotion of Yeo Jung (Lee Do Hyun) toward Dong Eun actually undermines the narrative’s persuasiveness. Watching the show, you might find yourself wondering exactly why Yeo Jung is so willing to become Dong Eun’s henchman.
The steps Dong Eun takes for her revenge are also a point where viewers might have different reactions. The revenge was so meticulously planned that it even included the culprit’s husband, not to mention the vast collection of evidence. Though it’s true that the perpetrators fell apart on their own, so not a single drop of blood was shed on Dong Eun’s hands, for those who expected a “satisfying revenge drama that Dong Eun completes with her own hands,” this ending may feel somewhat dull and forced.
Even if it might have a rather unsatisfactory ending compared to its grand start, The Glory is undoubtedly a drama that will remain in the memories of many. Considering its impact not only in Korea but also abroad, it is even more so. I earnestly hope that the discussion and seriousness regarding the issue of school violence will not end as a temporary phenomenon but will continue to receive attention in the future. A world where victims are silenced and perpetrators walk free is no fun at all, isn’t that right, Yeon Jin? (7/10)
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.