The Weekend Binge: "The Glory 2"
The final eight episodes of "The Glory" deliver a satisfying conclusion to the revenge scheme laid out in part 1.
In part 1 of the 16-episode series The Glory, we witnessed Song Hye-kyo in her darkest role yet as Moon Dong-eun, a teacher who meticulously plots her long-term vengeance against her high school bullies, with the help of Joo Yeo-jeong (Lee Do-hyun, Youth of May) and Kang Hyeon-nam (Yum Hye-ran, The Uncanny Counter). (Read our review of part 1 here) These bullies—popular girl Park Yeon-jin (Lim Ji-yeon, High Society), wealthy hotshot Jeon Jae-joon (Park Sung-soon, Into the Ring), druggie Lee Sa-ra (Kim Hi-eora, Bad and Crazy), social climber Choi Hye-jeong (Cha Joo-young, The Heavenly Idol), and thug Son Myeong-oh (Kim Gun-woo, The Ultimate Oppa)—left deep, emotional and physical scars on Dong-eun, and in this two-part revenge drama, we see her rise against her oppressors and reignite discussions around the persistent issue of school bullying.
In the much-more captivating part 2 of this drama, we'll witness Moon Dong-eun's years-long revenge scheming finally start to bear fruit. After a comparatively slow start in part 1, the latter half of the series picks up the pace and delivers on our need for retribution.
Starting from episode 9, you'll notice the more gripping narrative. Each episode concludes with a cliffhanger that leaves you eager to press the 'next episode' button. You'll see Dong-eun's revenge plans unfold, set apart by how she manipulates her tormentors to turn against each other and, ultimately, against themselves. She manages to orchestrate their self-destruction without resorting to violence herself, using their own flaws against them.
However, part 2 is not without its shortcomings. The romantic subplot between Dong-eun and the much younger plastic surgeon Joo Yeo-jeong is intended to justify his involvement in her scheme, but the lack of chemistry between the characters renders this aspect of the story unconvincing.
Song Hye-kyo's bold decision to take on this challenging departure from her usual romantic drama is also worth noting. While she has long been an A-list actress, this darker role elevates her status to a versatile one, now unafraid to push her boundaries. At the same time, Lim Ji-yeon's excellent portrayal of the main villain we love to hate should propel her into more prominent roles after this series.
Ultimately, The Glory succeeds as a satisfying revenge drama, effectively drawing attention to the persistent issue of bullying and the often insufficient response from educators and other authority figures. Yet, it raises a thought-provoking ethical dilemma for you, the viewer: Should we take revenge on our bullies, on the people who wronged us? Or move on with our lives, with our success showing our bullies that we weren't defeated by their cruelty?
The real-life bullying survivor who inspired The Glory in fact appeared on a Korean talk show to share her story and pose the question of whether she should take revenge on her bullies, who are now working as a nurse and social worker. The show thus invites you to engage in a broader conversation surrounding the morality and consequences of seeking vengeance.
Part 2 of The Glory makes up for the weaknesses of part 1 to deliver a compelling and satisfying makjang. While it isn't perfect, the series remains a strong addition to the expanding list of k-dramas exploring South Korea's bullying problem, including its dark consequences and the complex question of how best to confront and overcome such trauma.
Stream if you watched part 1 and want to live out your revenge fantasies vicariously.
Skip if you have no patience for weak subplots.
If you're in the mood for more revenge dramas or want to explore more bullying-themed shows, check out our recommendations here: What to Watch after The Glory