The Glory (2022) Review
How far will you go for that tasteful revenge against the bullies that ruined your happy teenage life? Can you enact the same painful physical, mental, and emotional trauma they have caused to ruin their lives?
In 2022, Netflix delivered a South Korean drama series that brought home many accolades and was recognized as one of the best series.
The Glory explores the story of Moon Dong-eun, a victim of school bullying by her schoolmates. She grew up in a broken family with only herself supporting her. Her mother's unstable mental state and hunger for greed allow her to rely on herself to fulfill her needs.
In high school, a 17-year-old Dong-eun was bullied by her wealthy classmates, led by Park Yeon-jin. Together with Yeon-jin are Jeon Jae-joon, Choi Hye-jong, Lee Sa-ra, and Son Myeong-oh. While she suffers from burns, cuts, and bruises, her bullies continue to get away because of their families' powerful connections with the school officials. When Dong-eun has had enough, she decides to commit suicide by jumping off a building but can't bring herself to do it. She decided to quit school and told her bullies that she would come back for them no matter how long it took.
Eighteen years later, Moon Dong-Eun starts her revenge plan as she applies to be a homeroom teacher for Yeon-jin's daughter. She carefully places the cards she researched against her bullies and will risk it all to attain that tasteful redemption she deserves. As the story progresses, she meets other people willing to help her for her cause because they also experienced the same tragedy in their lives.
The Glory doesn't have a massive cast because it focuses on the main characters involved in the story.
Moon Dong-eun - the story's main protagonist and heroine. A real-life bullying victim inspires her character in Cheong-ju district, who also suffered from burn scars from hair iron and bruises. She becomes the homeroom teacher of Park Yeon-jin's daughter, Ha Ye-sol. The first episode already examines Dong-eun's pain as she constantly gets bullied by her classmates and the school's staff, that blame her actions. The series allows you to always root for her because of her suffering. The beautiful and talented Song Hye-kyo plays her.
Joo Yeo-jong - a plastic surgeon who works at the Seoul General Hospital, where her mother is the director. He was haunted by his past when a serial killer murdered his father he saved. He vows to exact revenge against him. He also teaches Dong-eun how to play Go and supports her when he learns of her past. Lee Do-hyun plays his character.
Park Yeon-jin - the leader of the bullies and the series' main antagonist. Eighteen years after the bullying events against Dong-eun, she has a successful career as a weatherwoman. Still, she uses her social status and wealthy connections to perfect her performances on TV. She maintains a close relationship with the other bullies. Her downfall begins when Dong-eun returns and becomes her daughter's homeroom teacher. Throughout the series, her character is so hateful that you don't want her to win. Lim Ji-yeon plays her character.
Kang Hyeon-nam - a housekeeper who suffers from domestic violence along with her daughter. She became Dong-eun's sleuth and partner for her revenge in exchange for the killing of her abusive husband. Dong-eun also becomes her daughter's tutor. She is played by Yeom Hye-ran.
Jeon Jae-joon - one of Dong-eun's bullies. Eighteen years after the initial events, he inherited his family's golf club business and boutique. Despite his wealthy and influential status, he suffers from colorblindness and always has to wear corrective contacts. He also has a short relationship with Yeon-jin. He constantly butts heads with Yeon-jin's husband because of this. Park Sung-hoon plays his character.
Ha Do-yeong - Park Yeon-jin's husband. He is the CEO of Japyeong Construction. His personality contradicts his wife and detests her misdeeds. He gets caught in Dong-eun's plans and becomes a part of it as the story progresses. He is a skilled Go player who spends his free time playing in small gatherings. He is played by Jung Sung-il.
Choi Hye-jeong - one of Dong-eun's bullies. Eighteen years after the initial events, she works as a stewardess in an international airline company. She seems to be the easiest to be manipulated because she did not come from a wealthy family and was always played by Park Yeon-jin's hands. She becomes one of Dong-eun's pawns when she enacts her blackmail plans against the group. She is played by Cha Joo-young.
Lee Sa-ra - one of Dong-eun's bullies. Eighteen years after the initial events, she became a painter but suffers from drug addiction. She is a member of a choir in the church where her father is a wealthy pastor. She often butts heads with Hye-jeong. Kim Hieora plays her character.
Son Myeong-oh - one of Dong-eun's bullies. Eighteen years after the initial events, he works as an errand boy for Jae-joon and a drug dealer for Sa-ra. He becomes the first pawn in Dong-eun's schemes. He is played by Kim Gun-woo.
The Glory thrives itself in the buildup of characters and how they are set up to clash before the end of the series. Throughout the two seasons, we see the fall and rise of Moon Dong-eun as she begins her quest for revenge against the perpetrators that ruined her teenage life. We also see Park Yeon-jin's downfall from her powerful and boastful life to become Dong-eun's pawn in her game of revenge.
The series boasts powerful performances from the two main characters, Song Hye-kyo and Lim Ji-yeon. The accolades they received during the recent Baeksang Awards show the capability and flexibility of their acting talents that prove they mastered their craft by bringing powerful emotions into their scenes. The Glory also outlasted several great series like Extraordinary Attorney Woo and Our Liberation Blues.
Everything this series brings is gut-wrenching scenes that would make you cry or cringe in anger, especially when the imperfections of Park Yeon-jin's life begin.
The Glory boasts incredible scriptwriting and cinematography combined with a beautiful soundtrack that magnifies each scene to another level.
A perfect 5 out of 5 stars.