The Glory Season 1 Review and Episode 8 Recap – A Solid, Sometimes Uncomfortable Revenge Drama

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: December 30, 2022 (Last updated: March 5, 2024)
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The Glory Season 1 Review and Episode 8 Recap
The Glory Season 1 Image (Credit - Netflix)


It isn’t always easy watching, but fans of the revenge genre should find something to enjoy in The Glory.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, or so Gandhi would have it, but try telling that to victims of bullying – especially the kind of intense, relentless bullying that is so frequently seen in film and television. It’s never easy to watch a story about this, about someone being unnecessarily and cruelly tormented, but it’s important we do so we understand how commonplace it is in our own reality. For someone like that, revenge isn’t just an option, but an imperative. For Moon Dong-eun, the protagonist of the Netflix k-drama The Glory, it’s a lifestyle.

The Glory Season 1 Review and Plot Summary

The other difficulty in a story like this is making sure we understand the victim’s point of view, even years later. Dong-eun doesn’t pursue her old bullies through chance; she has dedicated her entire life to the cause, obsessively following their lives and planning how to ruin them. She openly contemplates killing. Forgiveness is never considered. So that we buy it, the brutality of her torment during her school years is displayed in great detail and at great length, making long stretches of The Glory an unpleasant watch.

These early events are displayed in flashbacks, with the narrative shifting regularly between the past and present day. Dong-eun’s backstory is nothing special, really. She was picked on for being poor, and her lack of social and familial support made her helpless.

So, too, did the socioeconomic status of her bullies, all overprivileged kids of the rich and pampered who could ensure their children never had to face any punishment for their actions. Even when Dong-eun went to the police and the school faculty, she was ignored.

The kids, too, knew she would be, encouraging them to behave with absolute impunity. Not to be totally defeated, Dong-eun focused on her education and career, but the physical and emotional scars were constant reminders that any potential justice would have to be achieved on her own terms.

Is The Glory good?

And thus, we have a show. Most of these eight episodes – the first part of a season split into two – are framed by an adult Dong-eun finally confronting the head of the gang that made her life so miserable, Park Yeon-jin, and telling the story to her. Through that, the audience gets narration that fills in some storytelling blanks and gives us an excuse to jump backward and forward through time. Yeon-jin in the past is deeply awful, and the present-day version, now moderately famous and successful but also married and a mother, isn’t any better. Lim Ji-yeon plays her convincingly, if archly.

It’s Song Hye-kyo as Dong-eun who really impresses as a picture of quiet determination and anger. She’s alternately sympathetic and faintly terrifying since the belief that she’s justified in her actions is so obvious. The script asks a lot from her, and she delivers it, capably carrying Part 1’s action on her shoulders.

Do things occasionally slip into the realms of melodrama? Yeah, sure. And, as mentioned above, the focus on the wicked torment of school-age children can become wearing, an easy and obvious form of drama. But, also as mentioned, these things really do happen, and these feelings really do manifest. In that way, at least, The Glory is a somewhat cathartic exercise in getting one’s own back, even if its morality can sometimes be questionable, and its drama is sometimes overdone.

The Glory Season 1 Episode 8 Recap

The Glory Season 1 Review and Episode 8 Recap

The Glory Season 1 (Credit – Netflix)

The main subject of Dong-eun’s ire is Park Yeon-jin, a sadistic young woman who knew that, because of her influential family, her actions would never be officially punished. She took obvious pleasure in torturing her victims. But while ruining her is the ultimate goal, Dong-eun targets the entire gang for their complicity, and even the educator who allowed the torment to occur.

In the midst of this is, essentially, a love story between Dong-eun and Yeo-jeong, a medical intern who meets Dong-eun by chance – or destiny? – and teaches her how to play Go, which functions as a visual and thematic metaphor throughout.

Dong-eun becomes a teacher and, over two decades amasses the right amount of evidence and a watertight plan to ruin everyone who made her childhood a misery.

In the present day, Yeon-jin is a wife and mother, and a semi-famous weather reporter, though her career has been protected by her wealthy and influential husband. Dong-eun moves into an apartment next to her house and begins looking for important documents in her garbage.

In this way, she uncovered the last will and testament of Yeon-jin’s father-in-law, Kim Shin-tae, who had bequeathed his sizeable estate to not just his son, Su-hyeon, but also his secret lover, Shin-tae, the chairman of Semyeong Elementary School where Dong-eun, through blackmail, is able to get a job as the teacher of Yeon-jin’s daughter, Ha Ye-sol.

Dong-eun also manipulates Myeong-oh, the group’s gopher in school and even in adulthood, into helping her. Her plans were pretty watertight in a lot of respects. Lee Sa-ra, a drug addict, was easy to manipulate with the narcotic.

Jae-joon, to whom Myeong-oh was especially subservient, could be damaged by his past. Hye-jeong, who was barely part of the group anyway and would have been their victim were it not for Dong-eun, kept all of her secrets on the phone she used to pretend she was living a lavish lifestyle.

Dong-eun also enlists the help of Kang Hyeon-nam, Yeon-jin’s home helper, in exchange for help with her abusive husband. With her team assembled, Dong-eun continued collecting evidence against her enemies, including proof that Ye-sol was not Do-yeong’s daughter, but Jae-joon’s.

Since Yeon-jin’s husband is so integral to her success and lifestyle, ruining her marriage is an obvious means of taking her down.

The Glory Season 1 Episode 8 ending explained

Jae-joon, it turns out, has been about a bit, and was also having a secret relationship with Hye-jeong, which Dong-eun also uncovers evidence of. In the meantime, she uses her knowledge of Go to entice Do-yeong, so she could be seen with him in public. In Yeo-jeong, a man also desperate for revenge after his father was murdered by a serial killer patient, she found a willing executioner.

The stakes are raised around the death of another of the gang’s victims, So-he, whose parents never dropped the case. Yeon-jin is willing to kill to keep this secret, and it seems – with a pair of green heels being a visual motif – that she kills Myeong-oh in order to do so, using her contacts and privilege to cover up the murder and force So-he’s family to finally drop the case.

But Do-yeong, after receiving the pictures of him and Dong-eun as a threat, begins to poke around himself and discovers evidence of his wife’s affair with Jae-joon, Ye-sol’s parentage, and Dong-eun’s connection as her teacher.

This eventually brings him face-to-face with Dong-eun, who is heavily relying on him to enact the next stage of her plan. Exactly what shape that will take remains to be seen, but it’ll surely involve destroying Yeon-jin completely. 

What did you think of The Glory Season 1, and Episode 8? Comment below.

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