The Glory Season 1 Review – a solid, sometimes uncomfortable revenge drama

December 30, 2022 (Last updated: last month)
Jonathon Wilson 4
K-Drama, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
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It isn’t always easy watching, but fans of the revenge genre should find something to enjoy in The Glory.

This review of the Netflix k-drama series The Glory Season 1 does not contain spoilers.

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 new 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.

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.

Is The Glory good?

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.

What did you think of The Glory Season 1? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.

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4 thoughts on “The Glory Season 1 Review – a solid, sometimes uncomfortable revenge drama

  • January 2, 2023 at 8:45 am

    Just finished binging The Glory and found it to be one of the best kdrama’s that I have seen in a long time. The cast ( especially Song Hye Kyo) acting were all on point. And The writing, the flow the cinematography the overall production were all top notch. There were so many scenes that were just visually stunning it was like looking at art in motion. Each character portrayal was done so well but SHK too it to another level She seriously embodied the female character that I almost forgot I was watching SHK the gorgeous actress. I especially liked the relationship between her and the female side kick it was really cute funny and heart warming yet sad at the same time. The chemistry she had with the main male lead and surprising enough her chemistry with the main female lead husband was off the charts lol. I found myself looking forward to the scenes containing SHK and each of these three together. The Glory is a worthy watch but for those that are sensitive to violence ( my self included) err with caution. I just fast forwarded the gym scenes lol or anytime I saw a flash back lol.

  • January 4, 2023 at 9:23 am

    Once I started watching, I couldn’t stop until the next morning. The cast ( especially Song Hye Kyo) acting were all on point.

  • January 5, 2023 at 11:43 am

    I fully concur – binge watched the entire 8 episodes – and wow, did the cast deliver – particularly Song Hye Kyo. The story line is confrontational and cannot believe this level of violence does occur – though am sure it does as many lives have been lost to bullying (cyber and physical/verbal). Waiting for the next set of episodes. 2 months is too long.

  • January 6, 2023 at 10:22 pm

    I was wondering what’s wrong with the Korean society that prople opt for suicide for bullying. I mean, you can just leave and move away. Report to the authorities and move on with life. But having watched The Glory (I can’t believed i finished it in one day!), i saw & felt the victims anguished and how it tormented her for life. As much as I wanted to see her change and forget and have a life, I also wanted to see the perpetrators be punished- severely. It evokes emotions I thought I didn’t have for such genre. That’s when I realized the actors, the storyline and the cinematography were so so so good. It’s brilliant. Now I understand why Song Hye Kyo was chosen, she brought the character to life and she has done well. Her sneers and retorts make me cheer. She cunningly (yet also genuinely) made me fall for the character. Now I can’t wait for season 2.

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