Part 2 of The Glory ups the stakes and delivers twists and turns aplenty as the mega-popular revenge drama reaches an earned crescendo.
This review of The Glory Part 2 is spoiler-free.
A lot of people think Netflix’s fondness for Korean dramas started with the worldwide success of Squid Game, but those of us who have been around the streaming block a little bit know that isn’t the case. Sure, Squid Game was one of the first K-dramas to achieve legitimate mainstream, culture-shaping popularity, but it was the exception, not the rule, and since then, the Big N has tried to replicate its success with generally mixed results. The Glory, though, while not as meme-able and broadly appealing, might be the closest the streamer has come since to matching that kind of impact.
In a way, this isn’t all that surprising. The Glory, Part 1 of which debuted in December, is a story of revenge, which is a hugely popular theme in Korean dramas. It’s fronted by strong female characters on both sides of the class and morality divide, and has things on its mind, including the distinction between rich and poor and the longstanding impact of bullying and cruelty. Written by Kim Eun-sook and directed by An Gil-ho, it’s a strong, handsome, confident production that turns up the heat even further in its second block of eight episodes.
The Glory Part 2 Review and Plot Summary
To recap, the plot revolves around Dong-eun (Song Hye-kyo), a young woman from an impoverished background who, after suffering years of despicable abuse at the hands of the school’s rich kids, has devoted the last two decades of her life to vengeance. In Part 1, all of this was established with flashbacks and Dong-eun’s present-day efforts to recruit allies and accumulate damning evidence against her tormentors, including well-known weathergirl Yeon-Jin (Lim Ji-yeon) and her cronies Sa-ra (Kim Hieora), Jae-jun (Park Sung-hoon), Hye-jeong (Cha Joo-young), and Myeong-o (Kim Gun-woo).
Part 2 finds Dong-eun in a much more advantageous position. With the help of amateur P.I. Hyun-nam (Yeon Hye-ran) and her love interest Yeo-jeong (Lee Do-hyun), she’s holding onto some pretty substantial kompromat, so the stakes are immediately higher as we rocket into the back half of the season. The dynamic has changed considerably, too, with the cocksure bullies on the ropes, turning on one another out of desperation, and trying to think of outside-the-box solutions to prevent Dong-eun from delivering whatever killing blow she has in mind.
Yeon-jin remains a highlight as a caricature of privilege with a mean streak a mile wide, especially since Dong-eun has turned her wealthy husband, Ha Do-yeong (Jung Sung-il), against her. Unable to control her home life and her goons, Yeon-jin becomes even more unhinged, delivering a villain turn for the ages that thankfully isn’t undercut by lame efforts to humanize or redeem her. Meanwhile, as with Part 1, Dong-eun makes a great, quietly intense lead, allowing her trauma and trust issues to manifest without truly compromising her as a protagonist. She remains sympathetic even as she goes too far by most measures, and her overwhelmingly awful targets make her actions feel more justified and relatable.
Is The Glory Part 2 Good?
Of course, that tendency to lead towards the overblown can sometimes be a bit of a downside, though one that will admittedly be familiar – even comforting – to long-time K-drama fans who have come to expect a certain amount of melodrama in their revenge tales. It also helps that the story is told with exceptional confidence; all the subplots and characters, of which there are many, amount to something relevant and meaningful, and the twist and turns feel earned rather than ridiculous. There are still some structural flourishes that can sometimes needlessly overcomplicate things, The Glory being a show that is never content to settle for a single timeline, but for the most part, it’s easy and rewarding to follow the drama along to its conclusion.
There’s no reason to believe that The Glory Part 2 won’t exceed the explosive popularity of its freshman outing.
You can stream The Glory Part 2 exclusively on Netflix.