One of our biggest disappointments with Part 1 of “The Glory” was that the eight episodes spent so much time on Dong Eun’s past and her present organization of the pieces of her revenge that it started feeling like trauma porn. Even though one of her bullies, Myeong Oh, had died in “The Glory” Part 1 itself, we were far from having even an iota of satisfaction. The thing about revenge dramas is that there needs to be that “aha” moment. The audience’s emotional investment in these dramas is always high, and we want to see the villains receive their due, which really doesn’t happen with “The Glory.”
Allow us to explain why we say that. Part 1 had us hurting for Dong Eun, and Part 2 of “The Glory” was supposed to be part of the story that put us at ease once again. Dong Eun’s assailants suffered greatly, but it still lacked the punch. Dong Eun’s modus operandi was to isolate Yeon Jin completely and then reveal her misdeeds to the world. This was because Yeon Jin’s unabashed cruelty was due to her being protected by her circle of friends and family. Therefore, Dong Eun’s strategy makes sense, with Jae Joon, Hye Jeong, Sa Ra, and Myeong Oh suffering deserved collateral damage. But here is the thing about justice sought through revenge: it isn’t about balancing the scales. It is about complete annihilation, about making the person regret ever having crossed paths with their victim and dread the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives. If this is not what happens, then it is not revenge anymore. That is why we felt that Dong Eun had dealt with Yeon Jin and the group with a very light hand.
Dong Eun did not just suffer in high school; she spent her entire life constantly living a nightmare due to what happened to her. Where Myeong Oh and Jae Joon are concerned, they each died brutally, but that death came to them in minutes. It cannot compare to Dong Eun’s lifetime of suffering, especially when they were not even thinking of what they had done to her when they died. As for Hye Jeong, what happened to her couldn’t have been planned by Dong Eun. It’s not revenge unless karma is controlled by the victim. Coming to Sa Ra, she lost everything, but we can bet that her drugged-up mind will not allow her to think of Dong Eun when she looks back on things.
Additionally, Dong Eun did not plan the scene at the funeral home, so this is just another case of karma taking its own course. Finally, coming to Yeon Jin, Dong Eun was too kind to her. Let us take the example of Dong Eun giving the name tag to her mother. Dong Eun wanted to prove a point that even Yeon Jin’s family could betray her. But what we need to remember is that when Dong Eun’s mother betrayed her, she lost her last hope of justice, whereas there were no consequences for Yeon Jin’s mother betraying her. Everything Dong Eun did was to make sure that nobody would help Yeon Jin when she finally went to jail. But we believe that jail was too little a punishment for Yeon Jin, who had bullied people relentlessly throughout her life. She was a psychopath, and jail was too tame for her. Her getting bullied back or even the twist, in the end, are not strong enough to be what she deserved. It is almost as if Dong Eun, and by extension, the writer Kim Eun Sook, did not want the protagonist to get her hands dirty.
Kim Eun Sook has written dramas that have fuelled the Hallyu wave like nothing else, but we can tell that the revenge genre is just not her forte. But was this the reason, or was there some catering to the image of the actor involved? Song Hye Kyo is a major star, and not many would want to play a character with true shades of gray. Any blurred lines still need to be seen in a positive light for the roles they take on. It is pure speculation on our part, of course, but we have to ask these questions since we cannot digest that a writer of Kim Eun Sook’s calibre gave us something so dissatisfying. That was a long rant, but we are done with it for now. Let us get into the summary of Part 2 of “The Glory.”
Myeong Oh’s death
Myeong Oh was elated as he believed that he had Yeon Jin’s name tag, with which he could implicate her and the rest of the group for So Hee’s murder. He called each one of them, and finally, Yeon Jin asked to meet her. When she came over to his apartment, he told her what he had against her and demanded a billion won in return for his silence. He even tried making some sexual advances at her, and a horrified Yeon Jin hit him on the head with a wine bottle. A few more repeated blows killed him, and she immediately left his apartment. She called the police inspector, Young Joon, who had helped her with So Hee’s case, and asked him to take care of the matter of Myeong Oh. She then goes on to burn the clothes she had worn that day to erase all evidence. But unknown to Yeon Jin, Young Joon did not dispose of the body. Instead, he kept it in an old funeral home to be used as a bargaining chip at his convenience. And the murder weapon, the wine bottle, is with Gyeong Ram, the girl who was the group’s target after Dong Eun left school.
The Case Of Dong Eun’s Mother
When Dong Eun visited Yeon Jin, saying that she was giving her one last chance to confess her crimes, Yeon Jin said that she had nothing to be sorry about. What did we say about her being a psychopath? In fact, Yeon Jin claims that it was her actions that pushed Dong Eun to make something of herself. Dong Eun leaves her that day, saying that the meeting had erased any residual guilt she had about her actions. This is enough for Yeon Jin to start retaliating against her. She tracks down Dong Eun’s mother, Jung Mi Hee, and tells her that she would give her money if she could get her daughter fired from the school. Jung Mi Hee is already surprised that her daughter has made something of herself, but instead of staying out of her life, she gives in to the temptation of money. She caused a scene at Dong Eun’s school and started living in Dong Eun’s apartment even though she had moved into Yeo Jeong’s house.
Mi Hee contacted the parents of Dong Eun’s students and asked them for expensive gifts. When Dong Eun got to know about it, she confronted her mother and said that she should have left her alone if she could not do anything else for her. Dong Eun destroys the gifts her mother has gotten, but that fight ends with her getting a scar on her cheek. She is heartbroken, but now she has a plan. The next time she meets her mother, she doesn’t hold back one bit. That provokes her mother enough to overturn the barbecue setup, which lights the room on fire. Dong Eun has been recording everything, and she uses the tape to get her mother taken away to a rehabilitation center, getting rid of her once and for all.
Dong Eun’s Takedown Of The Group
Dong Eun’s revenge against Yeon Jin is a careful knockdown of her marriage, along with causing some infighting in the group. Yeon Jin learns about Hyeon Nam when she sees her husband’s photograph in Dong Eun’s apartment. Dong Eun hatches a plan to use Hyeon Nam as a double agent so that she is able to protect her and her daughter while letting Yeon Jin lull herself into a false sense of security. It is truly tragic that Hyeon Nam was not able to see her daughter a last time before she went abroad, but at least she knew that she was safe wherever she was.
Dong Eun’s eyes were on Yeon Jin’s crumbling marriage. Do Hyeong had already started distancing himself from Yeon Jin, especially after he came to know from Myeong Oh’s recording that she was having an affair with Jae Joon. But later, when Jae Joon beats up a teacher at Dong Eun’s school for taking inappropriate pictures of young girls, one of whom was Ye Sol, the suspected cat is out of the bag, and he admits to being Ye Sol’s father. When he meets up with Dong Eun, she doesn’t hide her scars from him, confirming that she has indeed been brutally bullied by Yeon Jin. However, he refuses to divorce his wife as he wants Ye Sol in his life, and Yeon Jin is still her mother.
But this doesn’t last long. Dong Eun tempts Sa Ra with some drugs and makes her come to an empty room in her father’s church while he is conducting a service. In a completely hallucinatory state, she starts touching herself, and that is caught on camera by everyone. The very same day, Dong Eun releases documents showing proof that she and So Hee were bullied by Yeon Jin. Yeon Jin runs away temporarily but is brought back by her husband, who tries to help her with his lawyers but ends up shocked by her coldness and lack of remorse for her actions. He starts seeing his wife for what she truly is, especially when he reads the details of her crimes. But the final nail in the coffin is when Jae Joon gives him the recording of Myeong Oh and Yeon Jin that implicates her in his murder while revealing that she killed So Hee. He serves her divorce papers soon after.
Yeon Jin’s Ruin Continues.
Losing her husband is a huge blow for Yeon Jin. But it just gets worse because of her friends. Hye Jeong tells Sa Ra that Yeon Jin released defamatory articles about her to distract people from her own scandal. Sa Ra believes it, and in her anger, she releases a video from years ago where Yeon Jin was bullying So Hee. Yeon Jin has only retained her job so far, despite not being able to write her own scripts, because her husband brought the channel a lot of revenue in the form of advertisements. Now that her divorce is public, she is not protected against the bullying allegations. When her boss asks her about it, she puts on a show of handing in her resignation.
By this time, Myeong Oh’s body has been recovered due to Dong Eun and Yeo Jeong tracking down the funeral home and making sure that Myeong Oh’s disappearance is written off and his death is investigated. At his funeral, before Yeon Jin gets there, the other three friends get into a fight. Hye Jeong has Myeong Oh’s tablet, which contains an explicit video of Sa Ra. She sends that to Jae Joon and herself to make fun of Sa Ra but says that the video must have been sent by Yeon Jin. Sa Ra believes it and pulls Yeon Jin’s hair when she arrives at the service. But within seconds, she stabs Hye Jeong in the neck for saying and doing the things she does.
Sa Ra is arrested immediately, as everything has happened in front of a huge group of people. She is taken into custody, and her father’s embezzlement also comes to light, effectively ending her life as she knows it. As for Hye Jeong, she is taken to the hospital. While she survives, her vocal cords are injured, hence she is unable to speak. Jae Joon, who had asked her to marry him so that he could adopt Ye Sol when the time came, dumps her right then and there.
Yeon Jin’s Mother
Covering up her daughter’s crimes is not the worst thing that Yeon Jin’s mother, Hong Young Ae, has done. She is an ardent believer in the supernatural, but she also doesn’t care about her daughter as long as it means that her life is compromised, like in the previously mentioned name-tag situation. Dong Eun knows this, and she puts this knowledge to good use. She makes Hyeon Nam’s husband blackmail Young Ae by telling him about Yeon Jin’s misdeeds. Young Ae thinks that Young Joon is somehow responsible because of the details that Sok Jae knew. She orchestrates an accident where she kills Sok Jae while having Young Joon as the witness. This, according to her, is killing two birds with one stone. Not only has she eliminated her blackmailer, but Young Joon is more beholden to her than ever. But she doesn’t know that the real player is Dong Eun. Not only has she gotten rid of Sok Jae as per her promise to Hyeon Nam, but she has also laid the trap for Young Ae to go behind bars. When Hyeon Nam refuses to settle with Young Ae to make the case go away, the police are forced to investigate. They find the call records between Sok Jae and Young Ae and the messages, which show that he was blackmailing her. Connecting the dots, they take her into custody for his murder. Meanwhile, Young Joon has been killed by his aides, now that he doesn’t have as much money to give them due to his source being arrested for good.
‘The Glory’ Ending Explained: How Did Dong Eun Take Revenge From Yeon Jin?
Yeon Jin had been lured to Yeo Jeong’s clinic, where he had picked off a sample of her skin. Dong Eun planted it under Myeong Oh’s fingernails before the police discovered his body. Later, when the police were investigating it, they found that the DNA under his fingernails matched the DNA found on the lighter retrieved as evidence near So Hee’s body. An anonymous tip leads the police to the scene of Myeong Oh’s murder, where they find the murder weapon, the wine bottle, sitting on the desk. Yeon Jin is arrested and taken to jail.
The only remaining person to be taken care of is Jae Joon. Dong Eun asks Hye Jeong to swap his eye medicine for another chemical so that he ends up permanently blind. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and Hye Jeong does exactly that when she goes to get the rest of her things from his place. As a blinded Jae Joon is looking for help, he is pushed off the building by Do Hyeong (insinuated) to avoid any future custody battles for Ye Sol.
Do Hyeong visits Yeon Jin for a final time in prison to get her signature on the divorce papers. She asks him whether he would let her stay in touch with Ye Sol through letters. Do Hyeong doesn’t answer her, and we can gauge that Yeon Jin has seen the last of her daughter. Afterward, even Dong Eun pays her a visit. An arrogant Yeon Jin claims that the only thing she regrets is not getting away with her crimes. Dong Eun laughs and implies that there is a secret that she doesn’t know. While Yeon Jin had rained blows on Myeon Oh’s head, the fatal blow was struck by Gyeong Ram, who was in an adjacent room. Yeon Jin was in jail for a crime she had not committed, though Dong Eun does not tell her this and lets her stew in the suspense.
Now that her revenge is complete, Dong Eun does what we suspected she had wanted to do for a long time. She gets on the edge of the rooftop to jump to her death. Dong Eun had never known happiness in her life, and now that the purpose for which she had stayed alive was fulfilled, she wanted to move on. But she is stopped by Yeo Jeong’s mother. She asks Dong Eun to stay alive for her son’s sake, and Dong Eun is unable to refuse as she has grown to have feelings for him. But she doesn’t meet him right away. She disappears for six months, which she spends in a monastery. Maybe she just wanted some time to readjust the priorities in her life while planning the next stage of it. She meets a woman there and asks her for help in relocating a prisoner to Jisan Prison.
Dong Eun’s recreational activities also have ulterior motives. The woman agrees, and Dong Eun finds herself coming back to Yeo Jeong. He has been waiting for her all this time and is overjoyed to see her. They confess their love to each other, and Dong Eun tells him that she will be his executioner now. When Yeo Jeong confronted his dad’s killer about his reason for murdering his father, he said that he was just miffed with him because of his concern for his son. Basically, the killer blamed Yeo Jeong for his dad’s death. Yeo Jeong had told the killer that he would take his revenge soon enough, and he started that with Dong Eun by his side. The duo took up jobs in the prison facility, and soon enough, they had made enough friends and connections with the prisoners that they would be willing to help them. Love can truly be found in a shared desire for revenge. Believe it or not, as much as we felt the lack of chemistry between Yeo Jeong and Dong Eun, we thought that the way they connected with each other was sweet. But then, the writer Kim Eun Sook’s forte has always been romance. We wish she had gotten more time for it because, though their story had potential, it did not have the proper time to develop. “The Glory” Season 1 ends with the killer knowing that his end is near when he sees Yeo Jeong in the prison hallway.
“The Glory” could have been done in 10–12 episodes. All of our criticism for “The Glory” boils down to the protagonist’s unwillingness to get her hands dirty, which took away from the intensity and complexity of the revenge. She keeps saying that she is not a good person, but we don’t see her do any morally gray things either. The focus was on painting Dong Eun as an avenging angel, but the complications of revenge just got lost in it. Even the original revenge saga, “The Count of Monte Cristo,” had the titular character forgo his revenge for his lady love Mercedes, and that added to his character and the plot.
Imagine something like that in “The Glory,” where Dong Eun struggles with accepting the love in her heart that had always been filled with hate. The process couldn’t have been as simple as it was shown in the series. But we would still have given it a pass if the revenge had been satisfactory. It wasn’t, and that was the biggest letdown. Either way, it is clear that there won’t be a season 2 of “The Glory.” We appreciate that, and we also hope Kim Eun Sook Sunbaenim comes out of her creative rut and gives us another gem soon enough.