In the first part of The Glory, we saw Moon Dong-eun carefully lay out the foundations of her grand machinations to take vengeance on the bullies who made her teenage years a living hell. Relentless in her pursuit for revenge, Dong-eun is almost a completely cold-blooded machine with only tiny sparks of humanity on display when dealing with her accomplice, Mrs. Kang (a wonderful Yeom Hye-ran), and a young doctor who has fallen for her, Joo Yeo-jeong (Lee Do Hyun). By the end of episode 8, the trap is set and one of the bullies has gone missing, Kim Gun-woo, while the husband of the mastermind of the bullies, Park Yeon-jin has begun to suspect their child is not his and his wife is not the person she had led him to believe.
The show, already intense as it is, gets even more heated in the first two episodes of its latest season. With Gun-woo missing, the bullies are starting to fall apart and turn against each other and this forces Yeon-jin to bare her fangs and fight back.
Part One of ‘The Glory’ was enjoyable because we saw Dong-eun (Song Hye-kyo) weave a tangled web that put her former tormentors into a tailspin. The show gave us a chance to revel in her vengeance. The campy, one-dimensional brutality of their bullying earns the psychological terror she puts the bullies in and we derive joy from it, despite how it could possibly destroy Moon Dong-eun’s soul forever.
But now that the pressure is on, Yeon-jin is fighting back and what was a one-sided battle has now become a head-on battle. And Yeo-jin is not without her means. While Dong-eun has had 18 years to prepare, at the heart of it all is a tortured soul. She’s still, inherently a good person seeking safety. Yeo-jin is pure evil and her opening salvo on episode 9 is directed at my personal favourite character, Mrs. Kang.
All of a sudden, Dong-eun’s plan is not as foolproof as we were led to believe.
At the same time, Yeon-jin’s husband, Ha Do Yeong (Jung Sung-il) is not some simple puppet. He’s still a variable who may or may not go against his scheming wife. And the bully Jeon Jae-jun (played by the brilliant Park Sung-hoon) has plans of his own to take Park Yeon-jin’s daughter as his own.
With all these variables coming into play, episode 9 and 10 of ‘The Glory’ has raised the stakes and taken out the fun of taking revenge and made the battle very real and very dangerous for Dong-eun. The advantage of surprise is no longer there. It’s her against all her bullies and while her first strike has been decisive and brutal; it seems that the retaliation will just be as severe.
What makes ‘The Glory’ so enjoyable was how we got to see these untouchable bullies suffer at the hands of the person they tormented. Now that it has evened out the playing field, it’s no longer a guilty pleasure. The show has managed to shift our desires from wanting to see Dong-eun’s comeuppance to just making sure she survives. This bait and switch, made possible by cutting the season in half and taking a 2-month break, is an interesting use of the medium to build momentum and to help the show gain its full stride.
Now, more than ever, her humanity is at stake and the show is now poised to reach a profundity that wasn’t available to it at the beginning. This is a promise made by the character of Mrs. Kang because Joo Yeo-jeong is very happy to be an accomplice to Dong-eun’s plan. His own dark backstory, as revealed in episode 10, has made him poised to be an even more frightening aspect of this story.
As ‘The Glory’ returns to streaming with part two, we will all await with bated breath how this story will end.
The Glory Part Two starts streaming on Netflix this March 10.