THE SHORT VERDICT:
A darkly polished revenge tale that does a good job of spinning its story, so that there’s an absorbing, cracky quality to the watch experience.
There’s a touch of OTT caricature to the bad guys in our story world, which, in my opinion, makes it easier to hate them and root for their downfall. 😅 Importantly, Show makes it natural and quite easy, to root for our protagonist to achieve her goals.
Show might “just” be Part 1, and therefore not a story that can stand on its own, but it does a very solid job of laying the foundation for Part 2, and making me want to watch that, too – and soon.
THE LONG VERDICT:
I have to admit that my main reason for being curious to check out this show, wasn’t really the premise, nor the fact that Lee Do Hyun’s in this (because I’d heard – and it’s true – that he doesn’t really get all that much screen time, in the grand scheme of things).
Mainly, it was because this show had been enjoying quite a good amount of buzz, and my FOMO was kicking in, kinda-sorta in the way it’d kicked in, when Squid Game (review here!) took the world by storm.
And, now that I’ve come out the other side, I hafta say, I enjoyed this way more than I’d originally thought I would, when I first heard about Show and its premise.
Apparently, I’m more into revenge dramas than I’d thought. 😅
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.
Overall, I found the music pleasant and well-applied, in that I never actually found it distracting, during my watch.
At the same time, though, I have to admit that I can’t name a single track that actually made more than a passing impression on me, as I spent time with this drama. Maybe by the time I finish watching Part 2 of this show, that might change? 😅
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are some things which I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. There’s bullying in this, and it can get intense.
Which shouldn’t be that surprising, since it’s built into Show’s premise. But, I will say that the bullying scenes are pretty hard to watch.
The good news is, most of the bullying scenes are in our first episode or two, so once you get through that, they appear a lot less, and also, mostly to a less intense degree.
I do think that it’s worth getting through the bullying scenes, because I found Show to be worthwhile.
2. Dong Eun isn’t actually targeting the bully’s kid
When this show had first been announced, I’d furrowed my brow at the premise, that Dong Eun would target her tormentors’ children as her revenge plan. Because, the children are innocent, after all, right?
..is what I was thinking.
Now that I’ve seen what Show has to offer, I can say that my early concerns were unfounded.
This is mildly spoilery, but I think it’s helpful to know that Dong Eun (Song Hye Kyo) is indeed targeting the bullies themselves, rather than the kid in her charge. I just thought you’d like to know. 😅
Of course, Part 2 hasn’t aired yet, as I type this, so this could well change, but the coast is clear, at least for Part 1? 😅
3. This isn’t a romance
When Show had first announced that Lee Do Hyun would be Song Hye Kyo’s leading man, I’d been a little concerned about whether Show would make this into a noona romance kind of deal, like what Why Her? (Dropped post here!) had done.
Again, there’s no way to speak on behalf of the whole show, since only Part 1 is available right now, but so far, anyway, there isn’t a romance between our leads.
I’d also been concerned that perhaps Lee Do Hyun would be a student, to Song Hye Kyo’s teacher, and that’s not the case at all. She is a teacher, yes, but he’s not a student, and like I said, while there may be some feelings in the mix, there is currently no romance, between their characters.
I just thought that was helpful to mention upfront, particularly for viewers who really like their romances.
STUFF I LIKED
I’ll be doing a macro-ish look at the things that I liked and liked less in this show, before doing a selective spotlight on characters and relationships.
Because of the mystery element to our story, it doesn’t quite make sense for me to include all of my reactions to each of Show’s clues, so I will be summarizing broadly, in spots.
If you’d like a look at my blow-by-blow reactions to this show, you can check out my episode notes on Patreon here.
Show’s general handling and execution
I think this screenshot sums it up very well; Show’s dark, polished, and at the same time, sometimes rather haunting, and I think a chunk of credit goes to Show’s general handling and execution.
From the lighting to the framing of each shot, the cinematography is precise and evocative, with some shots landing as extra artistic – at least to my eyes.
Additionally, I really like the pacing, in this show. Things happen pretty fast, in this drama world.
When I was just 4 episodes into my watch, I already felt like a good amount of stuff had happened, and we’d already gained some important momentum to our story.
At first, I thought to myself that this was probably because Show is shorter – but then, on further thought, I realize that it isn’t shorter.
This first part is 8 episodes, and Part 2 is also 8 episodes, which makes for a total episode count of 16; a typical run length in kdramas.
And yet, in 4 episodes, I feel like Show covers more ground than most dramas cover, in the same amount of time.
This bodes well for the rest of our story, if Part 2 manages to keep up the pace. 😊
The way Show tells its story
It’s true that this section could well be subsumed at part of the previous section, but I just wanted to give the storytelling in Show, an independent shout-out.
The way Show doles out information in chunks and fragments, while toggling two timelines and a bunch of characters across both timelines, had me quite effectively on the edge of my seat, because I felt so intrigued by what the various pieces were coming together, to tell me.
I also found myself effectively hooked by the episode cliffhangers, and curious to see what happens next – and soon.
It’s all pretty messed up, yes, but it’s also thoroughly compelling, and I couldn’t look away.
The way Show makes sure to remind us to root for Dong Eun
Coming into this show, one of my concerns had been, whether I would be able to fully buy into Dong Eun’s revenge, since this is a revenge story, and she’s our protagonist.
Happily, Show not only establishes clearly why she should take revenge on her abusers, Show ensures that I continued to be on Dong Eun’s side, by reminding me at intervals, just how terribly depraved her bullies are.
Here’s a look at how Show managed that, over several different episodes.
E2. This episode, we see that the bullies really haven’t changed one bit, in adulthood.
They’re just older, and with more access to money, and therefore playing in more adult, dysfunctional ways than when they’d been teenagers.
The power dynamics still appear to be the same, with Yeon Jin holding court as queen, with Sa Ra as her right-hand woman, and Hye Jeong as the default punching bag.
Myeong Oh’s still Jae Joon’s lackey, and Jae Joon’s still a rich boy living it up on his family wealth.
I think the thing that I find most disturbing about it all, is that no one’s memories of the past have faded; they are fully aware of what bullies they were, in high school.
And, they seem to wear it as some kind of badge of honor.
I mean, that’s the vibe I get, when Yeon Jin threatens Hye Jeong, by reminding her that if not for Dong Eun, she would have been their target, back in the day.
So, they remember everything, but even with time, and, one would assume, more maturity, there is no sense of regret for what they’d done to Dong Eun, when they were kids.
That unrepentant attitude, along with the sense of entitlement, that the world should be their oyster, and everyone should bow in worship, pretty much, definitely irks me, and for this reason, I do find myself feeling like maybe it’s time that someone – like Dong Eun – ought to teach them a lesson.
E4. I realize that all Show has to do, to keep me firmly on Dong Eun’s side of things, is to show me a flashback of how the Bullies had tortured her, and gotten so much glee from it.
The idea that they are still unrepentant of it now, on hindsight, is enough to convince me that these people need to be punished, and that they should get a taste of their own medicine, because that seems like the only way they will ever see the error of their ways.
Because of this, I find myself on board with the idea of Dong Eun playing their game, and playing by the kind of unfair and dirty rules that they’d used, because they just don’t seem to see that they were wrong.
Also, their collective apparent lack of conscience and moral compass, kind of makes them all land as caricatures to me, versus real people, and that makes it easier for me to root for their collective suffering and destruction. 😅
E5. To be clear, I don’t care for the glimpses of violence that we still get, through the flashbacks that Show serves up from time to time, BUT, I see their value, because it keeps it fresh in my head, why these perpetrators need to be punished, and why I’m rooting for Dong Eun to succeed in her big plan.
This episode, we’re starting to get some glimpses into the kind of PTSD that Dong Eun suffers, and it’s very sobering to realize that there are so many mental and emotional wounds left by her terrible experience, that even simple things like having her photograph taken, can be a trigger for her.
I mean, I’d already been fully on Dong Eun’s side, after seeing in our first episode, just how cruel the bullies had been to her.
I’d understood in my head that Dong Eun would suffer emotional trauma from all this, but somehow, the idea that simple everyday things would become triggers for her hadn’t crossed my mind, and now, more than ever, I feel so sorry for Dong Eun, for all that she’s had to suffer, just because some entitled kids thought it would be fun to torture her. 😭
AND, more than ever, I want her to succeed in her plan to punish the people who’ve made her life such a nightmare.
STUFF THAT WAS OK
The presentation of bullying as a systemic problem
So.. I don’t like the bullying and the very real presentation of it, but, it’s part of our story’s premise – which is why I’ve got it in this section.
Which means that it’s not because the bullying scenes are not well done. They are perhaps too well done?
Personally, I felt that the burns on Dong Eun’s arms and legs look too real for viewer comfort, and I found myself feeling extremely uncomfortable, watching her get tortured with those hot irons. 🙈
For the record, I found the bullying scenes – which land more like torture scenes to me, really – extremely hard to watch.
The portrayal of dysfunction in this drama world
There is a lot of dysfunction in our drama world, but it’s part of the basic premise of our story, which, again, is why it’s in this section.
E1. It’s just disturbing on so many levels, that kids would do this kind of thing to other kids, AND, would get a thrill from it.
It’s even more disturbing, that teachers in the school would turn a blind eye to the abuse, because the bullies’ parents are rich and powerful.
I do get that it’s probably very possible, that a teacher who would dare interfere and make these rich bullies look bad, would very likely lose their jobs.
But the way Show plays it, it seems like the homeroom teacher, at least, isn’t actually wrestling with his conscience, when he condones the abuse.
In fact, we see him hitting Dong Eun – over and over and over again – when he’s not happy with the way her withdrawal form is filled out, in front of other teachers, no less, and nothing bad seems to happen to him as a result.
It seems like there’s nothing and no one in Dong Eun’s favor, in her teenaged years, and it’s just really, really, really bad, all around.
Her classmates torture her; the police don’t do anything when called; the teachers either condone it or resign; her mother basically sells her for money; she gets legit abandoned.
All that in the space of less than an episode. It’s a heckuva lot to swallow, and I’m honestly not surprised that Dong Eun contemplates suicide, and more than once.
I’m uncertain whether to think of this as a surreality that’s been amped up for dramatic effect, or a more accurate representation of the world than I’d like to accept.
Maybe it’s a bit of both, but for my mental wellbeing, I’m choosing to lean towards this being more of a dramatic surreality. 😅
SPOTLIGHT ON CHARACTERS & RELATIONSHIPS
Song Hye Kyo as Dong Eun
To be honest, Song Hye Kyo is a little hit or miss for me, as an actress; sometimes I think she’s great, and sometimes, I feel like she’s not so great, in the role.
Which, actually, was part of my trepidation, in approaching this show. Like, what if this was one of those times that I found Song Hye Kyo not so great?
Well, my friends, my fears were unfounded, because – and I’m so happy to say – Song Hye Kyo is great in this.
I do think that this might the best I’ve seen from her, to date.
First, I do think that the role suits her very well.
Song Hye Kyo’s got a natural vibe that leans a little cold, to my eyes, and this works perfectly with her character Dong Eun.
Second, I do feel like she’s digging deeper, and delivering better, than I’ve seen from her in any role, and I think that’s fantastic.
Put together, this definitely makes her a pleasure to watch, in this show.
Before I go any further, I wanted to also touch on some of the netizen sentiment out there, that Song Hye Kyo looks old in this show.
I’m just really glad that Song Hye Kyo herself was asked to weigh in on those comments, because I am in complete agreement with Song Hye Kyo’s response, that it’s in line with Dong Eun’s character.
It’s completely true that Dong Eun’s been living a very hard life, and pushing herself to extremes, in order to claw her way towards the teacher position that she’d felt would enable her to put her revenge plan into motion.
It’s just not in Dong Eun’s nature to eat good food and take good care of her skin, and wear pretty makeup, y’know?
In fact, apparently Song Hye Kyo hardly wore any makeup for the role, in order to reflect this aspect of Dong Eun, and I applaud her for choosing authenticity over vanity. In fact, I have to say that this is the best I’ve seen of Song Hye Kyo, in recent years.
When I look at her as Dong Eun, I can imagine the hard times that Dong Eun’s been through, because of the stark worn-ness in her face.
All that to say, I think Song Hye Kyo looks pitch perfect in the role, even if there are people who think that she should look younger and prettier.
And, she’s definitely got me completely invested in Dong Eun’s journey, with her portrayal, and that’s very excellent indeed.
Here are some of my Dong Eun related thoughts during my watch; there’s more, which I’ll be talking about in other sections in this review.
E1. What Show’s done, is effectively show me, just how horrible things were for Dong Eun, that she would want to die, and how the decision to survive, in order to get revenge, is very likely the only thing that actually prevented her from taking her own life.
In a twisted way, it’s her desire for revenge that’s saved her.
But now.. will it continue to save her, or will it destroy her – is what I’m wondering, because this is Netflix, which tends to lean dark, but it’s also kdrama, which tends to lean redemptive.
That makes it hard to predict which way Show will lean in the end, which, I suppose, adds to the thrill of the watch?
When Dong Eun says in voiceover,
“An eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth… a fracture for a fracture.” “The one who inflicted the injury must suffer the same.” I don’t know. That sounds… too fair to me. Don’t you think?”
And, y’know, after seeing everything that Dong Eun had gone through, I can actually see why she feels that playing fair wouldn’t actually put her in the same playing field as her tormentors.
They hadn’t played fair, when they’d ganged up on her and made her life a living hell, so to play their game, she shouldn’t play fair either, when planning her revenge.
That.. does make a twisted kind of sense, doesn’t it?
E2. It becomes clear that Dong Eun’s playing a long game, and isn’t afraid of investing the time, in order to achieve her goal.
I mean, it gives me chills to hear her talk about how she’s thankful that Yeon Jin (Im Ji Yeon) becomes a mother, at the same time that she passes the Teacher Certification Exam, and that’s why she likes the Spring of 2015 so much.
Dong Eun’s clearly messed up, but also, how could one not be messed up, after everything that she’d been through, right?
As we get through the episode, it becomes clear that the net that she’s casting is a wide one, because she’s not just targeting Yeon Jin’s child; she also seems to be targeting her homeroom teacher’s son (Park Yoon Hee and Kang Gil Woo), who turns out to be the Sunbae that we see her smiling so brightly at. Yikes.
As it turns out, though, Sunbae’s not as nice or innocent a guy as he first appears, so my initial conflicted feelings about Dong Eun targeting him, eventually evened out to neutral.
E3. It appears that Dong Eun absolutely can be the murdery sort, if she wants to be – she’s just willing to play a longer game, so that she doesn’t directly get blood on her hands.
Which, as an aside, makes me wonder a bit, if Dong Eun would literally be able to take someone’s life directly, if it came to that. Hmm. 🤔 I’m guessing she would, even though it may not be part of her nature to do so?
E4. I love how Dong Eun doesn’t appear to be afraid of anything at all, now.
The way she casually pushes Jae Joon’s (Park Sung Hoon) buttons about his color blindness, while knowing how mad and crazy this makes him, is pretty darn badass – particularly since she appears to do it almost as an afterthought.
E4. The thing about Dong Eun’s revenge, is that it’s less about revenge, and more about rogue justice.
The system had failed her, and so, she’s taking things into her own hands, against the ones who’d made her life a living hell, and who’d made Yoon So Hee’s (Lee So E) life so awful that she’d killed herself.
From what we see from her flashback this episode, it does seem like Dong Eun feels some guilt towards So Hee, for having been a bystander who had done nothing, even when she’d seen signs that So Hee was being abused.
And now, with her fight to take down the Bullies, Dong Eun seems to be doing this as much for So Hee, as for herself.
E6. I’m not sure of the purpose of the pervy Teacher Chu (Heo Dong Won) at Dong Eun’s school, who thinks that Dong Eun got her position by sleeping with the school chairman.
BUT, I did get a very big stab of satisfaction at the way Dong Eun gives him a taste of his own medicine, by doing to him and saying to him, exactly the things that he says and does to her, especially the sing-song, “Just kidding!”
Suddenly, Teacher Chu isn’t smiling anymore, and I’m just mentally doing a fist pump for Dong Eun’s small victory against him.
But, part of my brain reminds me that Teacher Chu is unlikely to take this lying down, and might now look for ways to make Dong Eun’s life difficult. Hm. Maybe that’s his narrative purpose, after all. 🧐
Jung Ji So as Dong Eun (teen)
I just wanted to give a shout-out to Jung Ji So, who plays teenaged Dong Eun.
It couldn’t have been an easy part to play, particularly since almost all of teenaged Dong Eun’s scenes have to do with being bullied, abused and tortured.
She does an excellent job of the part, and I winced in pain along with her.
Im Ji Yeon as Yeon Jin
For the record, I don’t like Yeon Jin as a character, but I do find her quite fascinating, and I do think that Im Ji Yeon does a great job of delivering the role.
While watching her, I couldn’t help but wonder what exactly makes her tick, such that she’d be such a bundle of contradictions.
I talk a lot more about Yeon Jin in the section where I discuss her connection with Dong Eun, but for now, here are a handful of thoughts and observations that I had in relation to Yeon Jin, during my watch.
E2. There’s a distinct sense of entitlement and double standards when it comes to the way Yeon Jin looks at the world, and it shows in moments like the one where Yeon Jin is shown having an afternoon tryst with Jae Joon (no actual nudity here, but still a scene I would classify as NSFW, just so you know), and she tells him that he should tell her, if he ever wants to get married – because she doesn’t like to share.
But, she has no qualms about two-timing her husband, in order to sleep with Jae Joon, eh?
That’s a glaring double standard right there, and they do say that how you do anything, is how you do everything. I would believe that Yeon Jin has double standards whenever it suits her.
E3. Dong Eun’s making her presence felt to the Bullies, and I do love how unsettled Yeon Jin looks, in seeing Dong Eun again.
Clearly, Dong Eun’s new confidence and her apparent nonchalance over the past, is unnerving Yeon Jin, and making her uneasy and suspicious.
E6. Yeon Jin’s become desperate enough in her situation with Dong Eun, to take it to her mother (Yoon Da Kyung), who appears to be preeetty darn confident, that she’d be able to take care of the whole thing.
I think one of the more disturbing things here, is that Mom treats Yeon Jin with disdain, for even feeling the least bit intimidated by the likes of Dong Eun.
I guess we can see where Yeon Jin got her values from?
It’s an interesting angle as well, that Yeon Jin says that she’s not afraid of anything, except for Ye Sol (Oh Ji Yul) finding out about her past.
I’d been under the impression that Yeon Jin had no sense of remorse or regret about the things that she’d done to Dong Eun, so this is the first time she’s expressing something in the vein of shame, in relation to her treatment of Dong Eun.
I’m trying to reconcile this, and I’m not sure how it adds up.
I mean, Yeon Jin’s blatantly unrepentant about what she’d done to Dong Eun, but is mortally afraid that Ye Sol will find out? Something’s not adding up here, is it?
Unless.. that blatant unrepentance is her cover story, so that she can continue to act like the cool kid, among her friends?
Yeon Jin’s definitely on edge though, as we can see from the way she takes out her frustration on her colleagues and the inspector whom she’s asking to dig up information on Dong Eun.
Which, again, is pretty much acting like the world owes her, isn’t it?
Shin Ye Eun as Yeon Jin (teen)
I wanted to give Shin Ye Eun a shout-out, because out of the various roles I’ve seen her in, this is the one where I found her most interesting.
And that’s most likely because this role allows her to explore her darker side, as Dong Eun’s main tormentor.
Yes, I did say that our bullies do lean a little caricature-y, but Shin Ye Eun does lend layers and facets to teenaged Yeon Jin’s brand of entitled crazy, and I found her quite fascinating to watch.
Very nicely done, I thought.
Dong Eun and Yeon Jin
I found that the connection between Dong Eun and Yeon Jin was more central to our story, and perhaps even more compelling, than the bond between Dong Eun and Yeo Jung.
They aren’t friends; far from it.
They are more like the enemy version of soulmates, if that makes any sense.
The reason I say that, is because their relationship gets to the point where their lives revolve around each other, which I would classify as an obsession (or near-obsession).
It’s fascinating to see these two face off with each other, to see how they will provoke each other, and respond to each other, and who will win each round, and how.
Very compelling stuff, which I’m looking forward to more of, in Part 2, when it airs.
E2. I have to admit that the first time I heard Dong Eun talk about hatred being very close to longing, I didn’t really get what she meant.
However, seeing how she spends so much of her time cyber-stalking her targets, to learn about their lives, I can see that she is essentially consumed by thoughts of them.
From there, it’s just one easy step, to see how her hatred for Yeon Jin, has morphed into an obsession, and is therefore landing with her, as a type of longing.
I’d thought it was bizarre in concept, but I see how that works, now.
E4. This episode, I have to say that I got a good several stabs of satisfaction, seeing how Yeon Jin continues to be extremely unsettled by Dong Eun.
In particular, I love how fearless Dong Eun is, in facing Yeon Jin now, compared to before, when they’d been teenagers in school.
Gone is the timid, shivering Dong Eun, and in her place, is this calm, unwavering, stare-you-down Dong Eun, who’s scarily matter-of-fact, in the way that she talks about things with Yeon Jin, all while using banmal as a surface sign of affection.
The interesting thing about that, which is occurring to me right now as I’m writing about it, is that while Dong Eun’s using banmal to create an obviously fake sense of closeness with Yeon Jin, there’s also the thing where it’s people in more superior positions who can use banmal with those who are beneath them in the hierarchy.
So in a way, Dong Eun’s asserting her position of superiority now, by using banmal – albeit masked, to create that illusion of friendly closeness?
E4. I also find myself pretty darn impressed with how unabashed Dong Eun is, in letting Yeon Jin on the fact that she’s out for revenge.
I don’t know; I’d somehow had it in my head that in order for Dong Eun to get revenge, she’d keep things under wraps more.
But, now that she’s ready to play, she’s completely unflinching and matter-of-fact, when Yeon Jin confronts her and accuses her of purposely becoming Ye Sol’s homeroom teacher.
The way Dong Eun basically low-key sneers that nothing that she’s done to get up to this point has been an accident, is just so badass.
She doesn’t try to avoid any question, and seems so upfront about everything, including when she’d decided to take revenge, and how she will absolutely follow Ye Sol to wherever Yeon Jin might think to transfer her to, if Yeon Jin tries to hide Ye Sol somewhere else.
And, what a strategic reveal by Show, to let us in, right at this moment when Yeon Jin’s walking away from Dong Eun, that Homeroom Teacher’s death had absolutely had Dong Eun’s hand driving it.
She may not have killed him with her own hands, but she’d set up the situation, such that it became a probability that Sunbae would rather have his father dead, than have his father’s shameful violent secrets come to the fore and mess with his own future as a School Inspector.
Chills, really. Coz what worse fate could Homeroom Teacher have faced, than being willfully suffocated to death by his own son?
Dong Eun doesn’t admit to it outright when Yeon Jin asks if Dong Eun had been behind Homeroom Teacher’s death, but I do think that Yeon Jin gets the idea, that Dong Eun did have something to do with it, even if she didn’t actually kill him herself.
That’s probably why Yeon Jin starts going so crazy, after her conversation with Dong Eun.
She knows that she’s in trouble, but she has no idea what to do about it, because she can’t come out and admit that she’d tortured Dong Eun when they’d been in school, and now Dong Eun’s out for blood, right?
E5. I can’t deny that it gives me some satisfaction, to see Yeon Jin getting more and more worked up, over the fact that she can’t seem to do anything to get Ye Sol away from Dong Eun. Muahaha.
First, she tries to get rid of Dong Eun via the school principal (Min Eung Shik), then balks at the discovery, that the principal can’t do anything, because Dong Eun was recommended by the school’s chairman (Park Sang Jong).
AND, he doesn’t want to do anything either, because, unlike what Yeon Jin postulates, Dong Eun is actually qualified for the job, and does it well.
Then, she tries to get to the school chairman via Do Young (Jung Sung Il), but is stopped in her tracks because Do Young won’t approach the school chairman without a valid reason, and what’s Yeon Jin going to do, tell her perfect husband that his perfect wife is being threatened because she’d made someone’s life a living hell?
Yeah, that’s not going to happen.
And then, when she tries to broach the subject of maybe sending Ye Sol to study abroad, Do Young won’t hear of it, because – and he’s right – she’s just a little kid.
And so, all Yeon Jin can do, is stalk over the school and swallow her horror, as Dong Eun innocently-but-not-innocently holds that pair of scissors near Ye Sol’s shoulder – and then force a smile and a wave, coz that’s when Ye Sol catches sight of her.
Ha. Take that, Yeon Jin.
At this moment, it doesn’t appear that Dong Eun plans to actually do anything bad to Ye Sol (thank goodness – or so I hope). It looks like she’s using the mere possibility to toy with Yeon Jin psychologically, and that’s something that I am fully behind.
I do think, though, that I would feel conflicted, if it ever gets to the point that Dong Eun actually does anything to harm Ye Sol. I’m just crossing my fingers that that won’t happen. 🙈
And THEN, when Yeon Jin tries to pay Dong Eun to get Dong Eun out of her life, Dong Eun expresses that she isn’t interested in money.
Ha. Whacha gonna do now, Yeon Jin? 😏
Lee Do Hyun as Yeo Jung
If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’d likely know that I have a big soft spot for Lee Do Hyun, which was established – so well! – by his wonderful turn in 18 Again (review here!).
And so, I was glad to know that he was in this show, even though I’d heard – and it’s accurate to say – he doesn’t have a whole lot of screen time in this.
I do think that, as a character, Yeo Jung works out to be more mysterious and interesting than he first appears, and I do think that Lee Do Hyun does those layers justice.
I’ll talk more about Yeo Jung in this next section, because he’s most interesting, in the context of his connection with Dong Eun.
Dong Eun and Yeo Jung
When Show had first announced that Song Hye Kyo would headline this revenge drama, and that Lee Do Hyun would star opposite her, I was halfway convinced that Show would make their connection a romantic one, kinda like the way we got a noona romance forced on us, in Why Her? (Dropped post here). 😅
Not that I don’t like a noona romance; on the contrary, I have a big soft spot for a well done noona romance.
It’s just.. I’d probably felt wary because I hadn’t taken to the noona romance in Why Her, and I also hadn’t taken to the noona romance that Song Hye Kyo herself had starred in either, with Boyfriend / Encounter (Dropped post here). And so, I was just concerned that it wouldn’t work.
Well. I needn’t have worried, because Show – so far anyway – isn’t taking their relationship into romantic territory, even though it’s clear to see that Yeo Jung does have feelings for Dong Eun.
Instead, their connection lands more like that of comrades, to my eyes. Perhaps platonic soulmates, even. And that works, for this story, for now.
I’d be curious to see how Show develops this connection, going forward into Part 2.
For now, though, here’s a collection of my thoughts on this relationship.
E1. It doesn’t seem like Yeo Jung knows anything about her revenge plans, but the fact that they spent regular time together, over several seasons, must have been some form of comfort to Dong Eun, I imagine.
It doesn’t look like they talk much, but the kind of open, non-judgmental gaze that Yeo Jung wears with Dong Eun must be quite welcome and refreshing, I imagine.
We don’t know for sure, at this point, but it does look like Yeo Jung might have a crush on Dong Eun, judging from the way he seems so disappointed, when she puts an end to their baduk sessions.
E3. This episode, we get a bit of an indication, of what Yeo Jung’s meetings with Dong Eun had meant to him, through that flashback that we get, where we see him telling her that he knows that she’s trying to run away.
Given the hints that we’ve been given, that Yeo Jung was getting beaten up, most likely by his father, during this season of his life, I can understand why he would feel like running away too, and why he would therefore find a kindred spirit in Dong Eun.
I can buy that that sense of solidarity, particularly in a very difficult period in his life, would cause him to have a special regard for Dong Eun.
With that at play, it makes sense to me that he would have a strong desire to reconnect with Dong Eun, because this isn’t just any other attraction that a young man might feel for a young woman.
He’s sensing a kindred spirit here, and that’s hard to beat.
I’m glad that he and Dong Eun run into each other on the train, this episode, and have the chance to reconnect.
Their conversation vibes scattered and perfunctory, which is basically the vibe I’d gotten from their conversations at the park before, but what’s interesting to me, is that Yeo Jung expresses an interest to reconnect properly – but does not press Dong Eun.
He seems to understand instinctively, that Dong Eun needs to be ready, before she can reconnect with him, and I like that he’s prepared to wait until she’s ready, even though he clearly would welcome a reconnection with her right away.
E5. How interesting, that Dong Eun’s actively reaching out to Yeo Jung.
Has Yeo Jung’s patience paid off, or does Dong Eun have darker reasons for reaching out to him?
I mean, she does tell him that the photo of the medicine she’d sent had been an excuse to see him, which implies that she’d wanted to see him. But, we aren’t actually told the reason she wants to see him, so.. I’m curious about that.
And then, the way she talks to him, implies that she’s saying goodbye to him, and yet, the way she laughs, with such surprised abandon, when Yeo Jung asks her to date him, implies that she does like him.
But then, the way she then tells him that she’s looking for an executioner and not a prince, implies that maybe the reason she’d sought him out, was to see if he would be interested in becoming that executioner.
It’s.. rather complex, and from certain angles, rather messed up, honestly.
E6. I do believe that Yeo Jung’s decision to quit the hospital, to open his own practice in Semyeong is because that’s where Dong Eun is, but at the same time, at this point, I don’t think that Yeo Jung’s decided yet, that he will be Dong Eun’s executioner.
I think he’s just determined to be near Dong Eun, and keep her in his life, even if it means moving to Semyeong.
I must say, that kind of dedication is pretty swoony, coming from an earnest, heart-in-his-sleeve character played by Lee Do Hyun.
And it feels ok, because we’ve seen that Dong Eun’s got a measure of liking for him too.
Honestly, though, if Dong Eun didn’t like him, this would likely come off as rather stalkerish. 😅
E6. Last episode, we’d seen how a camera flash can be a trigger for Dong Eun, but this episode, it gets even darker, when we see how the sound of meat grilling on a hot plate, is triggering for her too – because her own flesh had burned and sizzled under the heat of those hair irons.
Eep. That’s awful, and I feel awful for Dong Eun, as she loses her composure so completely, at the car workshop, because the workmen are enjoying a BBQ dinner on-site. 💔
I suppose it’s serendipity, that Yeo Jung reaches out to Dong Eun at around this time, asking to tally up their baduk scores, because that brings her to see him, at his new apartment in Semyeong.
And that’s how she finally ends up telling him her story.
Yeo Jung’s initial reaction, where he tries to persuade Dong Eun to give up her revenge, because it will ruin her life, changes completely when Dong Eun moves to show him her scars.
That really brings out the idea that it’s easy to say noble things when you’re sheltered from the situation.
Because, when Yeo Jung finally sees the extent of the damage that these bullies have done to Dong Eun, his answer changes completely, and suddenly, he’s asserting that he will be her executioner.
I’m all for Dong Eun having more people on her side, and not being alone, but I also can’t help wondering if Yeo Jung being her executioner, would put him in danger?
I find myself rooting for Dong Eun to succeed in her rogue justice mission, but I also find myself worrying for Yeo Jung’s safety.
Like, this won’t stain Dong Eun’s hands, but will they stain his?
Yeom Hye Ran as Hyun Nam
I love Yeom Hye Ran, so it was a pleasant surprise to me, to see her on the cast list of this show.
Without getting into spoilers, I just want to say that I found Hyun Nam a very endearing character, who is able to retain her warmth in spite of her circumstances.
I found that very special indeed, and I found myself perking up whenever Hyun Nam showed up on my screen.
Here are just a couple of brief thoughts on Hyun Nam, before I delve into her relationship with Dong Eun.
E5. I’m rooting for Hyun Nam, not only to be set free from her abusive husband, but to grow into herself and discover strengths she never knew she had.
I find Hyun Nam’s earnestness and dedication in carrying out the spy work that Dong Eun’s given her, very endearing. She’s just so serious and committed to it, and you can see that it comes from her heart.
She’s not just carrying out the task because she’s being paid for it; she’s gotten personally invested as well, and that makes her so lovable, in my eyes.
Dong Eun and Hyun Nam
There’s a (reluctant) growing bond between Dong Eun and Hyun Nam, which I find oddly delightful.
That must be the best surprise Show’s given me so far, because even though I knew that Yeom Hye Ran is in this show, I didn’t know that she and Song Hye Kyo were going to be in a reluctant sisterhood sort of situation.
As early as episode 3, this reluctant bond was already giving me some feels.
And, every time Show shifted the spotlight to these two women working together, I found myself sitting up with anticipation, because I just really liked seeing them together.
E3. I appreciate the fact that the reason Dong Eun agrees to kill Hyun Nam’s husband, is essentially to help Hyun Nam.
Dong Eun doesn’t agree to it, just because there is an exchange that she and Hyun Nam can make that is beneficial to her.
No, she observes Hyun Nam’s home life, and sees how abusive Hyun Nam’s husband is, and how traumatized Hyun Nam’s daughter is, and decides to go ahead with the partnership, in order to help mother and daughter.
She gets Hyun Nam to tail and spy on the various people she’s got her thumb on, in exchange for a wage, and then offers to tutor Hyun Nam’s daughter, for the same hourly wage.
She’s basically working to empower both Hyun Nam and her daughter, albeit in a twisted sort of manner, because they’re engaging in shady things that are basically not legal – and are planning a murder (or several) to boot.
Somehow, though, that desire to help and empower comes through, more than the dysfunction of the situation, and I just find it very heartening to see Hyun Nam benefit from this connection.
She’s learning new skills, and making improvements over time, and feeling all chuffed about it, AND, she’s smiling more, and that’s all just really great stuff.
Also, I find it cute and endearing, that Hyun Nam basically can’t help herself, in expressing gratitude and affection for Dong Eun, like with that hug she gives Dong Eun, when Dong Eun hands her those car keys.
I actually get a bit of a kick out of watching Hyun Nam doing her spy thing, because she’s so innocuous, that no one would suspect that she’s tailing people and digging around for dirt.
E5. One of the key things that makes Hyun Nam lovable in my eyes, is the way she gravitates towards Dong Eun.
Although Dong Eun’s indicated before, that they shouldn’t be too close, Hyun Nam can’t seem to help herself, at least when it comes to Dong Eun, and I love that about her. 😍
I also love that she’s the kind of soul who stops to admire a beautiful sunset, in the midst of her spy work.
Can you tell that I luff Hyun Nam?
And because she keeps gravitating towards Dong Eun, I want Dong Eun to reciprocate, and allow this sisterhood to bud and thrive.
As it is, we do see glimpses of Dong Eun responding to Hyun Nam, like the way she stifles a smile, when she finds Hyun Nam amusing or endearing.
It’s clear that Dong Eun can’t fully resist Hyun Nam’s endearing charm, but it’s also clear that Dong Eun’s tamping it down, and while I can understand Dong Eun’s thinking around this, I can’t help feeling rather wistful about it.
I find that moment quite poignant, when, in the post-it notes that Hyun Nam and Dong Eun exchange, Hyun Nam apologizes for the expenses required for revenge, and Dong Eun replies that this is why she’d saved up all the money she’d earned tutoring in her twenties.
It somehow adds a layer of poignance to be reminded that Dong Eun’s had to work really hard, not only to pass her exams and get into teaching college, but also, to save money on the side, to even be in a position to put her plan for rogue justice into motion.
And, at the same time, I also find it very poignant, to see that even as Hyun Nam does all her spy work, she’s still got bruises on her face.
It’s a startling reminder, that even as Hyun Nam’s going about and tailing people and finding pockets of things to smile about, like that sunset, she’s still being abused on the regular, at home. 💔
With that as context, I felt like my heart would burst, in that moment when Dong Eun asks to meet, in one of her post-it notes, and Hyun Nam grins with joy from ear to ear, and hugs that post-it note to her chest.
Aw. How endearing is that, right? 😍
Even though Dong Eun tries not to show that she cares about Hyun Nam, just the fact that she tells Hyun Nam not to put herself in danger while doing her spy work, does say a lot, I feel.
E6. I’m somewhat bummed, though not surprised, that Dong Eun continues to draw lines with Hyun Nam, and remind her that they shouldn’t get too close.
Poor Hyun Nam looks like she’s been punched in the face, when she hears that from Dong Eun. 💔 But, I do think that it’s an important reminder and wake-up call.
But, I’m glad that Hyun Nam can’t seem to mind her own business when it comes to Dong Eun, because she’s the one who tips off Dong Eun that she’s being tailed, and that allows Dong Eun to turn the tables by forcing a rear-end collision – which brings her face-to-face with the guys following her.
Although this causes damage to her car, it does also mean that the guys have now been exposed, and have to stop following her now. I thought that was ballsy and smart.
It’s clear, though, that this does shake up Dong Eun somewhat, to the extent that she would become suspicious of Hyun Nam as well.
I’m feel sorry that Dong Eun doesn’t take the kimchi that Hyun Nam’s made for her, but I’m glad that Dong Eun apologizes to Hyun Nam, and tells Hyun Nam that she’s a good person.
Jung Sung Il as Do Young
Jung Sung Il was the surprise breakout star of this show, and now that I’ve watched the show for myself, I can see why.
He gives Do Young a quiet, understated charisma, and plays him with many facets and layers hinted at, but not actually revealed (yet?).
That unassuming yet confident air, combined with his steady, sometimes piercing gaze, added to his well-groomed, well-coiffed good looks, makes for quite a captivating package.
And, we haven’t even gotten to the part where we take his growing connection with Dong Eun into account.
Looking at it that way, it’s not a huge surprise, that audiences gravitated to him, so well and so much.
I’m personally looking forward to seeing more of him in Part 2 too. 😉
Here’s an overview of my thoughts around Do Young, which also include my thoughts around his connection with Dong Eun, as well as my thoughts on his relationship with Yeon Jin. Yes, it’s a bit of a three-fer. 😅
E2. Immediately, I do feel rather intrigued to know more about Do Young.
He appears to be the perfect husband, who showers Yeon Jin with gifts and affection, but I can’t help but wonder if he’s got a player side too, because of his remark about the girls not being cute, when Yeon Jin asks if he’s going to meet Gyeong Tae as requested.
E3. We see Dong Eun finally using her skills at baduk, to get Do Young’s attention – and she does it in a very indirect manner, too, by playing and winning against other people at the baduk club where he is, thus impressing him from a distance.
Maybe there was no guarantee that Do Young would have paid her any heed, but she certainly succeeds in capturing his interest, from the way we see him continue to muse over the strategic approach, even much later, in the privacy of his own study.
At the same time, I’m getting the idea that there’s a distinct sense of emotional distance between Do Young and Yeon Jin, even though their marriage is picture perfect.
He’s matter-of-fact and cordial with her, without fail, but he’s also consistently unruffled, almost like nothing she does actually affects him in any significant way.
It’s almost like he selected her as a wife because it was the best business decision? Not that Show is saying that; that’s just the vibe that I get.
E4. Do Young seems to be fascinated by Dong Eun, given the way he can’t stop thinking about her baduk strategies and skills, and even goes to the baduk club to look for her.
For someone who seems to be pretty detached from everything and everyone around him except Ye Sol, this is Pretty Significant, methinks.
And, he already seems markedly fascinated by Dong Eun, from the way he asks her to play a game of baduk with him, and then, when he loses, asks her to play another round, with increased stakes.
I’m very curious to know what Dong Eun’s plan is, with Do Young.
E5. I am very much intrigued by the fact that Do Young seems to be increasingly drawn to Dong Eun.
I’m wondering how much of this is serendipity, and how much of this is engineered.
Like, did he just happen to see her in the window of the convenience store, and stop to go in and talk to her, or had Dong Eun calculated that based on their previous interactions, if she made herself visible at the convenience store which is on his way home, that he would stop and talk to her?
In watching their conversation, I feel quite fascinated by how Dong Eun is a mix of open and evasive.
Like, when Do Young asks her if she gambles on anything other than baduk, she answers that she’d once bet her entire life on something, and when he asks if she’d won, she answers that she intends to.
That’s.. vague, yes, but it’s also very honest, isn’t it?
And when he asks why she likes to play baduk, she’s honest too, “Because I like that you have to fight to the death in silence. I also like that, for you to win, you need to destroy the territories that your opponent carefully built.”
But she’s also skillfully evasive, when she doesn’t want to answer, and is quick to answer his question with a question, either throwing his own question back at him, or changing the subject altogether.
This makes me feel like Dong Eun can be very slippery when she wants to be, and I find that pretty fascinating.
So.. I guess I understand why Do Young would find Dong Eun fascinating, and want to spend time in her presence.
For now, it’s not super clear whether his interest in Dong Eun is purely as a baduk opponent, or something more, but my drama gut is leaning towards “something more,” mainly because I would love to see Yeon Jin’s reaction to finding out that her perfect husband has more interest in Dong Eun than in her. 😏
Park Sung Hoon as Jae Joon
I just wanted to give Park Sung Hoon a shout-out, because he really does stand out, as the rich young master with anger management issues.
In some of Jae Joon’s angry scenes, I legit felt rather afraid of him. 😅
..Which is not how I prefer Park Sung Hoon on my screen, but, oh well, it’s still good to see him flex his acting chops like this.
If you’d like to see a kinder, dorkier, cuter side of Park Sung Hoon, might I recommend 2020 drama Into The Ring / Memorials (review here!), and 2018 drama special Review Notebook Of My Embarrassing Days (review here!). 😁
SPOTLIGHT ON THE PENULTIMATE EPISODE [SPOILERS]
This episode, we get to see, via flashback, what had happened after Dong Eun’s dramatic reveal to Yeo Jung, of her scars, and I have to say, I do like Yeo Jung’s sensitivity towards Dong Eun.
The way he asks her ahead of time, if it’s alright for him to touch her, is so considerate, given that the reason he wants to touch her, isn’t to touch her scars or anything, but to cover her with a blanket, and he just doesn’t want to startle her.
In fact, that more I learn about Yeo Jung – who’s been kind of kept in a secondary narrative space for a while, until now – the more fascinating I find him.
On the one hand, he’s very gentle towards and protective of Dong Eun, and like I just mentioned, his consideration comes across as very instinctive, like that’s just how he is.
At the same time, we see that Yeo Jung has his own revenge to pursue, because his father had been stabbed to death by a.. mentally unstable patient(?), and he’s being quite dark and methodical about it, like in the way he has that drawer of blades, and actually practices with them. 😬
This is.. the complete opposite of what he’d first urged Dong Eun to do, when he’d first heard about her revenge, which was to tell her to move on, so as not to ruin her life.
How ironic, isn’t it, that he’s fully aware of that, AND, is choosing to pursue his own revenge, which will, by his estimation, ruin his life?
My first thought about this, was, if he knows how hard it is to give up on one’s revenge, why would he even ask Dong Eun to do it?
But then my second thought, was, Ah, it’s probably because he doesn’t want her to ruin her life the way he will ruin his, and thinks that, if at all possible, it would be good for her to give up her revenge.
So, it’s not that he actually expects her to give it up; it’s probably more that he wants to urge her to give it up anyway – in case there’s a sliver of a chance that he might save her, by doing so.
This framing helps me process it all better, and it also makes me feel like I can understand Yeo Jung better, even as Show peels away his layers.
And now, I’m rethinking my original thought, which was that Yeo Jung would end up staining his hands with blood, by agreeing to be Dong Eun’s executioner.
That’s definitely looking quite different now, because from this new information that we’re being given, it seems like Yeo Jung would likely end up staining his hands anyway, in his desire to exact revenge on the person who’d killed his father.
On a related tangent, Murderer Dude happens to be played by Lee Moo Saeng, and I just wanted to say, that I’m suitably creeped out by the crazy in Murderer Dude’s eyes. I mean, it’s very well done; just, kinda unsettling too, at the same time. 😅
Back to Yeo Jung and Dong Eun, I do find myself quite intrigued by the connection that’s forming between them.
It feels like there is a great deal of solidarity between them, and an almost soulmate-esque sort of quality to their connection, except that they don’t actually tell each other a lot of things, and they don’t see each other often, and they don’t talk all that much.
Despite all that, they feel.. connected, and somehow bound together, even before Yeo Jung had agreed to be Dong Eun’s executioner.
There is mutual appreciation and regard and fondness, but I’m uncertain as to how much romantic interest there is in there, at least on Dong Eun’s side of things.
From the beginning of their connection, I’d gotten the impression that Yeo Jung does have something of a crush on Dong Eun. And, in a recent episode, he does ask Dong Eun to date him, so that definitely indicates romantic interest on his part.
On Dong Eun’s side of things, there are some leaked smiles, yes, which would suggest that she does like him too, plus, she does appear to trust him, because she’s opening up to him, but I don’t actually know if that liking actually vibes romantic?
Maybe it does, and we just don’t have confirmation yet, but for now, I’m willing to entertain the idea that she might see him as a platonic soulmate rather than a romantic one.
I do find Yeo Jung’s request, that he and Dong Eun play an extended game of baduk on the board in his apartment, with her making a move each time she visits his apartment, quite romantic – y’know, in a dark, twisty sort of way.
The fact that he trusts her implicitly, and gives her free access to his apartment, whenever she’d like to drop by, is already rather touching, to me.
But on top of that, he doesn’t ask anything of her – no need to answer his calls or text messages; nothing – as long as she shows up in his apartment from time to time, and he knows that she’s ok.
Well. That’s pretty swoony, honestly, because his care and concern is so.. sacrificial, in nature. He’s not asking anything of her; he just wants to be part of her life, and have the assurance that she’s ok.
And now my brain is slightly discombobulated by the realization that this thing, which I’m registering as swoony and romantic, is actually the stage for Yeo Jung to be Dong Eun’s executioner.
This means that the reason Dong Eun would show up at Yeo Jung’s apartment, would be for the purposes of, well, executioner stuff, right?
It’s messed up when I think of it that way, and yet.. it still has that swoony romantic quality to it. Show does have a way of messing with my mind that way, and I do find it very interesting, because of that.
Elsewhere, Yeon Jin’s starting to freak out in slow degrees, because Do Young seems to be closing in on her secrets, and that combination of Do Young’s tamped down, almost deadpan analytical looks, and Yeon Jin’s I-about-to-lose-my-mind sort of reaction faces, is pretty darn great. 😁
The more out-of-control she feels, the crazier Yeon Jin’s reaction faces, and, not gonna lie, each of these gives me a separate stab of satisfaction. 😅
On a related note, it seems that along with Yeon Jin getting crazier, Jae Joon is also getting crazier.
I mean, with each passing episode, it seems like Jae Joon’s anger problems are even worse than I’d first thought, and he’s more mentally bent out of shape than he’s first appeared, too.
Certainly, part of the reason for that, is that he’s just now finding out that Ye Sol is his daughter, and is mad-angry that Yeon Jin’s raising her as Do Young’s daughter, but aside from that, it also feels like Jae Joon’s revealing a depth for unhinged fury that I didn’t quite know he had.
I mean, just look at the way he grabs Yeon Jin by the neck, when he confronts her about Ye Sol being his daughter; it honestly feels like he’s just a few short steps away from actually killing her.
Yeon Jin must be made of pretty stern stuff, to still be able to still kiss (and I assume, sleep with) Jae Joon, right after he’s tried to strangle her – her instinct for self-preservation is strong, and also, twisted. 😅
In the meantime, my mind is slowly imploding at the realization that Dong Eun must be incredibly detailed and patient, in playing her long game of revenge.
I mean, she’s even friends with Hye Jeong’s future mother-in-law? Just, how did she even manage that, right? Did she perhaps pick out Hye Jeong’s husband-to-be, knowing that Hye Jeong would agree to marry him, as long as he had money and was willing to spend it on her?
I’m actually pretty darn curious to know how that all works, but for now, I’m intrigued by the fact that Dong Eun’s now got Hye Jeong under her thumb, because Hye Jeong’s terrified that her future mother-in-law and husband might find out about her promiscuous past.
Last but not least, we have Do Young finally realizing that Dong Eun is Ye Sol’s homeroom teacher when he shows up for the school event for fathers, AND, we have Jae Joon showing up too.
Yikes. The plot is thickening, as Do Young gets ever closer to finding out all of Yeon Jin’s secrets – perhaps starting with the fact that he’s not Ye Sol’s bio dad? Whatever will he do, if (when?) he finds out?
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
This is a bit of an odd “thoughts on the ending” to write, in the sense that we aren’t actually at the actual end of our story. But, it does feel like we’re at the end of the first Act of our story, so I’ll treat it as such.
Once again, I love how calm, controlled and completely logical Dong Eun tends to be, when facing any one of her enemies, against whom she’s plotting revenge.
At the top of this episode, I love the way she methodically tears down Hye Jeong’s protests and arguments, when Hye Jeong tries to brush off the past, by saying that it was all just a mistake, and unintentional, that she’d ever bullied Dong Eun.
The way Dong Eun calmly takes that smoldering stick and thrusts it in Hye Jeong’s face, and then says, “This is what you call “intentional,” Ms. Flight Attendant. It’s when you hurt someone, knowing that it will hurt. It’s what you did to me every single day.”
Short, sharp, to the point, and absolutely accurate. I love how in control Dong Eun comes across, in these types of situations.
Also, thinking about it, I’m guessing that the reason Dong Eun tells Hye Jeong to report Myeong Oh missing, is likely because she believes that Yeon Jin is the one behind his disappearance, since Myeong Oh had specifically been going after Yeon Jin, for So Hee’s death.
I can believe that Yeon Jin would give the order to either off Myeong Oh, or silence him in some other way, in order to protect herself.
Dong Eun does the tenacious calm thing again, when she comes face to face with Jae Joon, after his stunt of showing up at the father’s event.
Again, she’s completely unruffled and in control, even after Jae Joon does that invasive and very upsetting thing, of pulling up her sleeves to check on her scars.
I have to admire her for keeping her cool through the whole thing – and only collapsing later, when she’s alone in a cubicle in the washroom.
This detail really made my heart go out to Dong Eun all over again, because it’s such a stark reminder that she’s not as unperturbed as she appears.
No, it’s hurting her on the inside, but she continues to wear her armor with determination and tenacity, and I can’t help but admire her for that, y’know?
As for Jae Joon, he doesn’t quite spell it out so plainly to Do Young, that Ye Sol is his daughter, but he does hint at it heavily enough, that I’m inclined to think that a smart man like Do Young would catch his drift, and investigate further.
And, Do Young absolutely does dig deeper, starting with asking Hye Jeong about Yeon Jin’s past with Dong Eun – with a luxury bag to sweeten the deal for her.
What perfect timing, isn’t it, since Hye Jeong’s recently pledged to be on Dong Eun’s side, in exchange for Dong Eun’s silence, with regards to Hye Jeong’s colorful past – and that’s how Do Young first hears the ugly truth about Yeon Jin violently bullying Dong Eun, back in high school.
Like Dong Eun, I’d expected Do Young to contact Dong Eun much sooner, to ask her about all this – most likely because I’d expected him to be reacting out of the shock of it all.
Instead, Do Young bides his time, and I do think that in this case, Yeo Jung’s got his number. Yeo Jung’s prediction, that Do Young just needs time to think things over, before he’ll cancel all his appointments and seek her out, turn out to be true – to an uncannily accurate degree.
Yeo Jung’s turning out to be a much better reader of character than I’d first given him credit for. 😅
And, although I’ve seen Dong Eun be upfront about her revenge a few times now – with Yeon Jin, Myeong Oh and Jae Joon – I still felt a little surprised, that she would be upfront about it, with Do Young, when he does meet her.
But, it is perfectly in line with her character and how she’s been approaching her revenge, so props to her for being so matter-of-fact and unwavering about it, even though it’s not easy.
As we close off Act I of our story, there are a few things that are falling into place, to springboard us into Act II.
First, we have Dong Eun telling Hyun Nam that the reality is that if Hyun Nam wishes to push through with her revenge and killing her abusive husband, then she will lose her daughter.
Now the question is, whether Hyun Nam is willing to pay that price, in order to get rid of her husband?
(I’m leaning towards yes, if only for the fact that I can’t see Part 2 of our story carrying on without Hyun Nam.)
Second, we see that Yeo Jung opens up the cabinet at the morgue that’s got So Hee’s name on it, only to come up empty.
(What? How and when did this happen? Is this an old thing, or was this Myeong Oh’s doing? Or perhaps Yeon Jin’s doing, after Myeong Oh tried to blackmail her..? 🤔)
Third, and perhaps most exciting of all, is the fact that Yeon Jin breaks into Dong Eun’s apartment, walking in with her shoes on, reminiscent of the dream sequence that we’d seen, in Show’s opening minutes) – and just as she’s surveying Dong Eun’s multiple walls of revenge-related pictures, who should open the door and walk in, but Do Young?!??
Dun dun DUNNN.
I am veryyyy curious to see how Yeon Jin tries to talk herself out of this, and how Do Young will respond.
Which is to say, I am very ready for Part 2 of this story. Bring it on, Show – I’m ready. 👀
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Leans dark, but is excellently absorbing and compelling.
FINAL GRADE: B++
The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of The Glory Part 1, is short little mini series Fan Letter, Please, which would take us nicely to when The Glory Part 2 is due to drop on Netflix – which I’ll then cover on Patreon, as I did with Part 1.
I’ve taken an initial look at Fan Letter, Please, and I’m happy to say that I like it nicely, so far. My E1 & 2 notes on Fan Letter, Please can be found here.
Here’s an overview of what I’m covering on Patreon right now (Tier benefits are cumulative)!
Foundation Tier (US$1): Entertainment tidbits + the first set notes of all shows covered on Patreon (that’s 2 episodes for kdramas and 4 episodes for cdramas)
Early Access (US$5): Fan Letter, Please [Korea]
Early Access Plus (US$10): +The Heavenly Idol [Korea]
VIP (US$15): +Meet Yourself [China]
VVIP (US$20): +Our Blooming Youth [Korea]
Ultimate (US$25): +Crash Course in Romance [Korea]