THE SHORT VERDICT:
Overall, I’d say that Show is a solid continuation of Part 1 (review here!), so fans of Part 1 should be pretty happy with Part 2, at a minimum.
Show ramps up the drama in Part 2, in service of the revenge at the center of our story, so it feels more fast-paced, intense and, well, dramatic, compared to Part 1. I personally still found it all very absorbing and engaging, despite Show’s slight shift in tone.
Your mileage with the ending is likely to vary depending on what you look for in your dramas – specifically in a good revenge tale – but overall, I’d still say that Show does a pretty solid job.
THE LONG VERDICT:
After being pleasantly surprised by Part 1 (review here!), I was ready and eager to get into Part 2, and see how Show would continue and wrap up this story, for which it made such a strong start.
And.. Imma hafta say, while I did find Part 2 solid overall, I actually preferred Part 1?
I’m definitely in the minority here, I think, since, anecdotally, folks seem to find Part 2 a more enjoyable watch than Part 1. 😅
I think it all boils down to what you personally look for and enjoy, in a drama.
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the full OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.
As with Part 1, I found the music suitable and well-applied, though never actually earwormy for me personally.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a few things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, in order to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. This is a direct continuation of Part 1
..so you do absolutely need to watch Part 1 first, before watching Part 2.
2. Show is set on a romantic connection between Dong Eun and Yeo Jung
..which may be a tiny bit spoilery, yes, but I think in this case, it’s better to be aware of it, so that you can either look forward to it, or brace yourself for it – depending on how you feel about it, to begin with. 😅
This still isn’t a romance-centric story, though, so if you’re more into your romance, this might not be for you.
3. Trigger warning: violence
Although Part 2 doesn’t focus on the flashbacks to the bullying in school like in Part 1, there’s still a good amount of violence in here, particularly domestic violence.
STUFF I LIKED
This is just a heads-up, that because this review is about Part 2 of a story, there are spoilers in this review, which assume your awareness of the happenings in Part 1.
Also, this is a macro overview of the things that I liked and didn’t as much as a whole, in this show.
For a blow-by-blow account of my reactions each episode, you may wish to check out my episodes notes for this show on Patreon here.
Show is a solid continuation of Part 1
I think, regardless of what your personal preferences are, with regards to exactly how you’d want Part 2 to be handled in relation to Part 1, and where Part 2 could’ve been better, you’d likely still concede that Part 2 is a solid continuation of the story that Part 1 set up.
At least, that’s how I feel, as someone who preferred Part 1, but still see the appeal of Part 2.
Some scenes are really great
A good number of scenes stood out to me as being pretty darn great, from the way they were conceptualized, and contextualized, as well as to the way they were delivered.
I really enjoyed these, and count them as a highlight of my watch.
I’ll be sharing the spotlight on some of my favorite scenes from Part 2, but for now, here’s a spotlight on an early scene I really enjoyed, from episode 9.
E9. Yeon Jin (Im Ji Yeon) coming face to face with Do Young (Jung Sung Il) in Dong Eun’s (Song Hye Kyo) apartment, is, in my opinion, a scene that’s perfectly played, and pitch perfect for this show and its characters.
I’m really growing very impressed with Im Ji Yeon’s acting chops, the more I see how she plays Yeon Jin, especially as the walls start closing in on her.
The stiff upper lip and the determined sneer; the nerves and fear leaking out through her eyes, and the small ticks in her facial expressions; the realization dawning in her gaze, that she knows she’s scr*wed; she basically a deer in headlights, dead set on staring down her Truck of Doom, instead of trying to run away from it.
Big props to Jung Sung Il as well; the way he plays Do Young’s reaction is so tamped down and even, and yet, I feel like I can see the gears turning in his head, as he processes all the indications around him, that his wife is a completely different person than he’d once thought.
That look of disbelief on Do Young’s face, as Yeon Jin goes from remarking that Dong Eun didn’t have to do anything to deserve the alleged bullying, to claiming that they simply didn’t get along, makes me think that he’s almost having an out-of-body experience; Yeon Jin’s words are just so outlandish.
Very well done, on both sides, which makes this scene so electrifying and breathless. 🤩
The baddies turning on one another
One of the things we get to see in Part 2, which we didn’t get to see in Part 1, is how the people within the Bully group back away from one another, and eventually turn on one another, when they smell trouble on the horizon.
Because they’d appeared as an intact (horrible) group, since high school, that’s pretty consistently had one another’s backs, it feels pretty great to see them start to suspect, forsake and even attack one another.
E9. When it comes to the drug investigation, Yeon Jin and Jae Joon (Park Sung Hoon) are quick to say that that’s Sa Ra’s (Kim Hieora) problem, not theirs. And when it comes to So Hee’s (Lee So E) death, Sa Ra’s quick to say that Yeon Jin had had something to do with it.
The so-called friends are now starting to show signs of turning on – or at least abandoning – one another, and that feels well-deserved and quite delicious, actually.
I have to give it to Show; it does serve up some excellent cliffhangers.
Considering that the episodes drop in a chunk, the cliffhangers aren’t strictly that necessary, because you don’t exactly need to work so hard, to make sure your audience comes back in a week; the next episode is just a simple click away.
And yet, Show’s got that cracky quality that comes from having good cliffhangers.
For example, at the end of episode 9, when Yeon Jin knocks on Hyun Nam’s (Yeon Hye Ran) car window with that smirk, and Hyun Nam looks like her eyes are about to pop out of her head, I definitely felt the crack bite; I needed to know what happened next, and soon.
Well-played, Show. 👏🏻
STUFF THAT WAS OK
Getting back into Part 2, after a break from Part 1
Part 2 dropped only 2 weeks after I finished watching Part 1 of this show, and even then, coming into Part 2, I had to scratch my head a bit, in terms of where we were, in our story, and what I was supposed to know. 😅
I blame that on the fact that I’m always juggling at least 5 or more shows at the same time and therefore have so many plot and character details entering my brain on the daily, that a 2 week break means the plot and character details in The Glory Part 1 have been pushed some way back into a hard-to-reach recess in my brain.
It’s still there – it’s just more effortful to get it out to the forefront again, is all. 😅
All that to say, I’m with all the other viewers who are saying that Netflix shouldn’t have split the show into 2 parts, and should’ve just released both parts as a whole. That would have definitely made for a more seamless watch experience.
Part 2’s more intense, dramatic vibe
I personally preferred Part 1’s quieter approach, where a lot of the tension comes from a psychological sort of space, and characters are left guessing as to what the other person might or might not do.
I found it quite fascinating to observe how individual characters responded to the various perceived threats that crossed their paths, whether these were overt statements, or covert hints.
Part 2, in comparison, is a lot more overtly in-yo-face, with characters actually taking action against other characters.
I understood that this is a necessary direction in which to develop our story (coz we can’t just have characters being all talk and no action, all series long, right?), and so I was pretty happy to roll with it, even though I personally preferred the quieter vibe of Part 1.
Show provides answers to questions
To Show’s credit, it does provide answers to the various questions raised in Part 1, like why Yeo Jung’s father (Choi Kwang Il) made the decision to put So Hee’s body in the freezer, even though her body should have been kept in the morgue.
The reason this is in this “works out to ok” section, is because, as with many things, the questions proved to be more intriguing than the answers themselves.
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
The loveline between Dong Eun and Yeo Jung
I said in my review of Part 1, that there isn’t an overt romantic connection between Dong Eun and Yeo Jung, but, well, Show proved me wrong in Part 2, heh.
Show does eventually introduce an overtly romantic relationship between them, in Show’s late stretch, and I didn’t enjoy that so much.
I do like the idea that Yeo Jung probably is meant to represent the kind of love and loyalty that Dong Eun’s never had before, so I did try to appreciate it from that angle.
That said, I basically winced whenever this loveline came to the forefront, in much the same way I winced when Yeo Jung backhugs Dong Eun in episode 9, on the pretext of checking her temperature.
It’s just.. to my eyes, this whole loveline feels forced, much like how that backhug had felt forced. 🙈
SPOTLIGHT ON SOME OF MY FAVORITE SCENES [SPOILERS]
In my review of Part 1, I included a spotlight on various characters and relationships, as I do in many of my reviews.
In Part 2, I find that with Show’s more fast-paced approach to its story, and with most of the relationships not changing all that significantly from Part 1, my interest lies more in the actual scenes themselves – and we do have some pretty great ones.
So I thought, why not have a sampling of some of my favorite scenes, from Part 2, instead?
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the scenes that stood out to me most.
E10. Hyun Nam’s daughter Sun Ah responding with such a thrilled grin, when she processes that Hyun Nam is more capable, and cooler, than she’d imagined – even though they are literally on the run. 😅
E10. Do Young seeking out Dong Eun to hear her side of the story, and Dong Eun doing that dramatic reveal of her scars, by wearing a sleeveless dress under her coat.
The moment that hotel manager takes her coat for her, you can see Do Young’s eyes practically pop out of his head, as he processes what this must mean.
E11. Do Young pointedly ignoring Yeon Jin when she texts him that she’ll be cooking, and then proceeding to eat a salad meal, instead of waiting for the meal that she’s said that she will cook.
And then there’s the way Do Young talks about his fascination with Dong Eun, when Yeon Jin demands to know why Dong Eun has his attention.
He comes across as evenly matter-of-fact, but there is definitely a cold, biting edge to his words – especially when he tells Yeon Jin that that’s why he doesn’t ask about her and Jae Joon.
Ooh. He’s punishing her, isn’t he, by making her terrified and lonely, even as he stays with her?
That’s.. actually arguably more painful and horrible than him leaving her, so perhaps he’s better versed at inflicting emotional pain on others, than Dong Eun is, since Dong Eun had just wanted him to leave Yeon Jin..? Food for thought, at the very least.
E12. I love how Hyun Nam is low-key rubbing salt into Yeon Jin’s wounds, while maintaining the appearance of bringing her intel, just like Yeon Jin had ordered.
First, it’s how she tells Yeon Jin that the man working with Dong Eun is a young plastic surgeon by the name of Joo Yeo Jung, who comes from a wealthy family of doctors.
That gives Yeon Jin the double whammy realization that not only is Yeo Jung the plastic surgeon she’d seen, but also, the hospital that his family owns, is exactly where So Hee’s body is being kept. Ooh, I do love the look of panic in Yeon Jin’s eyes. Burnnn.
And then, later in the episode, there’s how Hyun Nam innocently calls her to tell her that Dong Eun’s at a church – which Yeon Jin rolls her eyes at, until she realizes the implication of that piece of information.
Hyun Nam really does seem to be having an innocently good time, playing Yeon Jin like this. 😁
E12. I thought it was actually really clever of Dong Eun, to send those photos to Jae Joon instead of Do Young.
With Jae Joon’s temper being as short-fused and violent as it is, it was practically a given, that he would attack Teacher Chu with a vengeance.
And honestly, given how horrible Teacher Chu was being to Dong Eun – and threatening her with more horrible stuff – and also, seeing how sleazy he was being, in taking those upskirt pictures of the kids, I did feel a stab of satisfaction, seeing Jae Joon knock him out like that.
He deserved that, honestly.
But of course, Do Young, who arrives at the scene later, has a point; Jae Joon’s acting way out of line, even if he is Ye Sol’s bio dad.
And so, we eventually get that punch-out between Do Young and Jae Joon, in the carpark, and I gotta say, this was surprisingly satisfying to watch. Am I more bloodthirsty than I knew? 😅
Mainly, I just like seeing Do Young break out of his controlled, measured shell.
Up to this point, Do Young’s always been on an even keel, no matter what he’s faced with – like when he met Jae Joon at that father’s event, and realized that Jae Joon is Ye Sol’s bio dad. Even then, he’d remained controlled and – on the surface at least – unruffled.
And so, as a viewer, it’s quite thrilling to finally see Do Young break out of that even keel, and experience some explosive emotions, for once.
Of course, Do Young’s ever the gentleman, so it has to be Jae Joon who throws the first punch – but man, it’s so satisfying to see that Do Young’s got no shortage of sharp, slick ninja moves himself.
He’s more than capable of beating Jae Joon in a fight, and I’m quite dazzled by his fight prowess, I hafta say. 🤩
Gaugh. Do Young’s so badass; he beats up Jae Joon in much the same way that Jae Joon beat up Teacher Chu – except his moves are slicker and sharper – and then he walks off with that badass flourish, like he hasn’t even broken a sweat.
I have stars in my eyes from this; I can’t help it. (So AM I more bloodthirsty than I’d thought? Hrm… 😅)
I think maybe I just like the idea of watching Do Young let go of his even-keeled persona, and actually roll with his feelings.
E12. I also find myself quite thrilled with the scene where Do Young finally explodes in the face of Yeon Jin’s self-righteous complaints about how he won’t even let her ask about her daughter’s whereabouts.
On that note, I have to say, I am mesmerized by how this scene is played, by both Im Ji Yeon and Jung Sung Il.
The way Do Young starts out, still in control of his calm exterior, just with small twitches in his facial expression, giving us a glimpse of how much self control he’s exerting, in the moment.
And then, the way that eventually crumbles, as his voice rises several dozen decibels, as he finally explodes.
The disgust and disbelief in his face and his voice, as he lays it all out, and observes that Yeon Jin only still cares about herself, and dares to test him, in this moment.
And in response, there’s the way Yeon Jin starts out being all whiny and self-righteous, then freezes, her whole expression changing – and those tears springing to her eyes – as she realizes that she’s just opened a can of worms and really, really regrets it.
She literally looks like she’s shocked herself into a daze; she seems so stupefied by the realization that Do Young knows everything about her affair with Jae Joon, and Ye Sol’s true parentage.
And then finally, the way she seems almost half drunk, as they tries one last ditch attempt to defend herself, saying that she’d at least tried to protect them as a couple, by lying about it – and now, it’s all Do Young’s fault, for dragging everything into the open.
Wow. Yeon Jin’s one heckuva spin doctor, if nothing else. 😅
So I’m not surprised – but still quite thrilled – at how Do Young finally gives an indication that he might end up leaving Yeon Jin, after all, “Ye Sol will still be my daughter, even if we’re not together.”
Oooh. Color me very curious indeed, to see what Do Young does next, in this regard.
Im Ji Yeon’s delivery of the scene immediately afterwards, as Yeon Jin answers the phone, right after Do Young walks out and she’s burst into tears, is really great.
The overly bright glint in her eyes and the same overly bright tone of her voice, as she pretends that everything is ok, when the tears are streaked all over her face, is really well done, I thought.
E12. The way Yeo Jung’s mom casually yet resolutely stands her ground about keeping So Hee’s body in the freezer instead of moving it back to the morgue, even under threat of police intervention, is just so badass. 🤩
Her vibe is almost, “I dare you to try to stop me,” which is just so great, in a story world where people are quick to bully and intimidate others.
E13-14. The way Dong Eun just stands there in the apartment and waits for Mom’s crazy drunk antics to kick in.
The way she kneels and looks up at Mom with those crazy eyes, and thanks her for staying the same all these years, as the apartment bursts into flames, is pretty chilling.
After all the awful threats that Mom’s made towards Dong Eun, saying that Dong Eun can run, but won’t ever successfully hide from her, and, after all the awful ways that Mom’s sold Dong Eun out for money, I can see why Dong Eun would look for a way out.
And better way out, than to have Mom committed – for a legit alcohol dependency that she genuinely suffers from?
E14. I found the entire coming together of the death of Abusive Husband really clever, really, because, again, Dong Eun and her team are just pulling levers that they believe will result in certain behaviors, in these people.
Giving Abusive Husband an opening to blackmail Yeon Jin’s mom was a guarantee that he would do it, and get on her nerves enough that she would want to get rid of him.
And bringing Myeong Oh’s body to light was a guarantee that Dirty Cop wouldn’t sit still, and would try to make a getaway, while gaining everything he could, from Yeon Jin’s mom.
And of course, Yeon Jin’s mom is ticked off enough about both Abusive Husband and Dirty Cop, that she would use one against the other.
How brilliant, really, coz this way, Dong Eun’s given Hyun Nam what she’d wanted – the death of Abusive Husband – without either of them having to do the deed themselves.
E14. The way Hyun Nam responds to the confirmation that Abusive Husband is dead, is so fantastically delivered by Yeom Hye Ran.
There’s SUCH a depth of complicated emotion there, as her face contorts with varying shades of sorrow and joy; brokenness and relief. Just, brilliant.
E14. The other thing that I find very sneaky-clever about this whole thing, is how Yeo Jung makes sure to warn Yeon Jin about the probability of jaywalkers in the heavy rain – and then it’s not long before Yeon Jin gets that call from her mother, because she’d run over Hyun Nam’s husband, in that very scenario.
Of course that’s going to give Yeon Jin chills – just like that ritual that the shaman does at the end of the episode, where she channels So Hee, on the roof, and asks Yeon Jin if she should strip, because that’s what Yeon Jin had demanded, back then.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Y’know, I have to confess that I didn’t love the ending as much as most other viewers seem to.
I was originally going to talk about the penultimate episode and finale separately, but now that I’ve crossed the finish line, I find myself more interested to talk about the ending, and so, I’m going to just smush everything together here in one section instead.
I think there are two main things that make up my satisfaction levels with the ending. The first is, did I find the punishment of our baddies satisfying enough? And the second is, how does Show deal with the aftermath, for our main characters?
So, let’s talk about both of those things.
Overall, I’d say that I did find the punishment of our baddies sufficiently satisfying.
The fact that Dong Eun mostly just waited for the baddies’ badness to catch up to them, pretty much, before stepping in to tweak the situation to her desire, definitely amplifies the idea that these terrible people have had it coming to them, for a long time.
Because, if they weren’t this terrible, then Dong Eun’s patience wouldn’t have paid off, right?
Like, if they’d regretted their actions and turned over a new leaf and lived better lives, then no matter how long Dong Eun waited, things wouldn’t have imploded in their faces they way they do.
And that definitely adds to the satisfaction, because we are reminded, again (but in a different manner than in Part 1), just how deserving these people are, of their eventual fates.
Yes, Dong Eun does play dirty, a little bit, like when she creates the evidence pinning Yeon Jin for Myeong Oh’s murder, when it really had been Gyeong Ran who’d delivered the fatal blow.
But that’s an echo of what Dong Eun had said, pretty early in Part 1, that they hadn’t played fair when they’d made her life a living hell, so it doesn’t feel right that she play fair either.
In that sense, it also feels like they’d had this unfair manner of attack (so to speak) coming, as well.
Looking back on it, I think the most gratifying revenge-related moment, for me, is when Yeon Jin realizes that her own mother had been ready to throw her under the bus, to save herself.
I feel like that abandonment cuts deeper than the abandonment of Do Young leaving her; after all, Mom has always been on Yeon Jin’s side, even if Mom had had cutting things to say about Yeon Jin’s ability to take care of things herself.
But whatever Mom said, she’d always been there to clean up Yeon Jin’s mess, in her own disturbing ways.
This time, though, Mom’s literally ready to make Yeon Jin a murderer, so that she won’t be labeled one herself.
Oooh, that’s gotta cut deep, and I feel like that, more than anything else, is the worst punishment that Yeon Jin could suffer.
As for Jae Joon, I do think that he had it coming, as well, both in terms of Hye Jeong spiking his eye drops, and Do Young pushing him into that pool of (what looks like) wet cement.
If he hadn’t been so horrible to Hye Jeong, she wouldn’t have lashed back at him like this, and I’m sure if he hadn’t tried to take Ye Sol away from Do Young, Do Young wouldn’t have ended him like this, either.
Yes, Dong Eun had gotten involved by offering Hye Jeong the idea and the tools, but ultimately, if Jae Joon had been decent to Hye Jeong, I’m guessing that Hye Jeong would have possibly chosen to decline Dong Eun’s offer.
Overall, I’d agree that each of the bullies received a punishment that was at least commensurate with their horribleness, and the fact that Dong Eun mostly simply used their horribleness against them, was extra gratifying.
All that said, I felt that the finale lost tension and momentum, the minute Dong Eun and Yeo Jung started celebrating.
Clearly, Show is setting the stage for a possible Part 3 / Season 2, and, well, I’m just not feeling it, sorry.
First of all, I’ve never been on board with the idea of a romance between Dong Eun and Yeo Jung, so while I was content to have Yeo Jung crush on Dong Eun through most of our story, I was not feeling it, at all, when Dong Eun starts to overtly reciprocate, in our finale stretch.
Apologies to anyone who actually liked this loveline; I honestly started to tune out, once Show started focusing more aggressively on building up the romance between Dong Eun and Yeo Jung.
I mean, I would have been content with our story ending with Dong Eun disappearing from Yeo Jung’s life, like we see, after they have their happy date by the beach.
I think that kind of open ending, with a voiceover by Dong Eun, would have been a pitch perfect closing.
Instead, we have Dong Eun planning to take her own life, and Yeo Jung’s mom talking her off the ledge, by asking her to save Yeo Jung, which.. ok, I could’ve been down for this as an ending as well.
Like, just stop it there, with Dong Eun giving us a voiceover, that she would now repay her debt, by dedicating herself to helping Yeo Jung, the way he’d helped her.
However, Show doesn’t stop there.
We get this extended highlight reel of sorts, of Dong Eun staying at the temple for a long period, and then getting Kang Yeong Cheon transferred to the prison where Yeo Jung is acting as a medical officer, and where she’s now giving rehabilitative lessons to inmates.
If I understand Show correctly, all of this is done in the name of love? Like, Dong Eun decides not to die, but to live, in order to help Yeo Jung get his revenge.
And instead of letting Hyun Nam go live a new life as she’d promised, she’s getting Hyun Nam back into action, to help with Yeo Jung’s revenge?
I just.. was this really necessary?
Your mileage may vary, of course, and maybe I’m the odd duck in the corner while everyone else loves this ending.
Personally, I felt like Show is overreaching; oftentimes, less is more, and I feel like either of the endings that I’d suggested, would have been more restrained and tasteful, and could have still left the door open for a subsequent season.
To be brutally honest, I felt that this last bit, focusing on Yeo Jung’s revenge, and setting the stage for another Act to come, was on the try-hard side of things. 🙈
I mean, I like the idea that Dong Eun finds more meaning in life than in her revenge, and I also like the idea that she finds people who are ready to stand in solidarity with her, and with whom she’s ready to stand in solidarity as well.
But.. I’m not sure that I like the idea that it’s all about revenge. Because, doesn’t this still make Dong Eun’s life pretty much all about revenge? That just doesn’t say “new life” or “new hope” to me, sorry. 🙈
Which means that, unfortunately, I am a little underwhelmed by Show’s finale.
But, I realize that part of the reason I feel disappointed, is because Show’s been so solid through the rest of its run, and I think it’s important to not let an underwhelming portion of the ending ruin the rest of the drama for me.
Because, for the most part, The Glory really was a pleasant surprise; dark yet engaging, and it effectively kept me on the edge of my seat, almost all of the way through.
Maybe I’m just not dark enough, at heart, to embrace this new beginning, which is really still all about revenge, that Show’s serving up as Dong Eun’s new chapter.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Very solid, on balance, though (in my opinion), Show dips at the end.
FINAL GRADE: B+
The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of The Glory Part 2, is True To Love (Bo Ra! Deborah). I’ve taken an initial look at True To Love (Bo Ra! Deborah) and I’m happy to say that I like Show very well, so far.
You can check out my E1 & 2 notes on True To Love (Bo Ra! Deborah) on Patreon 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): True To Love (Bo Ra! Deborah) [Korea]
Early Access Plus (US$10): +The Heavenly Idol [Korea]
VIP (US$15): +Nothing But You [China]
VVIP (US$20): +Our Blooming Youth [Korea]
Ultimate (US$25): +Call It Love [Korea]