The Glory (2022) Part 1: Netflix’s latest K-Drama, “The Glory,” featuring Song Hye-Kyo in the lead, takes the age-old vessel of revenge and delivers an intriguingly engaging story in its first part. Buoyed by an excellent Song Hye-Kyo, the eight-part “Part 1” delivers just about the right amount of justice to ensure the long road of revenge has borne some fruit. While keeping most of the satisfying moments saved for the next part, coming on March 2023. Directed by Ahn Gil-Ho and written by Kim Eun-Sook, “The Glory” is dark with its revenge-triggering actions and astutely thrifty while dishing out punishments. You come for the revenge, satiating justice, but you stay for the manipulation preceding that.
The Glory  Recap
Moon Dong-Eun (Song Hye-Kyo) returns to the place of her nightmares after eighteen long years. Only to become the nightmare herself. For her old ‘School friends.’ Back in 2004, the young Dong-Eun’s tormentors were five students: the boys, Son Myeong-O (Kim Gun-Woo plays the adult version) and Jeon Jae-Jun (Park Sung-Hoon); and the girls, Choi Hye-Jeong (Cha Joo-Young), Lee Sa-Ra (Kim Hieora) and the leader of the pack, Park Yeon-Jin (Lim Ji-Yeon). The gang regularly attacked and tortured her. The bullying (which included torture and molestation) took such a severe form that Dong-Eun complained to the police.
But Yeon-Jin, Jae-Jun, and Sa-Ra belonged to the higher echelon in society. Their respective parents’ influential nature ensured the bullies continued their torment of Dong-Eun. Myeong-O and Hye-Jeong served more as lackeys than the other three due to their socio-financial stature. They did Jae-Jun’s and Yeon-Jin’s bidding and received the protection of influence via association. Dong-Eun was molested, beaten up, scarred with a hot iron, and mentally bullied at every step of her school life. When she tried to drop out of the school by naming the gang as the reason, she was beaten by their teacher Kim Jong-Moon (Park Yoon-Hee).
It was no wonder that Dong-Eun tried to end it more than once. But the warmth from the fire of revenge inside her heart did not allow her to drown herself in the cold, shivering stream of trauma and unsurmountable odds. She keeps on going, and eighteen years later, she can make her return. For vengeance.
There is a saying that the best revenge is ‘living well.’ That alone cannot be true in Dong-Eun’s case, but living well and gathering strength is definitely the first step. So, Dong-Eun did that. Apart from getting an education to establish a career, Dong-Eun started to learn the ancient strategy game “Go.” For this, she took help from Joo Yeo-Jeong (Lee Do-Hyun), a medical student. Yeo-Jeong did not hide the fact that he has started to like her. Dong-Eun obviously tried to steer clear of such feelings, as she felt that might throw her off track.
When Dong-Eun returns to the place of her torment, she starts the execution of her plan. She takes a flat-on rant which is adjacent to Yeon-Jin’s posh villa. Yeon-Jin is now a successful weatherwoman and married to the even wealthier and more influential business owner, Do-Yeong (Jung Sung-Il). Jae-Jun has taken over his family businesses, golf clubs, and jewelry stores. Sa-Ra is a painter with her family’s influence helping her sell her art while she is addled to drugs. The lesser privileged two of this gang: Hye-Jeong and Myeong-O, still act as lackeys to the other three. Myeong-O literally working as Jae-Jun’s driver slash errand boy. Hye-Jeong works as a flight attendant; however still dependent on the three rich brats for her craving for luxury brands.
Dong-Eun’s plan includes the major step of getting a teacher’s job at the school of Yeon-Jin’s daughter, Ha Ye-Sol (Oh Ji-Yul). For this, she gets an unexpected ally. Kang Hyeon-Nam (Yum Hye-Ran) is the maidservant of Ye-Sol’s school’s chairman. While trying to find dirt on the chairman, Dong-Eun forms this unforeseen alliance. Hyeon-Nam helps her find the right leverage to get the position in Ye-Sol’s school. Dong-Eun, in return, would help her eliminate her husband. Who is a friend who regularly beats her and her daughter?
The Glory  Ending Explained
How is Dong-Eun’s Revenge Plan Influenced by the “Go” game?
Dong-Eun’s revenge plan is quite different from any other you might have seen in other revenge-based stories. For example, take the classic “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Alexander Dumas’ timeless story has Edmond Dantes come back as the Count of Monte Cristo. Wealthier and even more influential than his tormentors. Dantes, thus, had no problem dishing out the punishments from the revenge plan he had devised meticulously.
Or the action-based revenge stories like Tarantino’s “Kill Bill.” Beatrice Kiddo comes back with greater force and superb martial arts training. Dong-Eun here is quite different. There is no indication that she can physically overpower her tormentors or any of their employed thugs. Neither is she more powerful, politically or financially than most of her tormentors. At one point, one would wonder whether she has a solid revenge plan or not.
She does not. Probably. What she has is the willingness to go all the way. At one point, she mentions that she has bet her whole life, all the years since she left that school; and she plans on winning. This is where the philosophy of the “Go” game shaped her mindset. “Go” game, like Chess, is a strategy game where you expand your territory and beat your opponent by taking theirs. Although simpler in rules, the “Go” game has a higher number of possible moves than Chess. And one can anticipate and plan, but one also has to adapt to the opponent’s moves. That is what Dong-Eun is doing. She has put herself right in the midst of her tormentors’ lives and created chaos. And she acts and would act accordingly. Revenge is much more than just ending someone’s life. It is gradually expanding her territory over the already established ones by her tormentors. And territory here does not mean financial or political power, and it simply means life.
Her revenge plan is not set in stone and is not without risks. A wrong move can make her lose the game. For example, making an alliance with Myeong-O. Someone as unpredictable as Myeong-O could throw a spanner into the works. He could have killed Dong-Eun too. So, her words about betting her life is no hyperbole.
Who Killed Myeong-O?
Dong-Eun first reaches out to Myeong-O, who used to abuse her the most physically. She enrolls him as her ally first. Her intention is to use the power dynamic of the group to tear the group apart from the inside. She positions herself as a teacher of Ye-Sol, making Yeon-Jin perennially anxious by that. She also learns Ye-Sol’s biological father is Jae-Jun and uses that information to pit Jae-Jun against Do-Yeong, Yeon-Jin’s husband. She also communicates with Do-Yeong in the local “Go” game running club.
Then there is Yoon So-Hee’s dead body. So-Hee was the previous victim of the bully gang before Dong-Eun. And So-Hee died. Everyone thought she had committed suicide. Only Dong-Eun and the killer knew it was murder. Dong Eun reveals the killer’s identity to Myeong-O so that he can extort him. The killer was Yeon-Jin.
Now, it is shown that Myeong-O is murdered. Myeong-O probably tried to blackmail Yeon-Jin, and the fact Yeon-Jin’s foot was injured indicates that Yeon-Jin probably killed Myeong-O too.
What can we expect in The Glory Part Two?
The series will come back with its second part in March 2023. The story here is ended on a cliffhanger. Do-Yeong and Yeon-Jin come across each other after Do-Yeong learns the secrets of Yeon-Jin. On the other hand, Jae-Jun wants to be part of Yeon-Jin’s and his biological daughter’s lives. Dong-Eun has now recruited Hye-Jeong as her next ally within the group, and Hye-Jeong has done her first job. Filing a missing report for Myeong-O to the police. In part two, we can expect the path to revenge for Dong-Eun to get even more complicated.
But of course, she has her executioner by her side now. Dong-Eun confides Yeo-Jeong, her well-wisher and now a doctor himself. It would be intriguing to see what role Yeo-Jeong plays, especially with the subplot of his backstory, where a serial killer has killed his father and sent a letter to him from prison. Yeo-Jeong’s help would probably go a long way for Dong-Eun’s mission, where she has so far managed to take revenge only on her old homeroom teacher and on Myeong-o (indirectly).