Netflix’s “The Glory” Is a Glorious Love Letter to the Art of Revenge


티비텐 TV10, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The 2022 hit “The Glory” returns to Netflix on Mar. 10th. The last eight episodes continued the story of Moon Dong-Eun and her revenge.

Maggie Craig, Editor-In-Chief

Everyone loves a good revenge story. From “John Wick” to “Mean Girls,” there’s something oddly satisfying about watching a protagonist deliver justice to their enemies.

That’s why Netflix’s new Korean drama (k-drama), “The Glory” is currently the most-watched non-English T.V. show or movie on Netflix as of Mar. 15, accumulating over 1.2 million views since the release of the last eight episodes on Mar. 10.

 “The Glory” explores themes of school violence, bullying, and most importantly, sweet, sweet revenge.

The k-drama follows the tragic backstory of the protagonist, Moon Dong-Eun (Song Hye-Kyo), a poor high school girl who finds herself powerless against a group of popular rich kids at her school. They mock, assault and torture Dong-Eun, leaving her no choice but to drop out of high school after long months of suffering.

Due to the power and influence of the rich kids and their families, no one was able to protect her from her assailants. 

The Glory | Official Trailer | Netflix / Netflix K-Content

On the verge of complete hopelessness and despair, Dong-Eun promises her bullies that she will take them down and makes it her sole reason for living, setting her on a long path of planning their demise. 

The show uniquely manipulates time to slowly reveal Dong-Eun’s intricate plan to take down all five of her bullies, as well as anyone else who had wronged her. 

The first episode of “The Glory” establishes the justification for her revenge, revealing the terrors Dong-Eun faced during her time in high school. Then, the episode shows her working her way up from being a high school dropout to becoming a well-respected teacher (an optimal career choice for her revenge) in the span of two decades.

“The Glory” is a true underdog story because even in adulthood, her bullies still have the same tremendous wealth, power and influence as they did in high school. Dong-Eun spends her teenage years and her twenties saving up money and forging alliances to level the playing field and get her revenge once and for all.

But past all of the spilled secrets and intense moments of “The Glory,” the show also aims to shed light on mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Dong-Eun as well as another character named Joo Yeo-Jeong (Lee Do Hyun) face numerous mental illnesses due to the horrors they went through in the past.

While revenge certainly wasn’t the healthiest way to deal with their trauma, “The Glory” reveals other ways the characters healed that weren’t at the expense of others. 

Furthermore, the show is also a remarkable commentary on the dark side of capitalism. The main antagonists use their wealth and connections to conceal their illegal activities and wash the blood off of their hands. “The Glory” reveals that with enough money, an individual can get themselves out of any circumstance and even bribe government officials. Throughout the series, the protagonists expose these faults in the system and create change in their society. 

As a revenge story, “The Glory” lives up to its potential. But, as a k-drama, the show falls a little short.

 The show attempts to follow a B-story romance that many k-dramas have alongside their main plot. However, this particular romance didn’t add to the overall story. Instead, it felt a little out of place and distracting at times. In my opinion, the story would have been much stronger if the romance plot didn’t exist, or if the love interest had a more compelling backstory.

Nonetheless, “The Glory” deserves all of the glory and more. It’s a dark and gory drama that highlights societal problems such as bullying, mental illness and capitalism. Every episode is addicting and ends on a bittersweet cliffhanger that forces the audience to want more. The conclusion was overall satisfactory and tied up all of the loose ends perfectly. 

Got a taste for revenge? All episodes of “The Glory” are now streaming on Netflix.