Why Is ‘The Glory’ Not The Best Revenge Drama We Have Seen? 


It is one thing to want revenge but quite another to live a life centered around it. There is something that injustice does to you. It takes away from the place you create for yourself in the world. When Dong Eun was repeatedly assaulted by Yeon Jin and her group in “The Glory,” they did not just hurt her physically. They let her know that she wasn’t safe from them anywhere and that they could encroach on her space anytime and do anything they wanted. Dong Eun was told repeatedly that she did not matter to anyone and was nothing more than a plaything to the people around her. They validated this by their deliberate cruelty, and the other students’ silence, along with the attempts of the administration to cover it up, further supported Yeon Jin’s message: that she could do whatever she wanted, and nobody would stop her; in fact, the world was designed to aid her every move. 

When Dong Eun’s teacher slapped her for questioning why he supported Yeon Jin or even when her mother, Mi Hee, had changed the reason for her quitting school to ‘maladjustment,’ Dong Eun was left completely alone in this world. Yeon Jin’s cruelty had not broken her as much as the others’ apathy had. We don’t know what Dong Eun used to dream of as a child. Maybe she just wanted a normal life where she would go to college, get a job, have a boyfriend, and eventually, a family of her own. But after what happened to her, Dong Eun knew that she would be able to have none of those things because the part of her heart that could accept and appreciate love had shut itself off. It would be years before a goofy plastic surgeon opened them up again, but until then, Dong Eun had one mission: to avenge herself. 

In an earlier review of “The Glory,” we said that Dong Eun dealt with the group with a rather light hand. Everything she went through demanded the complete annihilation of her assailants because that is how the justice of revenge works. But everything that Dong Eun did to Yeon Jin and the group felt a bit too fair. Starting with Myeong Oh, we doubt Dong Eun designed his death. She planned on using him to expose the rest of the group, but how could she know that Yeon Jin would kill him? Myeong Oh was a rapist and was just as cruel as the rest of the group. Dong Eun did not care that he died and had it been up to her, we are sure that he would have been punished harshly enough. His death at the hands of Yeon Jin felt like a bit of Dong Eun’s revenge was taken away from her. We felt the same about what happened with Hye Jeong. Dong Eun could not have anticipated that Sa Ra would stab her. It is not a question of whether just desserts were served; it is a matter of whether they were served by the right person. Dong Eun’s only real revenge was with Jae Joon when she had Hye Jeong switch out his eye medicine with something that ended up blinding him. This was really the only thing that was believable as the return of his malice in kind.

Coming to Sa Ra and Yeon Jin, all Dong Eun did was reveal their misdeeds strategically, in a way that they could not escape the consequences. Dong Eun made sure that the world knew about Sa Ra’s drug habit and her father’s embezzlement of funds. This meant that her life of privilege was over. But what we are saying is, how is this revenge specific to Dong Eun, and in fact, how is this revenge at all? The misdeeds of a man and his daughter are revealed to the world, which they should be anyway, since they affect people at large. But how was this compensation for Dong Eun? Literally, anybody else could have done that, and the result would have been the same. Which is what happens with Yeon Jin as well. Dong Eun just brought to light that Yeon Jin used to be a bully, and she let Do Hyeong know that his wife had been cheating on him. Just these two revelations destroyed life as Yeon Jin knew it. She should have been in jail anyway for the horrific physical assault she committed, but since that could be written off as she was a minor at the time, Dong Eun framed her for Myeong Oh’s murder. But coming back to the same thing, Dong Eun did not plan Myeong Oh’s murder, so what would she have done if Yeon Jin did not believe that she had murdered him? 

Basically, Yeon Jin lost her marriage and child because she cheated, and she lost her career because of her bullying allegations. As for her jail sentence, it did not matter that she did not strike the fatal blow to Myeong Oh’s head. She had every intention of killing him and would have come back to finish the job if she had known that he was alive. Our point is that none of these punishments are specific to Dong Eun. Dong Eun spent her entire life planning her revenge, and it was all just so lackluster. Myeong Oh and Jae Joon faced their fates in a moment, compared to Dong Eun’s years of torment, and even then, they had no idea that it was all her doing. Sa Ra was too drugged to care. Maybe Hye Jeong knew to blame Dong Eun, but then, she had lived a wretched life anyway by trying to compare herself to her friends constantly. We do not believe that Dong Eun took proper revenge against Yeon Jin either. 

What Dong Eun did was that she revealed the group’s crimes strategically. What she needed to do was make their lives a living hell, each one of them, and have them rue the day they met her. But the protagonist was written in such a way that she was unwilling to get her hands dirty enough. And that is why “The Glory” is not as good a revenge drama as it could have been.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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