Netflix’s “The Glory” was released over the holiday season hence the late review, but its finally here and I have a lot to talk about.
Note: this will be a spoiler review of the said episodes in the title. This is a subjective review.
I have mixed feelings about Kim Eun Sook’s writing. I think she’s definitely talented in capturing the spirit of what makes kdramas so appealing to a larger audience but oftentimes dials up the cliches and stereotypes to unbearable levels.
I highly doubted and still doubt most of her dramas would have been this successful if they didn’t have rising beautiful or established hallyu actors attached to them. Thats simply my opinion.
As scripts go, they’re too simple to succeed on their own, very typical and often found in many other kdramas. You could say she pioneered that formula too since she’s been around since the 2000s and it can definitely be an interesting conversation.
I was also fairly critical of the messy script that was “The King: Eternal Monarch” for many reasons, and I am glad she bounced back from that and onto something much better and more concise.
I’d say from a 1st part perspective, this is my favorite project she’s written in recent memory. I think it encapsulates the best she can offer while also being modernized for the ever changing landscape of Korean content and entertainment. I still see hints of what she’s always done but since its darker than most of her known kdramas, it feels so fresh. Something definitely unexpected.
Everything feels purposeful in this script this time around, there is nearly no wasted moment and the script is tightly written and appears to be marching towards a specific purpose without steering left or right. Eyes on the end goal, and I love that.
I don’t know to what degree such bullying actually exists in South Korea or anywhere but I hope to god this is merely dramatization, if anyone actually goes through this….. its too much to bear. But apparently, the ironing scene is based on true events… so… I …. I …. I have no words. Seriously. Those scenes were very difficult to watch.
I could see it happening in reality and why people would turn a blind eye to it, and it doesn’t sit well with me. Its a miracle this didn’t break Dong Eun or cause her death earlier. Everyone takes pain differently.
I also like how nonchalant some parents are in covering up their daughters/sons tracks. Its grittier than any project she’s written ever and I think its appropriately applied here.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE almost all of the characters written in this drama.
First things first, I love the characterization of Dong Eun, a lot.
I like how she set her mind to it and how the drama shows her progression towards this idea of obsession with Yeon Jin. How reserved she is, and why she chose this. I also loved the fact that she’s fully aware what she’s doing is horrible and is not really afraid of facing any repercussions for it when time is due. She’s fully prepared for this. She also knows it would affect them beyond repair, I just love the refreshing honesty.
My 2nd favorite character is Hyeon-Nam, my heart aches for her.
And then we have Yeon Jin, omg, this character is just…. its amazing how much I want to punch her so badly. I think the character could have easily come off cartoonish but the performance by Ji Yeon elevated her. She’s so cruel, cunning and has so much audacity too. About the worst combination you can think of for a human being.
I didn’t expect this and was pleasantly surprised to learn that Yeon Jin’s husband has such morals on the surface, as it appears so far. I found this interesting to say the least. Yeon Jin knows he won’t stand with her because of the way he conducts himself. I liked that he wasn’t this vapid husband character you’d expect from such a script.
However, I thought the moments he shared with Dong Eun needed to be longer to achieve the results she wanted. I felt it was achieved too easily and too fast. I think they needed to meet up a bit more to establish that connection the drama will have you believe happened. Even if she knows him and has been stalking him, the way it progressed so fast felt a bit too convenient.
In regards to the rest of the characters, I just love the contradictions. How the stoner speaks of finding god even with all the horrible bullying she’s done and how she’s still horrible to those around her, to how wishy-washy Hye Jeong is. Its perfection. I like the characterization of the bullies.
In regards to Yeo-Jeong… I have some thoughts. I feel he’s an important but equally unimportant character. I know this is a contradiction but I feel the drama can work without his presence. As it feels he just inserts himself into a very dangerous and toxic situation based on the sole fact that he likes a woman whom he’s never dated or has ever given him much to work with either.
I would have loved if their connection went on a deeper level which would justify his clinginess. It seems the type of puppy love I’d expect from a man in his early 20s not one in his 30s. It doesn’t track with the rest of the drama’s mood, which could be intentional too on the screenwriter part.
I would have loved if instead we got more of Dong Eun and Do yeong. Nothing against my Do Hyun but I wished his character made more sense in part 1.
This could become an unfounded worry on my part if in the 2nd part, he takes on a much bigger role. I hope he does.
Splitting into two parts
I don’t like it…. And I think I am not the only one.
Around November to December of 2022, it began. Kdramas, specifically OTT, announcing upcoming projects being split into 2 parts. It started with Disney+ I believe but it has spread everywhere.
Not that Disney+ began it. But it just suddenly started happening everywhere. I know its to keep people on the platform longer but it feels sneaky and unnecessary. In the case of “The Glory,” the drama doesn’t have much of anything that would explain why it needed to be split into 2 parts. I would understand if it had a lot of editing or CGI present but this is a melo-revenge drama. Why do you need to split three months apart?
This is going to happen a lot in 2023 too. I am already becoming frustrated and we’re only 5 days into 2023.
The person/s who cast the actors for this drama deserve a raise, simple. GIVE THEM A RAISE.
First, the young talents who were cast to play the younger counterparts of the adults were picked beautifully. To most of them, its their debut project. Wish them all the best. Jung Ji So, in particular, shines here.
In regards to Hye Kyo, I liked her performance here a lot. I’ve been fairly critical of her choices and acting style in recent reviews for what I’d call fairly obvious observations.
I am glad she took in some of the criticism and worked towards proving how she still got it. This drama is not too far from what she’d regularly take on but at the same time its far enough to feel fresh.
She’s also not restricting her facial expressions as much in this drama which I highly appreciate. She’s more emotive here. Her acting style also suits this character because of its background. I think in part 2, Dong Eun will become even crazier as she starts to break down after achieving revenge. She’s a ticking time bomb and I can’t wait to see her explode in their faces, it will be glorious.
Lim Ji Yeon gives her best most outstanding performance to date in this drama, her facial expressions are amazing. She’s terrifying. Her conviction, confidence and attitude around others, the way she carries herself… everything is 100%.
I also personally liked Sung Hoon’s performance here, I think he’s criminally underrated. Whenever he plays the bad role, I just scream in happiness, he’s so fun to watch.
Despite her short appearance, I liked Kim Hieora’s performance a lot too. Cha Joo-Young also gives a great performance here too. She definitely stood out.
Do Hyun does amazing with what he has to work with. He’s always been amazing, it would be nice to see if he ends up doing something to the killer of his father in the 2nd half.
Yum Hye-Ran was also stunning. Honestly, everyone did so well. The casting here definitely stood out, amazing choices all around.