The Glory; what a drama; I was not planning on watching this series, as I am not much of a Song Hye Kyo fan. But a trusted friend told me I should, and I am glad I did. What a drama, a well-written drama, might I add. I mean, not a dull moment. The first episode was rough, and I must admit I skipped through much of the torture and violence. It was just overt and too much to reconcile or bear.
That, the world could possibly harbor kids (I mean they were children really) who felt so entitled and thought the world revolved around them, that it gave them the right to inflict such animosity and hate on another child just because they are different, or "just because" is beyond uncalled for, it's inexcusable and shame on everyone that stood by and watched and did nothing, they as good as inflicted the violence and pain but more than anything shame on the teachers, the parents, the caretakers, the friends or so-called friends, well there wasn't much love lost between any of them anyways so I can't even call them friends for going along and thinking it entertaining to humiliate, demean, deface, another human being. No one is born hating another person because of their low status or background; it's a learned behavior, regardless of where it is learned.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention how amazing Jung Ji So was as the teenage Moon Dong Eun. She is such a great talent; I am in awe of her. By the time Moon Dong Eun was an adult, I was fully invested in her journey. Everything from how she lived her life in narration to Park Yeon Jin (Im Ji Yeon, great acting) was so captivating. I found myself hanging on to every word she wrote, even the way MDE spoke. But what fascinated me the most was MDE's first encounter with her torturers after 17 years at the gym of their old school. The way she had everyone so flabbergasted was so fulfilling, especially when she clapped for Yeon Jin as she walked up the stage for her award.
Yeon Jin, thinking the past was fully forgotten and dead, spoke volumes of the type of person she was as a teenager, but even more so as an adult. That she could not even recall her monstrous acts made her an even more awful human being than she already was -- that she didn't realize the decisions and choices she made would follow her to her grave is very telling of her arrogance and malignant miserliness. The audacity to think MDE deserved everything that happened to her, and that she was somehow to blame, was exhausting to watch. That her young child, not even 5 or 6 years old, instinctively knew it was cruel to burn, beat, or torture another human being yet her mother never considered it surely not as a teenager and even less so as an adult. It was at that moment that I conceded that Yeon Jin deserved everything coming her way -- everyone who was involved or stood idly by is deserving as well.
My heart broke for Ha Do Young, Yeon Jin's husband, and their little girl Ha Ye Sol (Oh Ji Yul). Jung Sung II was brilliant in his role as a rich, have-it-all husband, father, and man. He was admirable - not too entitled or arrogant, just a man used to getting his way, not by force, but because it was always available. Unlike the inherently entitled, self-absorbed, and cruel Jeon Jae Joon (Park Sung Hoon, who was brilliant in his role), who obviously lived his life believing the world owed him everything, but then growing without love or self-worth, can do that to a kid. Even when JJJ found out about his child, I don't believe he truly wanted her because he loved her. It was more like he wanted to hurt Ha Do Young and take from him the one thing he loved the most. Same as how he perceived him taking his love away from him, not that Yeon Jin and Jeon Jae Joon even know what it means to love someone outside themselves. To them, people are mere possessions, the same as designer clothes, bags, shoes, and homes -- objects to possess and toss away once they get tired of them.
It was not all gloom and darkness with The Glory; many funny moments peppered in throughout the episodes. I especially enjoyed the, at first, very professional relationship between Kang Hyun Nam and MDE, and even more so as they started to warm up. Yeom Hye Ran did a great job making me feel the pull/push relationship, the slow drawing in of MDE, and even the love and admiration between the two. Despite how their relationship started, I fully understood how two dehumanized people could empathize if not care for one another, as only those who have experienced the shame and hatred of emotional, physical, and mental abuse/bullying do. And, of course, Lee Do Hyun was consistently excellent in how he personified Joo Yeo Jung; how he grew to accept and live with his painful past, despite it being part of him daily. His patience and acceptance of MDE for what she was, not trying to make her into what he thought she should be -- never pushing or probing, just hoping. I loved how he didn't judge or question when she told him her story, but readily accepted his role as her head swordsman.
What's intriguing about The Glory is that it takes time with everything. Nothing is rushed, not even the conversations. So it went without saying that the revenge plot would take its time, almost painfully so. And I think that was the point. For the culprits to know that revenge was coming, they didn't know how, when, where, and through whom. The Glory is like peeling behind the layers of a big fat onion; the more you reveal, the twisted it gets. Kudos to the writer for such brilliant scriptwriting, the director, and the actors for gripping the writing alive. I look forward to the second half and the actual revenge plots unfolding. Watch The Glory Season 1 here. Watch The Glory Season 1 here.