The Glory spoilers follow.
Netflix's The Glory is about as addictive as revenge can get, although some critics lamented part one for the lack of, uh, revenge. Yes, things were set in motion, but there wasn't much payoff in those first eight episodes.
To be fair though, that's the whole point of it all. If Moon Dong-eun had exacted her sweet, sweet revenge too quickly, there wouldn't have been any need for this second chapter. And boy, was it worth the wait.
After 15 hours of scheming twists and big, gasp-inducing moments, episode 16 finally delivered with all the revenge and then some. What we didn't expect was how many touching scenes were also peppered throughout, grounding the melodrama with something more real and relatable.
We also didn't expect a tease for more potential episodes, but here we are with an ending that definitely suggests there could be more The Glory coming our way after part two. But first, let's break down what happened in the finale because all those jumps in the chronology got a bit timey-wimey by the end, and there's a lot to cover.
Who really killed Myeong-o?
All season long, we were led to believe that Park Yeon-jin killed Son Myeong-o. We did see her smash his head in with a bottle of fancy bubbly, after all, so even Yeon-jin herself assumed she was the killer.
The misdirect landed, in part, because of Lim Ji-yeon’s dedication to the role.
"When I take on a role for a project, I try to make viewers love and relate to my character. But I’ve never had to develop a character to be hated," Lim said (via NME). "And there was a catharsis that came from it."
"I’ve always wanted to play an antagonist. But I just vaguely thought that maybe when I have more experience, like in my 40s, I would be offered such a role… but then Yeon-jin came and it was such a good opportunity."
"I tried to come up with as many approaches as possible, like 'would talking in a monotone convey a stronger character?' or 'maybe I should make it totally emotional?'"
However, The Glory loves to mess with our heads just like she messed with Meyong-o's, so it turns out that she didn't deliver the final blow. It was actually Kim Gyeong-ran, the store employee, who had been hiding in a nearby room during the initial attack.
Yes, Yeon-jin was guilty of assault, but Gyeong-ran is technically the guilty one here. We say, "technically," because she too suffered years of abuse at the hands of these monsters, so we're sort of happy she got to exact some revenge of her own too.
How does Yeon-jin's story end?
Dong-eun systematically destroys every aspect of Yeon-jin's life, from her career to her family and everything in between. As she should. We love it. But what clinches her final revenge against Yeon-jin is the murder weapon Gyeong-ran hands over.
With all the DNA planted in all the right places, just one more anonymous tip is all that's needed for the police to arrest her. And they do so at the scene of the crime because Dong-eun tricks Yeon-jin into visiting the shop just as the police have started their forensic investigation. Petty? Yes. Perfection? Yes.
The last we see of Yeon-jin is when her mother, now a fellow inmate, savagely ignores her in prison. She's there for the murder of Kang Hyeon-nam’s husband, yet another monstrous bully who deserved everything he got. And yes, this was all part of Dong-eun's plan as well.
What happens to Jae-jun?
Jeon Jae-jun sucks as much as the rest of them, so he needs to be taught a lesson too. And as they say, it takes a village, so Dong-eun ends up getting some help for this one.
After Lee Sa-ra stabbed Choi Hye-jeong in the neck, damaging her vocal cords beyond repair, Jae-jun cruelly rejected her in the meanest way possible. So of course, Dong-eun seizes this opportunity to enlist her help. The plan is to swap Jae-jun’s glaucoma eyedrops out for chemicals that will blind him.
In a moment of perfect serendipity, Jae-jun decides to use said eyedrops while driving, which ends with him crashing his car near an abandoned construction site. Stumbling around with blood everywhere and a searing pain in both eyes, Jae-jun is then pushed off the top of the site into a pool of cement located right below.
We don't see who pushed him, but it's very obviously Ha Do-young, who we next see leaving Korea in the airport with his adorable daughter Ha Ye-sol.
What else happens at the end?
The only thing this show loves more than revenge is more revenge! So who else gets their comeuppance?
Sa-ra ends up in prison for a surprising number of reasons. Not only is she being investigated for tax evasion, but she was also the one who stabbed Hye-jeong in the neck, and in public no less. Plus, there was that unfortunate bout of masturbation while drugged up in front of plastic Jesus, so it seems safe to say that Sa-ra won't be leaving jail any time soon.
Hye-jeong got her revenge against Jae-jun, and she's also the only bully who survives this season with her freedom. Still, she can't talk properly any more, and she'll have a burning scar of her own now as well, like the one she helped give Dong-eun.
And then there's Dong-eun’s mum, Moon's "first perpetrator". After mummy dearest set fire to the flat, Dong-eun had enough evidence to get her locked away forever in a mental health institution. Still too nice a punishment if you ask us!
How The Glory finale sets up season 3
What about Dong-eun herself? Does she finally get the happy ending she so sorely deserves? And how will Joo Yeo-jeong play into that?
Towards the end, everything comes into focus as we realise that Yeo-jeong isn't only helping Moon because he loves her. That's true, but he's also being tortured with letters from his father's murderer, who keeps taunting him about the details of his death. By helping Dong-eun, Yeo-jeong is desperately trying to find some peace by balancing the scales for justice in this cruel, dark world.
But Yeo-jeong can't do it alone. He needs the master of revenge herself, Dong-eun, to teach him her ways. She has her own stuff to deal with first though.
After Moon and Joo celebrate the fruition of their plans together, she runs off to kill herself because without revenge, she has nothing left to live for. Thankfully, Joo's mother arrives just in time to literally talk her off the ledge.
It's an emotional moment for a character who has been on quite a journey so far. Of that journey, Moon actor Song Hye Kyo said (via Allkpop):
"Dong-eun is a character who is filled with scars and pain from the perpetrators. So, she was at the doorstep of death. But she thought 'Why do I only have to die? You should die too' and plans revenge for 20 years.
"However, she knows clearly that she has to become another villain to pay back her perpetrators. That's why Dong-eun says, 'You be punished for your sins, and I will receive my punishment.' She believes that whoever does wrong must pay for it. That's what I thought."
Six months following her brush with death, Dong-eun returns with a new revenge plan, but with her bullies now dealt with, the revenge will be Yeo-jeong's to take. Together, they successfully manage to get his father's killer transferred to a new prison where they both get jobs.
Yep, the cycle begins anew, and that means Dong-eun is going to need some help from Hyeon-nam again too.
It's the perfect ending really, because the show could easily finish here and we would be content, but there's also enough there still to bring The Glory back again if Netflix chooses. And choose they might, because this show has been an absolute juggernaut internationally, and you can never have too much glory, we reckon.
The Glory parts one and two are now available to stream on Netflix.
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