The Glory k-drama: Part 1 plot recap & ending explained

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The Glory is a Korean TV series that landed on Netflix in December 2022: it rapidly became one of the most streamed visions of the platform for many reasons: a plot that develops slowly in a crescendo where the spectator craves for the ending, a story of revenge where you immediately identify with the protagonist, and a series of plot twists that make every character of the series connected. Part 2 is set for release in March 2023, so it’s time to carefully understand what happened in The Glory Part 1: in this article, we will provide the full recap and the ending explained.

You can watch the official trailer for the k-drama The Glory here on Youtube. If you need help in recognizing the evolution of all characters in the series, you can refer to our complete guide below.

Part 1: a full plot recap

In The Glory, the protagonist is Moon Dong-Eun, a girl who was heavily bullied when she was a teenager between 2004 and 2006. The bullies were a group of five other students led by the girl Park Yeon-Jin, who is the biggest villain of the series: the other four are the rich boy Jeon Jae-Jun, the aggressive girl Lee Sa-Ra, a more passive girl Choi Hye-Jeong, and the boy who gets his hands dirty with violent acts, Son Myeong-O. They come from wealthy and influential families, so the community protects their actions: even when Dong-Eun talks with the police, nothing really happens. The acts of violence are extreme, including severe skin burns that will remain visible for Dong-Eun’s entire life. Dong-Eun evaluates many times to commit suicide, but one day something clicks on her, and she begins to dedicate her whole life to getting revenge on all of them.

The first plan for Dong-Eun was to drop out of school: she wanted to file “school violence” as the official reason for her decision, knowing that this would impact the reputation of the boys and the teachers. However, Yeon-Jin’s parents succeed in bribing Dong-Eun’s parents, convincing them to abandon their daughter and submit the dropout request with personal reasons. Dong-Eun is, therefore, out of school, abandoned by her family, with a history of violence behind her shoulders, planning her life: her mission becomes revenge.

For years she will put the highest effort into studying and saving money. We discover her plan while the series continues: she becomes a school teacher, with the explicit target of being Yeon-Jin’s daughter’s primary teacher. Once she’s an adult, the bullies have a stable life: Yeon-Jin is married to the wealthy business owner Do-Yeong, and the two have a little daughter, Ye-Sol. Jae-Jun is the wealthy owner of his family’s fashion store, and Myeong-O is still his errand boy. Sa-Ra is an artist and a drug addict, while Hye-Jeong is a flight attendant who will get married.

Dong-Eun has many things to do in preparation for her plan. She finds dirt about the school’s chairman, so she can force him to take her as a teacher, and while doing so, she makes an alliance with his maidservant, Kang Hyeon-Nam: she will help her in her revenge, and in exchange, she needs her husband to be killed. Moreover, Dong-Eun learns how to play the popular abstract game Go with the help of the medical student Joo Yeo-Jeong, who falls in love with her. The goal was to catch the attention of Yeon-Jin’s husband, Do-Yeong, an experienced Go player. Getting closer to Yeon-Jin’s daughter and husband, Dong-Eun creates the right preconditions to become Yeon-Jin’s constant fear.

Dong-Eun slowly manages to get many allies on her side: she establishes a risky alliance with Myeong-O, leveraging his dissatisfaction with his position in life. She reveals to him that Yoon So-Hee, the previous victim of their bullism, didn’t die because she committed suicide, but Yeon-Jin killed her. A few scenes later, we discover that Myeong-O is missing. He was surely trying to make money from this information, maybe blackmailing Yeon-Jin. The Glory part 1 hasn’t explained anything about Myeong-O, but it seems he was murdered, and seeing the wound in Yeon-Jin’s foot, we suspect she killed him.

Part 1 proceeds with Dong-Eun progressively stabilizing her alliances and her plan: she gets again close to Yeo-Jeong, the guy who taught her Go, and he promises to help her in the revenge, fueled by his hatred for the serial killer who killed his father. At some point, around the end of part 1, everybody wants to act on Dong-Eun’s side: Hye-Jeong is scared that her life will be ruined and asks to be forgiven, Yeon-Jin’s husband understands that something terrible happened in the past and wants to know it from Dong-Eun. Even Jae-Jun, who was always on Yeon-Jin’s side, will try to find an agreement with Dong-Eun because they have a common objective: destroying her marriage, which will be helpful for Jae-Jun to get the custody of Ye-Sol, Yeon-Jin’s daughter who is actually Jae-Jun’s biological daughter. Yeon-Jin’s husband doesn’t know it yet, but he has strong suspects.

This brings us to the ending of The Glory part 1: let’s have the final scenes explained after this full recap.

The Glory part 1: the ending explained & what to expect in part 2

At the ending of The Glory Part 1, many things remain open. Myeong-O is reported missing, which scares Sa-Ra of possible questions by the police. Sa-Ra attacks Hye-Jeong, who was the one reporting the disappearance. This fight is still open at the end of The Glory Part 1: the second part will explain what happens next.

Meanwhile, Do-Yeong, Yeon-Jin’s husband, gets closer to Dong-Eun, trying to discover everything Yeon-Jin did in the past. Yeon-Jin now represents a threat to his reputation, and he also suspects that his daughter is the result of the previous affair Yeon-Jin had with Jae-Jun, so he starts acting with the priority of protecting his life. In The Glory part 1 ending scene, we see Yeon-Jin entering Dong-Eun’s apartment and discovering the collection of photos on her wall; after a while, her husband Do-Yeong enters the room: that’s the way The Glory has explained that Do-Yeong is now Dong-Eun’s ally, capable of having access to her apartment in this crucial moment.

What will happen in The Glory Part 2? Surely we will need to discover what happened to Myeong-O and if Yeon-Jin really killed him. We are also waiting to see how Yeo-Jeong will actively help Dong-Eun in the role of executioner for her revenge. The events surrounding the little Ye-Sol are still open: will Dong-Eun ever use violence against the little girl? And will she get to live with Jae-Jun, her biological father?

And above all, how will Dong-Eun’s revenge take place? She aims to ruin Yeon-Jin’s life by breaking her marriage, separating her from her daughter, and probably ruining her career too, but is that it? Or will there also be a violent confrontation between the two?

Dong-Eun says a meaningful sentence to Yeon-Jin at some point: “we are going to die together.” Dong-Eun’s actions clearly point to the awareness that her whole life spins around her revenge, and we can easily assume that she could die for it. But is she planning to kill Yeon-Jin ultimately? Or will her revenge be letting her live in pain after she thoroughly ruined her life?

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