Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of The Glory Season 1, Part 1 Explained

Korean movies and television seem to be in a golden age, which is likely unsurprising to most viewers since there has been a substantial influx of South Korean content in recent years. Much of this movement was fueled by "Squid Game," which became the most-viewed Netflix series to date, the twisted tone-hopping cultural behemoth earning the equivalent of 128,000 years of streaming in its first month. Now, Netflix's latest K-drama, entitled "The Glory" hopes to find some similar modicum of success. 

The series, which reunites "Descendants of the Sun" writer Kim Eun-sook and actress Song Hye-Kyo, follows a vengeance-minded woman named Moon Dong-Eun as she seeks out the high school bullies who made her life so torturous. Having beat her, burned her, and then used their wealth to turn even the teachers against Dong-Eun, she has much to avenge.

The drama continues Korean filmmakers' long-held revulsion with wealth inequality, but does so in novel ways, and promises more intrigue with a "Part 2" scheduled for March 2023 release. Whether you're just getting into the show now, or preparing for what's to come, here's an in-depth (and spoiler-heavy) breakdown of "The Glory" thus far.

The Parable of the flowers

The first episode wastes no time in placing the audience right in the middle of Dong-Eun's revenge plot. 

After driving for what seems like an eternity on a cold and lonely road, she arrives in the town of Semyeong, goes to her apartment building and enjoys the view from her rooftop balcony. It is then that her landlady comes over, presenting her with a flower and the cryptic message: "This is the devil's trumpet. She goes on to explain that the flower earned such a moniker because its horn points up, whereas the angel's trumpet has a horn that points down. She further explains that the gods thought the devil's trumpet flower was synonymous with arrogance.

A seemingly innocuous remark, as the show progresses it becomes more evident that there is a deeper meaning — and by the end of the final episode, a clear picture begins to emerge, indicating that the deck is stacked against Dong-Eun. Her landlady gave her the devil's trumpet because it is essentially what Dong-Eun unconsciously yearns to become. She has been plotting her revenge for years, with the intention of isolating and destroying nemesis Yeon-Jin Park (Ji-Yeon Lim).

Yeon-Jin has long been a domineering figure; in flashbacks to their childhood, a young Dong-Eun (played by Jung Ji-so from "Parasite") tried to defend herself, but she quickly saw how vicious Yeon-Jin could get. Dong-Eun now recognizes that to overcome Yeon-Jin, she must become even more brutal.

It's all been a game of Go

Featured heavily in the series, "Go" is a board game that pits two players against each other; although the series doesn't go into great detail about how it's played, one thing is abundantly clear: To win, you have to destroy someone's house.

Dong-Eun is eager to master the game, so she begins taking lessons at a Seoul park. Yeo-Jung, a young plastic surgeon, agrees to teach her the game but does so slowly and deliberately, developing feelings for her. However, she is too preoccupied with her revenge plot to give his emotions much thought.

Dong-Eun's true intention was to perfect the game so that she might someday defeat Yeon-Jin's husband Do-Young (Sung-Il Jung) and use that respect to curry favor with him. However, Dong-Eun develops a genuine appreciation for the game and begins to draw parallels between her revenge plot and the game. She realizes that, like the game, she plans to surround and destroy Yeon-Jin's life. This is why the game is a key theme throughout the series, to the point where it even appears in the opening credits of the show.

Is everything still going according to Dong-Eun's plan?

Flashback scenes in the show allow viewers to experience for themselves the severity of Dong-Eun's bullying. She was physically and mentally tormented by her classmates — at one point, a teacher even took part, slapping her in the staff room. As we learn, when she attempted to transfer schools, she made the mistake of incriminating her bullies, so Yeon-Jin's mother devised a scheme to bribe Dong-Eun's mother and make it appear like Dong-Eun dropped out.

Dong-Eun then chose to go work in a factory, earn a GED, and enroll in a university. During this journey, she devised a plan to exact revenge on everyone who was involved in attempting to wreck her life when she was a teenager. Her strategy, however, was not a kill-crazy rampage a la "Kill Bill"; instead, she sought to damage their lives gradually and subtly.

When Dong-Eun begins to carry out her plan, manipulating and turning her bullies against one another through the fractures in their group, things go awry. Defending her actions, Yeon-Jin displays no contrition and is prepared to cause even more havoc if necessary. It remains to be seen whether Dong-Eun, who has spent so much contemplating this master plan, has accounted for this. Given how cool she remains, it wouldn't be surprising if she has a response in mind.


An impressive constant in K-dramas is their ability to transform supporting characters into fleshed-out humans with their own distinct story arcs and motivations. The finest shows raise these supporting character arcs above simple filler; "The Glory" continues this tradition with Yeo-Jung, a secondary character who acts as Dong-Eun's initial ally when he teaches her how to play Go. Even if he does so unintentionally — he has no idea that Dong-Eun has a revenge plan in motion — their dynamic becomes pivotal to the series.

Yeo-Jung develops feelings for Dong-Eun, continuing to text her even after she informs him that she no longer requires his assistance. It's just as tough for the plot to move on from him as it is for Dong-Eun to convince him that they don't have a future together; Yeo-Jung eventually, however, carves out a place for himself in both. He also relocates from Seoul to Semyeong to be closer to Dong-Eun, and they form a lasting friendship.

When the two are in Yeo-Jung's house, Dong-Eun asks him what his security house code (3724) stands for, and he does not answer. It is later revealed that the four-digit number is the prison designation of his father's killer. This seemingly sets the stage for Yeo-Jung to consider following in Dong-Eun's footsteps, embarking on a revenge plan of his own.

Do-Young's allegiance

When the group is still in high school, there is a watershed event when they write down their dream careers. Except for Yeon-Jin, who wants to be a wife and mother instead of a professional, everyone has a career in mind. Because she is the odd one out, her friends tease her about it, but she swiftly snaps back, telling  them dream careers are for those who aren't born into her degree of wealth. Years later, when she marries Ha Do-Young, it appears that she has realized her dream.

Do-Young is the perfect match for Yeon-Jin. He is successful and attractive, and Yeon-Jin, as vain as she usually is, even concedes that her feelings for him are genuine and not motivated by social standing. Do-Young, on the other hand, does not appear to be fond of Yeon-Jin. He regularly goes off on his own to investigate issues that he could just question her about because he is continually skeptical of her sincerity. Jung Sung-il plays Ha Do-Young with just the right mix of intrigue and smugness; he gives a superb performance.

The final nail in the coffin for the two is driven in the final episode, as Do-Young discovers the extent of his wife's bullying. After that, Do-Young approaches Dong-Eun, and thanks to her candor, Dong-Eun ultimately succeeds in turning him against Yeon-Jin.

Dong-Eun's mother

When Dong-Eun was bullied, one of the reasons Yeon-Jin and her minions could harass her with impunity was that Dong-Eun had no one who offered help. The one nurse who attempted to assist was immediately sacked, leaving her to suffer alone.

Making matters worse, Dong-Eun's own mother eventually turned against her, accepting a bribe from Yeon-Jin's family and ultimately further isolating her. In the final episode, Dong-Eun's mother is seen sitting and eating fruit, completely unconcerned with the fate she has set for her daughter. 

Dong-Eun has not forgotten the betrayal, and given that she had already exacted her retribution on the teacher who beat her up in the staff room, it's evident that she has something in store for her mother as well. Dong-Eun's apartment includes a wall covered in the photos of those she plans to seek out for retribution — including her mom.

Hye-Jeong's silence

Fans got a rare peek at life before Dong-Eun became the subject of Yeon-Jin's bullying in one of the flashbacks to their high school days. Before her, there was Yoon So-hee, and even though Dong-Eun could see what Yeon-Jin and her friends were doing to So-hee, Dong-Eun opted not to intervene. After So-hee died and Yeon-Jin's wrath was redirected at Dong-Eun, Hye-Jeong decided to remain silent as well. Believing that her blue-collar upbringing has given her a weaker voice, and also fearful that they may turn on her.

Their relationship hasn't evolved much as they've grown older; the rest of the friend group still looks down on Hye-Jeong and often makes snarky comments about her. However, unlike Dong-Eun, Hye-Jeong actively participated when she witnessed Yeon-Jin bullying someone. That is the distinction between the two. Regardless, it appears Dong-Eun is unconcerned about Hye-Jeong's social climbing tactics. She only wants her cooperation in bringing Yeon-Jin down.

"The Glory" does a good job of dissecting the theme of inequality in this way; the show does not only demonstrate the power imbalance granted to individuals in society when they are born wealthy. The series goes even further, asking the audience, through these characters, at what point passiveness becomes complicity.

Who killed Myeong-Oh?

There's no avoiding it, Son Myeong-Oh was the friend group's most heinous bully. Even though most of the sadistic plots were devised by Yeon-Jin, it was often Myeong-Oh who carried them out. Nevertheless, as Myeong-Oh grew older, his role as the group's muscle became less valued. As an adult, he was nothing more than an errand boy for Yeon-Jin's high school sweetheart, Jeon Jae-Jun. His life turns bleak, and he finds himself the victim of the bullying he so readily perpetrated.

Dong-Eun came back to his life having fully analyzed this and as the audience later finds out, she's not necessarily interested in making the entire group suffer but rather just make them abandon Yeon-Jin. So, it's in this respect that Dong-Eun offers Myeong-Oh a way out. Dong-Eun offers Myeong-Oh the identity of So-hee's killer so he can extort them for the money he would need to leave this life behind in exchange for information about all of them. Myeong-Oh agrees, and Dong-Eun reveals that the killer was Yeon-Jin.

When Myeong-Oh said that the tattoo on his neck symbolizes "Remember that you must die," keen viewers must have already recognized the writing on the wall. Myeong-Oh was murdered soon after the deal, and while Dong-Eun is still suspicious that it was done by Yeon-Jin's goons, it's more likely it was Yeon-Jin herself; her shoes can be seen departing the scene during the foggy flashback sequence of his killing.

Yeon-Jin has finally begun to play offense

"The Glory" takes its time to create a complex villain. 

Villains work for a variety of reasons; sometimes the less the audience knows about their background, the better, and other times their past helps the audience understand their motivations. Yeon-Jin's past isn't particularly rich in expository information, but her strained relationship with her mother is undoubtedly a clue. For all her might, in every scene Yeon-Jin shares with her mother, she just ends up shrinking in comparison.

Yeon-Jin attempts to project the relationship she has with her mother onto everyone else, making sure to degrade them in the same way that her mother does to her. However, as an adult, she now has her own family, exactly as she had always wished for, and she wishes to put all of the pain and devastation she created behind her. Dong-Eun's reappearance in her life complicates that objective, especially now that Dong-Eun appears to be successful in finding ways to ruin her life.

Given all she's been through, viewers are almost certainly on Dong-Eun's side. However, it is also evident that Yeon-Jin is no longer passively waiting to be destroyed. She decides to do her investigation. Locating Dong-Eun's residence, tracking her mother, and even having her thugs follow Dong-Eun around town. The dynamic between the two adversaries points towards a thrilling final showdown.

Does Do-Young already know about Ye-sol?

Do-Young once said he was born with the black stone in his palm; he was referring, of course, to the marker in the game of Go that makes the first move. Do-Young is not only the CEO of a powerful construction company, but he also grew up affluent; he has been able to buy himself out of all his issues thus far. And when he met Yeon-Jin, he found someone intelligent and beautiful who also gave him a daughter, Ye-sol, which is the one relationship he values.

Dong-Eun, on the other hand, suspects Ye-sol isn't his biological daughter. This is a theory she devises after seeing Yeon-Jin go to an optometrist to help Ye-sol with a rare eye ailment that only afflicts Jae-Jun. Further investigations then validate Dong-Eun's suspicions. Ye-sol is Jae-Jun's biological daughter.

Dong-Eun then tells Jae-Jun about Ye-sol stirring up trouble among the group of friends, and Ye-sol lets his ego get the best of him. From then on, Jae-Jun is relentlessly trying to find ways to get on Do-Young's nerves without actually saying anything. But now that Do-Young appears to be working with Dong-Eun, there is no logical reason for her to conceal this information. Do-Young is almost certainly aware that Ye-sol is not his biological daughter.

Where's So-hee's body?

Yeon-Jin's worst mistake was killing So-hee when she was still in high school. By the season's end, it's evident she no longer underestimates Dong-Eun, and she realizes that every other accusation Dong-Eun leveled against her she can evade, but not this one.

Yeon-Jin is now ready to fight back, and her priority is to cover her tracks. So she's getting rid of those who know too much about her (like Myeong-Oh) and she's already plotting against Dong-Eun, which is why she had those two goons follow her car around town. But first, she must ensure that there is no proof linking her to So-hee's death.

There must be something in So-hee's body that incriminates Yeon-Jin, so she disposes of it in an attempt to cover her tracks. It's unclear how far Yeon-Jin is willing to go to defend herself, but fans will have to wait to see how this specific story arc plays out.

Dong-Eun is learning how to make friends

One thing Dong-Eun did not experience while working at the factory and reinventing herself was disappointment. She didn't feel sorry for herself, either; she had an expansive new plan that she had masterfully implemented so far. That isn't to say she didn't have any regrets, however; her silence and inaction while watching So-hee being bullied eats at her. She once revealed that she wishes only one person had stood up for her when she needed it the most, and she felt awful for never doing anything for So-hee.

She does, however, learn from this the next time someone comes to her for aid in escaping an abusive relationship. Through employment and money, she pledges to get them out of the predicament. That is how her connection with Hyeon-nam develops. When Hyeon-nam discovers Dong-Eun spying on her boss, she uses the little leverage she has over Dong-Eun to recruit assistance in killing her violent husband. After careful consideration, Dong-Eun agrees.

Instead of plotting to murder her husband right away, the two focus on Dong-Eun's plot and gradually build a genuine friendship. Even though Dong-Eun can be difficult, solitary youth made her wary of others, and she continues to find methods to forge alliances with people from almost every background.

When does The Glory Season 1 Part 2 air?

Even after eight plot-heavy episodes, everything thus far seems to have been mere foreshadowing of an explosive, chaotic finale yet to come. Such an uptick in stakes is likely what fans want, so you can bet they will be watching. They won't have to wait as long as some series take; Part 2 of Season 1 is set to release in March 2023, likely serving as the series finale. Some of the storylines are ripe for a twist, so fans should expect the unexpected. In a commentary video released by Netflix Korea, show writer Kim Eun Sook seems to promise that everything fans have seen thus far is merely a setup to the actual story. 

"In part two, all the relationships that have been woven so far will roll like a snowball," " she says. "As it rolls, the snowball will get bigger and bigger, making it more fun and cool to watch."