K-Drama Review: “The Penthouse 2”

K-Drama Review: “The Penthouse 2” traverses a storyline of insatiable vengeance

With a gripping plot and gravitating characters, we couldn’t ask for a better makjang drama than “The Penthouse 2”.

In an endeavor maneuvered by money and fame, the rich stands at the apex of power, while the poor descends to a bottomless pit. In such a context, deceit and cruelty needn’t be predicated on reason.

The Penthouse: War in Life 2’s narrative arc is all about revenge. It features a tug of war between the greed of the offenders and also the wrath of the abused. Life, quite the rest, is at stake.

  • Title: The Penthouse 2
  • Network: SBS
  • Streaming platform: VIU
  • Themes: Revenge | Dark family secrets | Social inequalities
  • Length: 13 episodes
  • Broadcast date: 19 February 2021 – 02 April 2021
  • Main leads: Eugene | Kim So Yeon | Uhm Ki Joon | Lee Ji Ah | Yoon Jong Hoon
  • Highlights: Intriguing storyline | Powerful character portrayal | Relevant social issues
  • Related dramas: Sky Castle | Graceful Friends
  • Overall rating: 4.5/5
  • Re-watch value: 4/5

Season 1 quick plot round up

The talented middle-schooler, Bae Ro Na (Kim Hyun Soo), wishes to enter the celebrated Cheong Ah Arts high school. Her mother, Oh Yoon Hee (Eugene), who single-handedly raised her, straightforwardly discourages her to pursue her dream. Yoon Hee, herself, was once an undisputed classical singer back in high school. Unfortunately, someone stole her chance for the school scholarship she badly wanted.

Fast forward to the current time, the celebrated opera singer, Cheon Seo Jin (Kim So Yeon), meets Ro Na. The fille implores her to become her voice teacher. But Seo Jin discovers that the gifted teenager happens to be her high school rival’s daughter. Ro Na now becomes a threat to the mediocre Ha Eun Byeol (Choi Ye Bin), Seo Jin’s daughter.

A flashback scene shows Seo Jin had been bestowed the celebrated grand prize due to her affluent background. The award should are given to Yoon Hee, but she was clearly at an obstacle as Cheong Ah Arts high school is passed by Seo Jin’s family.

Meanwhile, another talented woman, Min Seol A (Jo Soo Min), wishes to check within the Cheong Ah Arts high school. She initially disguised herself as a Math tutor who apparently studied in a very famous American university. She braved the exclusive and lavish Hera Palace community only to suffer mockery and abuse.

Both Ro Na and Seol A deliver impeccable performances in their practical assessments. However, Seo Jin manipulates the scorecards and manages to exclude Ro Na from the list of successful applicants. Instead, she is relegated to the waitlist. And to everyone’s shock, Seol A emerged because of the highest-ranked applicant.

The beginning of Shim Su Ryeon’s wrath

Taking it as an insult, the “Little Hera Club”, the elite circle composed of the kids of the Hera Palace apartment owners, connive to execute bullying schemes towards Seol A. The poor girl who also learned about the extra-marital affair between Seo Jin and Chairman Joo Dan Tae (Uhm Ki Joon) suffers from unforgiving violence. Seol A falls from the towering height of the Hera Palace and dies on the spot as she lands on the statue of Hera. It seems that the drunk Yoon Hee pushed her from the 32nd floor.

In an unimaginable chance, Shim Su Ryeon (Lee Ji Ah), Chairman Joo’s wife, is Seol A’s real mother. Seol A was taken into an orphanage and was later adopted by an American couple. The adoption, however, was retracted and Seol A returned to the Republic of Korea.

Su Ryeon, along with Logan Lee (Park Eun Seok), Seol A’s adoptive brother, vows to exact revenge on everyone who made Seol A’s life miserable. Unfortunately, Su Ryeon dies in a very bloody murder inside their abode. in a very perfect setup, Yoon Hee becomes the principal suspect.

Season 2 quick plot round up

With the assistance of Logan, Yoon Hee escapes the penitentiary and quietly lives out of sight in America along with her daughter Ro Na. But against her daughter’s will, she goes back to the Asian nation to avenge Su Ryeon’s death at the hands of Chairman Joo and Seo Jin.

Ro Na, after her mother’s confession about her involvement in Min Seol A’s death, turns rebellious and also returns to the Republic of Korea notwithstanding the danger that awaits her.

As Seo Jin and Chairman Joo hold their lavish engagement ceremony, Yoon Hee and Ha Yoon Cheol (Yoon Jong Hoon) reach the scene as a family. it had been a contrived marriage as they commit to taking down their common enemies. Shocked by her ex-husband’s sudden resurfacing together with her nemesis, Seo Jin loses interest in her forthcoming marriage to Chairman Joo.

Meanwhile, a heavy vocal cords problem makes Seo Jin unfit to push her 20th-anniversary concert through. But thinking that her reputation is at stake, she instead hires a ghost singer who happens to be Yoon Hee.

Re-admitted to Cheong Ah Arts highschool, Ro Na aims to require home the foremost coveted grand prize for the classical singing competition. Come festival night, Ro Na, Eun Byeol, Joo Seok Kyung (Han Ji Hyun), and Yoo Jenny (Jin Ji Hee) vie for the daesang award within the classical singing event. But the celebrated festive evening turns into a bloody event as Ro Na falls victim to attempted murder. She dies at the hospital though.

The Villains’ downfall

Nearing their day, the gap between Seo Jin and Chairman Joo, however, grows wider. But determined to require over the properties that belong to Seo Jin’s family, Chairman Joo plots a scheme that leaves Seo Jin with none choice but to push the marriage through. Threatening to incriminate Eun Byeol in Ro Na’s death, Seo Jin must say yes to the wedding. But their union seems to be the beginning of her nightmares.

Coming out of nowhere, the girl with an uncanny resemblance to Shim Su Ryeon intrudes the penthouse. She is outwardly Na Ae Gyo, Joo Seok Hoon and Joo Seok Kyung’s birth mother, and Chairman Joo’s true love. Ae Gyo, with Chairman Joo’s prodding, lived the higher a part of her life assuming the identity of Su Ryeon to lure some powerful and wealthy men into favoring Chairman Joo’s illegal undertakings.

In a well-designed ploy, Na Ae Gyo frames Chairman Joo for a murder case. The intricate plan also meant to uncover Su Ryeon being illegally detained by her husband in an exceedingly secret hide-out. Hence, it’s a revelation that the identities of the 2 women are interchanged since the horrifying event within the penthouse that supposedly killed Su Ryeon. After Na Ae Gyo’s killing, Su Ryeon has been assuming her identity and is on a mission to require down all her tormentors.

Ro Na appears as a survivor after Su Ryeon saved her from a looming murder within the hospital. She confesses that it had been Chairman Joo who struck her head with a pointy metal on the night of Cheong Ah Arts Festival.

To make an atonement for her sin, Yoon Hee comes clean and confesses to killing Seol A. Hence, the case, which was previously ruled as suicide, is reopened. Everyone who stands as a defendant receives a verdict. Chairman Joo gets the longest sentence. Upon the appeal of the victim’s mother, Su Ryeon, Yoon Hee’s sentence has been mitigated.

After quite your time, things appear to own perfectly settled. However, Chairman Joo, with the help of Jenny’s ex-convict father, carries out a concept to kill Logan. Just when Su Ryeon and Logan are getting ready to meet on a date, Logan’s car tragically explodes.


Empowered women to root for

The Penthouse 2 presented us women whose characters couldn’t be more different. At best, these ladies were driven by their passion to equal the playing field- be it within the aspect of parenthood, career, or by merely asserting a dignified presence against prejudice. Oh Yoon Hee and Shim Su Ryeon are ill-fated women who tried their might to fight back against all the unfavorable odds thrown at their respective paths.

In the most undesirable sense, the drama also visualized the uncanny ways which some women unreluctantly do within the name of honor. Cheon Seo Jin could be a satirical character whose excessive amount of power backfired at her within the end.

Unconditional maternal affection

One thing we will certainly take from the series is that the unparalleled love of a mother for her child. Yoon Hee could be a picture of a selfless woman who has remained faithful to her role as a parent to Ro Na. Despite her humanly limitations, she could be a mother through and thru. From making both ends meet to fearlessly facing death with great care Ro Na could have a good shot at her dreams, it absolutely was a bittersweet role she fulfilled with flying colors.

Min Seol A has never lived to call Su Ryeon “eomma”. Although thrust in a very spiteful hurl, Su Ryeon showed how motherhood transcends blood ties. She was never in need of loving the dual children, Seok Hoon (Kim Young Dae) and Seok Kyung, whom she raised as her own. She even took care of the kid of the one that killed her daughter.

Lessons on social prejudice

Growing up as a poor or an orphan makes one a minimum of two steps behind their contemporaries who are otherwise “normal” in terms of working towards achieving their dreams. In societies where bullying is prevalent, this can be not an anomaly. Rather, it’s an accepted truth that individuals must live by.

School violence, abuses at the workplace, and social stigma within the neighborhood manifested in the most tangible manner within the drama. Society dispenses unforgiving and uncalled-for judgments to people who have less. Especially portrayed in exaggeration, the entire point is tough to miss.

Standing up against injustice as best embodied by Yoon Hee, Ro Na, and Su Ryeon isn’t just praiseworthy, but more importantly necessary in maintaining equality and balance of power among social classes.

The Penthouse 2 afterthoughts

Ridiculously engrossing with its 13 episodes, The Penthouse 2‘s narrative progressed with no meltdown. faithful its promise, Season 2 has topped the primary season by a mile with the cathartic revenge arcs of the dishonored characters.

The good points…

The series presented us with characters who are cunning and power-hungry. Hence, it’s easy to infer that these people are masters of deceits so as to require something from the opposite. The drama gets all the more interesting when wronged protagonists learned the ropes of trickery and use it in their own agenda. Hence, the battle of wits between the innately evil and also the once victims created an honest case for a considerable following.

Past yield point, Yoon Cheol beat Chairman Joo in his own game within the business aspect. Yoon Hee brought Seo Jin down on her knees after she comfortably sang within the dark corner because of the latter’s ghost singer. And in fact, Su Ryeon’s resurrection capped off everything as she got the higher of her enemies.

The actors are remarkable within the portrayal of their roles. Everyone made a mark within the drama as they take the viewers to the intensity of emotions. you’d either love or hate a selected character, there’s no middle ground for that matter.

Another good thing that I appreciate about this drama’s second season is that the crucial redemption of a number of the important characters. Previously displaying their despicable nature, a number of them got the possibility to compensate for their past misdeeds. Joo Seok Hoon and Joo Seok Kyung finally liberated themselves from the rotten world of the privileged as they found justice within the incarceration of their father. It’s quite telling that folks are capable of leaning onto their humane nature irrespective of how wicked they will are.

Most importantly, sans the impressive entertainment, this series has brought us, The Penthouse 2 is an exposé of society’s inconvenient truth about power struggle. While this has been an ever-present issue within the history of screenplays, this theme never gets old. Rightly so as sustaining this subject in dramas brings awareness to the viewers about social injustices.

The drawbacks…

Speculative fictions, like makjang dramas, require a willful suspension of disbelief to understand the story. But sometimes, extreme utilization of artistic license overpowers sense.

Ironically, extremely over-the-top plot twists made the story predictable. With two resurrected characters in Su Ryeon and Ro Na, the plot gave the impression to have followed a formulaic trajectory. additionally, Yoon Cheol’s self-made wealth in a very matter of two years and Su Ryeon and Logan’s sympathy towards Yoon Hee despite being Seol A’s murderer traverse the boundaries of logic. In such sense, the story loses some relevance and realistic touch.

But overall, the series has been an outstanding watch during the whole duration of its broadcast. It’s the sort of drama one would remember for a protracted time. Viewers who are into nerve-wracking scenarios of revenge will surely be hooked on this drama.

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