Revenge of Others (3인칭 복수 /Third Person Revenge) might be the strongest Disney Plus original Korean drama so far. The high school revenge/mystery thriller is a captivating ride, powered by some excellent performances from its talented young cast. Though its ending is a bit rushed, there is plenty to feel satisfied about across the series’ 12 episodes.
Revenge of Others follows Ok Chanmi (Shin Yeeun) who transfers to a high school in Seoul in order to search for the truth surrounding her twin brother’s death. There she meets Ji Sooheon (Lomon), who has just learned he has a brain tumor, but helps support his hospitalized mother by being paid to enact revenge on bullies.
They work to put the pieces together and in doing so, develop relationships with other students who might hold the necessary clues. There is Seok Jaebeom (Seo Ji Hoon) who has recently emerged from a coma and is retaking his senior year in order to regain his memories, class president Gi Ohseong (Chae Sang Woo) who is Jaebeom’s friend and helping him to regain those memories, president and top student Kook Jihyeon (Lee Soomin) who has feelings for Sooheon and thus does not welcome Chanmi’s presence. Tae So Yeon (Chung Subin) is Sooheon’s friend and the one who brokers the deals to seek revenge on bullies.
On paper, Revenge of Others might be just another series touching upon school violence. But the fact that it does is just another indictment on the unfortunate realities of high school life in Korea.
The series, airing on a streamer rather than linear television, has a bit more freedom in how it depicts its subject matter. And it definitely takes full advantage of that. Topics and situations that might run afoul of Korean television standards won’t have to worry about such restrictions here. And that is very refreshing and very welcome.
In scenes where Sooheon exacts revenge on bullies, the punishment is unrelenting. Conversely, the violence perpetrated by said bullies is also quite brutal. But it’s necessary in order to accurately show how violent these situations can be for youth today. It’s not overdramatic or an exaggeration when a drama series depicts such bloody and vicious attacks. And definitely not unrealistic to see those in power, especially adults, fail to bring about justice for the victims.
Revenge of Others gets the chance to dole out some well-deserved karma towards those who deserve it. This when network dramas might have to pull back when the same opportunities arise.
The series is able to skillfully navigate through its narrative without getting sidelined by the legitimately exciting, though bloody, action scenes. And again, the violence isn’t always targeted toward the people who deserve it either. It is that mix of excitement and discomfort that helps set Revenge of Others apart from other similarly themed series.
Examining the environment and culture in which school violence sometimes goes unpunished is still very necessary in today’s world. And Revenge of Others is able to do that through relatable characters and situations, while still mixing in some cinematic flair when appropriate.
To be sure, Revenge of Others isn’t solely about bloody acts of revenge. In fact, the mystery surrounding the death of Chanmi’s brother Wonseok (Kang Yul) is the primary driver for the story. Touching upon many other familiar themes including friendship and the pressures of everyday life, the series balances both plot and character-driven story beats to move things along.
You will definitely be trying to put the pieces together yourself. The series offers several different paths you might want to put your bets on. But while the pacing of the series is good, the last few episodes (as I mentioned earlier) feel much too rushed than they needed to be. And maybe even a bit too neat considering the potential established in the episodes before.
But for wherever the story might lack or stumble, the talented young cast more than picks up the slack. In fact, the cast is probably the series’ strongest aspect.
Shin Yeeun and Lomon are strong leads. They are able to endear their characters almost immediately. For Shin Yeeun, she is able to balance the pain and hurt she has in losing her twin brother and having to search for justice. But she also allows Chanmi to be strong and confident in that quest as well. It might be a familiar role for her compared to her other series so far, but that experience allows her to include some opportunity for nuance as well.
Lomon is a very charismatic actor who had his breakout role in All of Us Are Dead earlier this year. But his role as Sooheon here definitely allows him to stretch his acting chops and show what he is truly capable of. His character’s story features a wide range of emotions that Lomon has no trouble bringing to life. And it makes for an easily endearing performance.
The series’ standouts, however, are Chae Sang Woo and the perpetually underrated Seo Ji Hoon. Chae Sang Woo has much experience since starting out as a child actor. He’s had some significant roles as well. But as Ohsung, it is absolutely captivating to watch him navigate the winding road the character takes throughout the series. To say any more might end up spoiling, but things aren’t always as they seem. And that is very true with the character of Gi Ohsung. Chae Sang Woo being able to handle the twists and turns, while delivering a sometimes terrifyingly impactful performance is a major accomplishment.
Seo Ji Hoon is probably one of the most underrated young actors. He has delivered some excellent performances all the way back to when he first debuted in the KBS Drama Special The Legendary Lackey. Though they have mostly been as the second lead, he repeatedly delivers performances that show why he is more than deserving of getting top billing. And that is very much the case here. As Jaebeom, Seo Ji Hoon must be as nuanced as one can get in a performance. In fact, some of the series’ biggest plot developments hinge on him being able to effectively deliver. And of course, he has no problem doing that. Another showcase for him.
It is also worth appreciating Kang Yul as Chanmi’s brother Wonseok/Chanki in his short, but important scenes. Also Chung Su Bin as Sooheon’s fierce and no-nonsense friend Soyeon and Kim Joo Ryung who is a steady hand as Detective Jin So Jung.
The series’ directing is slick with cinematic touches. It has no problem being able to set the visual tone to match the story and the impactful performances of the cast.
Overall, Revenge of Others is a legitimately thrilling ride. Though the ending is a bit rushed and neat, there is still a sense of satisfaction in the result. And the road getting to that end is exciting and intriguing. thanks in large part to the excellent performances of the cast. So far, it is the strongest and most complete Korean series produced by Disney Plus. But Revenge of Others also has a case for itself to be included as one of the year’s strongest series.