Kdrama review: The Penthouse
Updated: Mar 22
The Penthouse: War In Life is basically a suspense kdrama revolving around super rich and infuriating people who live in one of the fanciest + super luxurious apartment buildings in Seoul – Hera Palace.
The families that live here are just like every other rich family i.e full of pretense, lies, entitlement, arrogance and 0 compassionate sense. All their children are trying to be the best classical singers and get into *drum roll* Seoul National University.
The rich parents? Well, other than pressurizing their children to do better are trying like crazy to get even richer and keep up their social image. A murder happens and then some more and the kdrama explores the shades of grey in every character revealing how human beings are all capable of getting blood on their hand if only put in the right (wrong?) situation.
Penthouse is a kdrama that shows you what it means to indulge in a range of the seven deadly sins and makes you constantly question if karma and redemption really do exist. I absolutely enjoyed every minute of this intense, over the top, absolutely mad show. Here’s why.
1. This is a kdrama on STEROIDS
When I started watching the first season, first episode I was like WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING. So I looked up what other people had to say about it online and one person described it as Sky Castle on steroids. And man were they right. If you want to watch a kdrama that will make you so engrossed that you will forget about the war in your own life, pick this one up!
2. The characters are legit crazy
No, really. The morality scale of literally every character in Penthouse is messed up. And the exciting part is you’re always wondering whether you root for this character or not. They do crazy things, horrible things, dark things and then? They do surprisingly heartwarming things. You’re always left wondering how you feel about most of them.
3. The plot is brilliant, chaotic, evil and so damn torturous
Every episode ends in a cliffhanger so torturous that you sometimes may wonder – why am I doing this to myself? The writers kill all your hope and then just when you think you can’t take any more, they give you what you want. Saying anything more will just ruin the show since it’s all about the thrill and mystery. But all I can say no character is ever really dead until they are 😉
4. It will make your life seem so much better
So many horrible and unfair things happen to the ‘good’ characters and the ‘bad’ characters do so many unbelievable malicious and monstrous things that you really will left feeling a sort of weird gratitude for the comparative normalcy of your own life. When I was facing work issues or some other things, watching The Penthouse really made me feel like pfft I can surely handle this much!
5. It revolves around the female leads
The women in The Penthouse are EVERYTHING. Without them this show literally wouldn’t exist. All the characters, the good, the bad, the leads, the side – women rule this kdrama. And it’s truly refreshing to see women be leads without having to be romantic interests of men.
6. It has THREE seasons
Like most kdramas don’t even have a season 2 and The Penthouse has THREE WHOLE SEASONS of pure madness awaiting to occupy your brain. I mean that was one of my main motivations to give this kdrama a try. I wanted something that had enough episodes out there so that if I liked it I would be hooked to it for at least a month or two. The first season has 21 episodes, the second season has 13 and the third season has 14 – an hour each!
7. It has soft and tender moments
I usually stay away from the thriller and murder mystery genres in kdramas and books too because usually they only focus on the plot and not the characters or don’t even touch the nuance of human relationships and routine life. However, The Penthouse does have its soft moments whether that’s the relationship between mothers and daughters or friends or a romantic interest.
Despite all the darkness and over the top drama it also has a sense of how relationships can be in regular life.
3 Seasons of pure insanity
I am probably going to go re-watch all the seasons after finishing this blog post! I doubt that there will be a season 4 – they tied up all the loose ends in season 3 but you never know with The Penthouse! But at least we will always have three seasons of pure insanity!