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Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1 & 2)

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of bad people do a lot of bad things in Korean dramas. From switching babies to throwing rivals off buildings, I thought I’d seen it all. Especially since 2020 produced such reprehensible villains. Little did I know Penthouse and its sequel were preparing to laugh at me, because both truly delivered some of the most despicable people I’ve ever seen. Characters that made my chest feel tight, and stole my voice the way Ursula stole Ariel’s in The Little Mermaid. I just couldn’t stop yelling at my TV!

If you’ve streamed both seasons of the drama, I know you’ll understand. I know you felt that fire in your chest, and the overwhelming desire to reach through reality and slap some (if not all) of the characters. That’s why I hope this ranking of the most despicable people on Penthouse doesn’t raise your blood pressure too much. We’re going to be reliving some of their offenses, but keep in mind we’ll only be discussing their major ones. If I listed everything, this would be a novel.


The Hera Club

As the main source of evil on the show, it wasn’t hard to rank the materialistic, champagne-swilling penthouse residents.

Ha Yoon-chul

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Offenses

  • Left Yoon-hee for Seo-jin after Yoon-hee supported him through medical school for years! (And if I’m not mistaken, he knew what Seo-jin did to her by that point)
  • Helped cover up Min Seol-ah’s death
  • Tried to sabotage Ro-na during the Cheong-ah Art Festival by bribing her piano teacher (This made my blood boil!)
  • Abandoned Yoon-hee a second time after Ro-na’s death (I know why he did this, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he hurt her again.)

Comments: I’m starting off with Yoon-chul, because he’s the least despicable member of the Hera Club. He actually showed remorse throughout seasons one and two (even though he continued to make bad choices). And he confirmed the Hera Club’s involvement in Min Seol-ah’s death during their big court case. That doesn’t erase his offenses though. Leaving Yoon-hee for Seo-jin was beyond selfish, and I was furious that he’d pay off someone to sabotage Ro-na during the art festival. He’s Eun-byeol’s dad, so I get why he’d wish them well and buy both of them presents. But paying off Ro-na’s piano teacher to sabotage her, so Eun-byeol could win boggled my mind. I couldn’t believe he’d do that while married to Yoon-hee, and knowing all the injustices she and Ro-na have faced at Seo-jin and Eun-byeol’s hands.


Kang Ma-ri

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Offenses

  • Encouraged Je-ni’s bullying of Ro-na (It all started with her back in season one, remember?)
  • Knew Je-ni was lying about Ro-na putting something in her drink, but tried to get Ro-na kicked out of school anyway
  • Helped cover up Min Seol-ah’s death
  • Continued to lie about her involvement in the cover-up during the trial

Comments: In season two, everyone was suddenly Team Ma-ri & Je-ni, because they underwent some character development. Ma-ri finds out Je-ni is being bullied at school for being nice to Ro-na, and apologizes to Yoon-hee for what they did in season one. I appreciated the self-reflection, but it was hard to forget about her heinous behavior. Something told me the change of heart wouldn’t stick. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when Ma-ri goes right back to cackling and buying up land with Gyu-jin and Sang-ah. I guess old habits die hard.


Lee Gyu-jin & Go Sang-ah

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Offenses

  • Denied every instance of Min-hyuk’s bullying
  • Helped cover up Min Seol-ah’s death
  • And Gyu-jin specifically helped Joo Dan-tae kidnap and torture people (including Yoon-hee back in season one)

Comments: Alexander Hamilton said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Gyu-jin and Sang-ah embody this quote, because they’re some of the most fickle, spineless people I’ve ever seen. Aside from the pursuit of riches, it’s like they have no thoughts or opinions of their own. When they’re not blindly listening to Gyu-jin’s mom, they’re blindly following Dan-tae (until the very end of season 2). If neither is available, they just go with the general public’s thoughts and opinions. I think the only time I saw Sang-ah form her own opinion/make her own decision was during season one when she saw Yoon-hee’s ex mother-in-law giving her a hard time. She could relate, so she chose to cut Yoon-hee some slack for five seconds. So did Gyu-jin, but for the frivolous reason of Yoon-hee flirting with him.

At the end of the day, them only getting a year and six months in prison was laughable. They were selfish and delusional until the very last second, and never showed an ounce of remorse.


Cheon Seo-jin

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Offenses

  • Slit Yoon-hee’s throat, then made her look like the aggressor
  • Cheated on Yoon-chul with Joo Dan-tae
  • Physically abused Yoon-chul when it suited her
  • Kidnapped Seol-ah, held her hostage, and physically assaulted her
  • Helped cover up Seol-ah’s death
  • Used her influence to rig tests and competitions at Cheong-ah
  • Abused Eun-byeol mentally and emotionally
  • Let her own father die, so she could take his position
  • Helped Joo Dan-tae plot Soo-ryun’s death and pinned everything on Yoon-hee
  • Hired someone to sing, and tricked the general public into thinking it was her
  • Tried to hide the fact that her daughter almost killed Ro-na

Comments: She’s almost as bad as Dan-tae, and deserved more than a seven-year prison sentence. If her treatment of Min Seol-ah wasn’t horrific enough, then look at the way she treated her own daughter. Look at how she left her father to die in the rain. Sure, her father was terrible, but that’s not a valid excuse to treat other people poorly for the rest of your life. At a certain point, you have to take responsibility for your actions, and she never did. Seo-jin’s got some attempted second degree murders under her belt as well, and would’ve never apologized to Oh Yoon-hee for slitting her throat with the Cheong-ah Art Festival statue if she hadn’t been backed into a corner.


Joo Dan-tae

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Offenses (where do I even start???)

  • Killed Soo-ryun’s first husband, cut off his hand, and kept it (Who does that???)
  • Gave baby Seol-ah up for adoption and bought baby Hye-in
  • Attempted to murder Hye-in, so he could steal her land
  • Stole land from the poor and elderly, and had his goons beat them up
  • Cheated on Soo-ryun with Seo-jin and Na Ae-gyo
  • Eventually hit/beat Soo-ryun, Seo-jin, and Na Ae-gyo
  • Abused Seok-kyung and Seok-hoon physically, mentally, and emotionally
  • Ignored his kids’ bullying
  • Attempted to murder Min Seol-ah (and would’ve if Yoon-hee hadn’t interrupted him)
  • Routinely kidnapped and tortured people (including Yoon-hee and Logan Lee)
  • Broke Yoon-chul’s hand
  • Held Seo-jin hostage, so he could steal her company
  • Attempted to murder Ro-na
  • Stabbed Na Ae-gyo (who he thought was Soo-ryun) and made Yoon-hee take the fall
  • Killed Logan Lee

Comments: Who else would be number one? I know Dan-tae won’t stay locked up for long, but life in prison is truly what he deserves. There are a lot of despicable people in this drama, but no one can top him. Covering up a murder that’s already taken place or letting someone die is vile, but committing premeditated murder puts you on another level. And Dan-tae’s done it twice! First to Soo-ryun’s original husband (hiring thugs to help you still counts), and then Na Ae-gyo. If his other attempts had succeeded, then he’d technically be a serial killer. This monster doesn’t blink twice when it comes to taking lives, and he never feels guilty afterward.


The Little Hera Club

I struggled with whether to include the kids, but they’re not exactly kids. They’re 19, which makes them young adults, and responsible for their actions to some degree. However, two of them have been spoiled and the rest have been abused, so I won’t go as far as saying they’re despicable like their parents. They’ve just done some bad things that warrant a discussion.

Je-ni

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Offenses

  • Pretended to drink something that hurt her throat, and blamed it on Ro-na
  • Tried to get Ro-na kicked out of school
  • Bullied Min Seol-ah and left her in a burning vehicle

Comments: Je-ni is the lowest on the list, because even though I don’t remember her expressing much remorse over Seol-ah, she tried to be nice to Ro-na after Yoon-hee went to jail (the first time). That showed empathy and growth, but it went down the drain by the end of season two when she blamed Ro-na for Ma-ri’s poor choices.


Min-hyuk

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Offenses

  • Bullied Seol-ah and left her in a burning vehicle
  • Bullied Ro-na
  • Bullied Je-ni (Hmm…I’m seeing a pattern here)

Comments: Just like his parents, he’s a blind sheep that can’t form his own thoughts and never shows any remorse. He also takes great pleasure in bullying everyone and anyone, including old “friends” like Je-ni.


Seok-kyung

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Offenses

  • Tried to frame Seol-ah for theft
  • Bullied Seol-ah mercilessly, and left her in a burning vehicle
  • Bullied Ro-na mercilessly
  • Bullied Je-ni

Comments: She’s often the ringleader of whatever bullying that’s occurring, and I know it’s most likely because of her own abuse, but where do we draw the line? At what point does someone stop being let off the hook for having a terrible upbringing? Honestly, I see a lot of Dan-tae’s qualities in her, and it’s very scary. She’s calculating just like him, and tends to be imaginative in her cruelty. I also never saw her show a shred of remorse or empathy over her actions.

A lot of viewers were happy, because it seemed like she stuck up for Ro-na on the last episode of season two, but I read that differently. She’d accepted her dad was a horrible person that deserved jail time, so it looked like she was annoyed Je-ni and Min-hyuk were still trying to act like their parents were innocent. However, if it is the beginning of some character development, I’d welcome it.


Eun-byeol

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Offenses

  • Bullied Seol-ah and left her in a burning vehicle
  • And then almost killed her later
  • Bullied Je-ni
  • Bullied Ro-na, and almost killed her

I had to think long and hard when it came to Eun-byeol, because there are mental health issues at play. But at the end of the day, mental illness is not the single defining characteristic behind a person. You can be a good person that happens to suffer from mental illness or you can be a bad person that happens to suffer from mental illness. Unfortunately, Eun-byeol slid into the latter, and is the worst little Hera Club member. She’s very much like her mom, where sometimes she feels bad for doing certain things, but instead of taking responsibility, goes on to do things that are worse. The fact that she’s almost killed two people at such a young age is very concerning.


Watchlist

So far, I only have one character on here that I’m observing very carefully. They have taken steps to becoming a better person, and haven’t reverted back to their old ways. But you never know with this show.

Seok-hoon

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Offenses

  • Bullied Seol-ah and left her in a burning vehicle
  • Physically assaulted students that “irritated” him under the guise of boxing
  • Bullied Ro-na, and then switched to being a bystander when he started having feelings for her
  • Watched Je-ni get bullied by his sister and friends

Comments: I can’t quite lump Seok-hoon with everyone else in the Little Hera club, because he’s undergone quite a bit of character development. But I still can’t bring myself to ship him with Ro-na. Some people seem to forget he was just as cruel to Seol-ah as everyone else, and wasn’t remorseful about it until the end of season two. I wonder if he would’ve cared at all if he hadn’t found out Seol-ah was Soo-ryun’s daughter.

I mean, I like that he’s no longer a bully, but he tends to fall back on being a bystander, especially when it’s Seok-kyung and the others doing the bullying. He has the most sway in the Little Hera Club and he intimidates people at school, so if he was more vocal about bullying, it’d decrease. Instead, the majority of his help is clandestine. It also makes me wonder if he’s really worked on himself as a person and changed, or if he only hates bullying/bad deeds when they’re done to girls he likes. Because if it’s a girl (or someone else) that he has no romantic feelings for, is it going to be acceptable? That’s why he’s on my watchlist. I will be keeping a close eye on him in season three to see if he continues to become a better person or become like his father.


Gray area

Yoon-hee

Who Is The Most Despicable Person on Penthouse? (Seasons 1& 2)

Offenses

  • Pushed Seol-ah off Hera palace’s roof in a drunken stupor
  • Tried to cover up the murder when she finally remembered
  • Asked Joon Dan-tae to murder Soo-ryun, and told him about Logan

Comments: I had to create a special section for Yoon-hee, because she’s tough to categorize. I also feel like viewers will have varying opinions on her. When it comes to my opinion, she did some horrible things in season one, but there are some important things to consider that set her apart from the Hera Club. Yes, she’d been having dreams about harming Seol-ah, but she always felt guilty and horrified by them. And when she went to Hera Palace, it wasn’t with the intent to kill Seol-ah. If I remember correctly, Yoon-hee didn’t even know she’d be there. So, it wasn’t a case of premeditated murder, but she still did something really bad. She makes it even worse when she finally remembers that she pushed Seol-ah off the roof, and hides it from Soo-ryun, who’d been nothing but kind to her. She even goes a step further, and asks Dan-tae to get rid of Soo-ryun. So, she did a lot of things that would make her a bad person, but through it all she was always very guilty and remorseful. And at the end of season two, she turned herself into the police for Seol-ah’s murder, because it was the right thing to do. In the courtroom scene, everyone but her was denying involvement, but she took responsibility, and so did Yoon-chul. Soo-ryun even says that she forgives her and asks for leniency. That sets Yoon-hee apart for me, and puts her under “gray area” instead of “despicable person”. I believe bad people can become good if they acknowledge what they’ve done and face the consequences of their actions. But if they don’t, then they just stay bad.


Now that we’ve gone through most of the characters’ major offenses, what do you think? Do you agree with the order of our list or do you have your own?

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2 Comments

  1. J
    April 12, 2021 / 7:21 pm

    How bout Rona?

    • Adri
      Author
      April 12, 2021 / 9:10 pm

      I left people like Ro-na and Soo-ryun out, because they didn’t do many controversial things during the drama. That doesn’t mean they’re perfect people, but none of their actions were enough to put them on a list with bullies and murderers.

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