K-drama series "The Penthouse: War in Life" recently premiered season 3. (Penthouse / Viki / Seoul Broadcasting System)

Arts and Entertainment

Review: ‘The Penthouse: War In Life’ will always leave you wanting more

As an avid Korean and Chinese drama watcher, I have seen a ton of exciting and not-so-exciting dramas. However, none can compare with “The Penthouse: War in Life,” one of the most popular K-dramas released in 2020.  Since its original release on October 26, 2020, “Penthouse” blew up into fame from its thrilling plotline, gripping…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/elenacupid/" target="_self">Helaine Zhao</a>

Helaine Zhao

June 10, 2021

As an avid Korean and Chinese drama watcher, I have seen a ton of exciting and not-so-exciting dramas. However, none can compare with “The Penthouse: War in Life,” one of the most popular K-dramas released in 2020. 

Since its original release on October 26, 2020, “Penthouse” blew up into fame from its thrilling plotline, gripping cliffhangers, fast-paced development, and dramatic plot twists. 

And to be honest, I can understand why. After watching the first two seasons with my family, we have come to a unanimous agreement that this drama is, to begin with, way too dramatic and unrealistic, but also surprisingly intriguing. 

Now that you are possibly interested in watching it, what exactly is “Penthouse” about? Unlike most popular romance dramas, “Penthouse” is a thriller and suspense series, which adds a new spice to the collection of worldwide popular Korean dramas. The main plot revolves around the wealthy residents living in Hera Palace, the most expensive luxury apartment located in the heart of Seoul, Korea.

The drama dives deep into the topics of jealousy and the hunger for success, wealth, and power within people. Without spoiling too much, the plot encircles the wealthy residents fighting with each other for more power and wealth, and also their children fighting for success and recognition in school. 

However, the constant struggle between the characters is only a small part of what makes this series interesting. What keeps the audience on the edge of their seats is the unbelievable plot twists that occur at least once in every episode. The writer and director of “Penthouse” makes it possible for the end of every episode to have a cliffhanger, making it impossible for the viewer to go to sleep without knowing what is going to happen next.

Whenever you think you know what is going to happen next, let me tell you, you are probably wrong. Whoever you think the murderer is, you are probably wrong. For me, that is the biggest selling point of this drama. You never know what may happen the next minute or even the next second. 

Out of the hundreds of dramas I have watched, this is definitely the most dramatic with the most unbelievable plot. In addition to the dramatic plot, it also has very dramatic acting, lines, and characters. The over-acting and over-the-top storylines are clearly unrealistic, yet totally engaging at the same time. Even my dad, who normally does not enjoy dramas and tends to spout critical commentary while watching them, cannot help but watch every single episode with me and my sister, rapt. 

So, “Penthouse” is a very exciting and suspenseful show, but is it really worth your time to watch? Yes, and no. Yes if you are looking for something thrilling and suspenseful to watch. You also need to have quite a lot of time on your hands, since you probably won’t want to stop once you start. However, you shouldn’t watch it if your goal of watching anything is to gain or learn something from it.

Not only is “Penthouse” extremely dramatic and unrealistic, but the drama also touches on many of the darker topics in society and humans. Many of the scenes and topics in this drama are wrong on many levels. For example, the drama includes topics like bribery, adultery, bullying, murder, and more. I would definitely not recommend this show to any younger children or teenagers, or anyone who is easily upset by traumatic situations.

“Penthouse” has definitely become one of my favorite dramas due to its thrilling and enticing plotline, gripping cliffhangers, unbelievable plot twists, and complex characters. Although it is a very dark and toxic series, the large majority of viewers agree that the drama is incredibly intriguing, leaving the audience always wanting more.

The third season of “Penthouse” began airing on June 4, and I am certain that it will bring more exciting twists and new enticing characters. Overall, I would definitely recommend this drama to anyone over 14 who enjoys a plotline that is dramatic, suspenseful, and definitely irresistible!