Don’t Leave the Maknae Unattended: W: Two Worlds

SPOILER ALERT, but not exactly for this series. Remember when the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out and a lot of people weren’t satisfied with the ending? I did a mad amount of Googling and finally found an interview where the writers explained something significant at the end of the movie and BAM. I was happy with it.

This green flash is more than an astronomical anomaly! It has meaning!

Yep, same thing happened with W: Two Worlds. Hats off to Kdrama Jen for finding me the relevant interview. NOW I can say I love this series and will happily watch it again, though I do throw a few squinty side eyes at the writer for not clearly including relevant information to make the ending more satisfactory.

With that, let us begin!

CHARACTERS:

After watching I Hear Your Voice, Secret Garden, and the few episodes of While You Were Sleeping that are available, I’ve been impressed with Lee Jong Suk’s range. He doesn’t have Johnny Depp’s chameleon abilities, but he pulls off the clever, cool Kang Cheol very, very well.

Han Hyo Joo is adequate as Oh Yeon Joo — sometimes I cried along with her, but it bugged me that she couldn’t always keep up with Kang Cheol (that may be due in part to the writing. Maybe). I like seeing a match of equals, a la Mr. Darcy and Lizzie Bennett. Anyway. She handled her flashes of humor pretty well. I would have liked to see more of that.

Lee Shi Eon was great as Soo Bong, the reliable everyman who is understandably bewildered and frightened by the turns of events. Y’know, what everyone’s reactions SHOULD have been. And I recognized Lee Tae Hwan from High School King of Savvy. His Do Yoon was almost as cool as LJS’ Kang Cheol. I would love to see him in a lead role sometime.

All of these characters pale in comparison to Kim Eui Sung — he was ASTOUNDING. I can’t say much because I’m trying to keep the review spoiler-free, but his flexibility and range impressed me to no end. He was the shining light of this drama.

PLOT:

What drew me in to W was the extraordinarly creative storyline and the constant emotional draws. W is a bit like Pinocchio (the fairytale) come to life, or a riff on Orson Scott Card’s Enchantment. The plot is tight and twisty and adrenaline-filled, constantly turning storytelling tropes upside-down. There was great internal consistency for the world-hopping and timelines, and how everything centered around the main character. (That’s a key point to keep in mind — EVERYTHING centers around the main character.)

ROMANCE:

The romance was good, proceeding at a believable pace and with a great connection between Kang Cheol and Yeon Woo. Their love story was elevated by the representation of the significance of choice or free will. It was a great point and made the story stand out even more.

SATISFYING CLOSURE:

This is the one and ONLY place where W falls down: It fails in that I had to go to an outside source to fully comprehend how the ending was possible. (If you have questions, ask me and I’ll get you the interview where all is explained.) However, once the logic of the series was made clear, I was zen with it and happy with the ending. I will have to go rewatch the ending and fully enjoy it this time around.

REWATCH AND RECOMMEND POTENTIAL:

This is definitely a rewatch when I need a good, edge-of-your-seat drama. I highly recommend it to kdrama watchers who are not newbies and enjoy a bit of sci-fi in their lives.

Before I sign off, I wanna remind y’all of the W drama discussion we’re having over on Facebook on Monday, October 30th. Pop in and talk missing plot points, what makes strong female characters, and just how awesome Lee Jong Suk looked in that denim shirt. 😀

Until next time, drama fans!

Karie the Maknae

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

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14 thoughts on “Don’t Leave the Maknae Unattended: W: Two Worlds

  1. I was really unhappy with the ending when I watched it the first time… I chalked it up to the fact that we lost pacing due to the airing schedule at the end (I was watching it “live” the first go ‘round). When I watched it the second time I was happier with the ending. But I would love to have all the gaps filled in! Please, please share the interview you spoke of that sheds further light on this amazing drama!

  2. I thought this really slowed down and lost its way in the 2nd half, even though I loved the premise and the story in general. The ending was a no go for me, where the conclusion wasn’t satisfyingly led up to. I do think it was the writing that let HHJ down. Her character ended up doing nothing useful in the last few episodes. And any humour that once existed rapidly evaporated with the reboot mid-way through, oh, well.

    • At the same time, it made sense in the story for the humor to die down — things were getting very, very serious. It may have been the writing that let HHJ down — I’ll have to watch it again to be sure.

  3. Yes please, what is this miracle “interview” that can help enlighten us to achieve that level of zen?? Cause I need one too! 😄

  4. Please share the interview with me. W is the only drama where I consistently re-watched each episode in full 2-3 times over every week it aired because of how much I enjoyed it. But somehow the ending just didn’t satisfy me, so I ended up only rating it 9.5 instead of perfect 10. I already plan to watch it yet again, but I think the interview will make it even better.

  5. It has been a while since I watched W, but I don’t remember having a problem with the ending. I really loved all the plot twists and humor. In will have to watch it again to see what you are talking about. Regarding your discussion, do I need to watch thee whole drama beforehand, or are you assigning a few episodes each week?

    • We’re discussing the drama as a whole — it’s a one-day discussion. Thanks for asking such a great clarifying question!

  6. I love this drama so much. The ending bothered me, too, but after taking part in a group essay contest pitting different dramas against each other, I finally figured out how the ending works. (I still would have done it differently, and I would have put a lot more into Yeon Joo’s hands, but I get what the writer was doing.)

    It’s interesting to see different perspectives. One reason I loved it was because I felt the OTP was really evenly matched and actually worked together. Also, without turning into Generic Kickbutt Female Character but instead staying true to her own zany self, I thought Yeon Joo was a really strong heroine who actually DID stuff.(She is one of my favorites, actually.) And seeing her in W made me realize that HHJ is my favorite actress. It’s not a perfect drama (does such a thing exist?), but the things I loved in it, I loved SO much that it’s my favorite one.

    • I’m gonna have to watch it again and be less distracted by the constant heightened conflict to get a better sense of HHJ’s character. That being said, one of my barometers for liking an actress is if I hate her crying. I did NOT hate HHJ’s crying. SO. Silly as that is, there’s that.

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