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.
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!
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.
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.)
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.
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