Review

K-Drama Time Machine: Lee Jong Suk & Han Hyo Joo’s Webtoon-Crossing Romance In “W: Two Worlds”

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Three years ago, we fell in love in the manhwa-crossing love story of Kang Chul and Oh Yeon Joo in W.

Abundantly thriving with time-traveling themed stories in 2016 W, the Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo starrer garnered raves with its alternate world crossing premise.

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Title: W
Network: MBC
Theme: Fantasy, Romance
Length: 16 Episodes
Broadcast Date: 20 July 2016 – 14 Sept 2016
Main Leads: Lee Jong Suk & Han Hyo Joo
Highlights: Inventive Plot, Gravitating chemistry of the love pairing
Drawback: safe second half
Overall Rating:
Re-watch Value:
Related Dramas: Circle, Welcome 2 Life

Sprinting to a mind-blowing setting and pushing the viewers to an extent of imaginary world where everything is possible to happen, W spurred a lot of jaw-dropping and head-splitting moments following Kang Chul and his adventures.

Discovering a world inside the world he lives in, Lee Jong Suk’s portrayal notched a memorable K-Drama hero through its richly sketch foundation story.

Highlights

Imaginative Plot

Procuring endless possibilities, W: Two Worlds was so strong in mocking predictable outcomes that viewers might have pondered about.

To develop the connection that progressed to relationship while the heart-fluttering scenes were abundant, the thrilling insertions of the shifting world aided to the plot’s addictive run.

The rules were established on the connection between Yeon Joo and Kang Chul. That Yeon Joo can enter Kang Chul’s world when the latter carries her in his thoughts. And that she can leave if there’s a monumental shift of emotion felt by the hero. Yeon Joo has control over Kang Chul’s universe as one of the creators of the manhwa setting, but he has control over her coming and leaving his universe through his thoughts and emotions.

W: Two Worlds

Executing its nifty writing well, Yeon Joo and her antics endear with how she analyzed things and acted upon the situation given to her. Especially in those moments when she was learning her newfound ability to enter a fancy world where she eventually fell in love with the man of her teenage-self dreams.

The crafty choices she did to stir Kang Chul emotions so that she can escape his world were hilariously funny and yet lovely at the same time. Her mischievous character is so fitting to Kang Chul’s calculating persona. Both were quick to adjust and smart enough to deduct the situation thrown at them.

W: Two Worlds

Gravitating Love Pairing

Visually, Kang Chul overflowed with charisma that his frames in W draw admiration to lady viewers who were all envious of Han Hyo Joo’s character. For its first half, being amazed in a whole new world inside a fictional sphere can be traced to the rendered sweet love progression between a couple living in divergent realms.

Admitting to the curious case of romance they were in, they were crippled by the restrictions of the worlds they live in. Nonetheless, it was a thrilling feat on how they achieved a romantic ride and sealed it with their heartfelt love.

Kang Chul and her swoon worthy sweet moments with Yeon Joo made me almost kill my non-living pillow out of the butterflies in my tummy that must have been wanting to see Kang Chul too. Lee Jong Suk flaunting his dapper look, teasing smirks and melting gaze has sure made lady viewers attempt to draw their dream guy too, in the hopes of achieving the same fate as Yeon Joo.

W: Two Worlds

Drawback

Unapologetic conflict-stricken second half

After crossing the half of the sweetly addictive W journey, I had fears on how all of the dots would be connected as the story winded down. From the bottom of my heart, I rooted for the love couple’s ever after. Even though from the onset realistically speaking, it didn’t seem viable. But since we were defying rules in two alternating worlds, I thought the characters would deserve to be happy. Bargaining on the possibility that the closing episodes would be seamlessly done based on the already established scenarios, I wished for it.

So when Kang Chul and Yeon Joo went to a more complex predicament, trying to defeat a villain who had outwitted his creator. It has forced the love couple to part ways for them to survive. The reset Kang Chul devised to be the resolution in protecting his lady love ended up to be an additional pile of side problems they had to overcome – which in turn frustrated me.

W: Two Worlds

By the time they successfully nailed their happy ending, I was so exhausted with how the writer had to do a long route and diminish the fan service scenes he could have extended to compensate on how he twisted his plot and teased the followers in catching where he intends to go.

While it was a fair and satisfying closure, the movement of the story from its strong onset felt disproportionate to the waning episodes. By throwing persistent love roadblocks, it felt like main leads were stripped of their initial brilliance and were thrown at a UFC fight night where they had to survive with only the power of love in their hands.

Recommendation

Less the staggering twists and turns that were ever present in the narrative, I still like how W was so ambitious on how it vividly displayed and chronicled a love story that defied alternate universe. It maneuvered to constant deviation and possibilities, having the premise of “everything is possible to happen as long as they can draw it”.  I love smart characters playing in the story so I have to give it to Yeon Joo on how she perceived efficiently in moments when Kang Chul is hindered by the limitations of his heroic role which was dependent on his fictional character.

All throughout its showing, I was immersed on the extent of the chimeric world the story would thread to, even when it hit a frustrating circle. Bouncing back to a neatly delineated denouement, I still would have wanted for another hour of extension.

There is no doubt on how exemplary W accelerated to its proxy universe deriding setting. It gave a surreal drama experience and yet the romance development for the main leads was pragmatic and memorable. It leaves you a mixed emotion as you frolic on its enslaving spectacle.

Plot Roundup

W narrates the story of a doctor, Oh Yeon Joo, who supernaturally got transported inside a manhwa which her father created. From there, she saves Kang Chul, the hero of the manhwa wounded from an assault. Yeon Joo’s alcoholic father is meaning to kill Kang Chul to end the story after he was troubled on how Kang Chul seemed to be changing the story when he doesn’t like where it is heading.

Baffled on her trip to an alternate world, she gets summoned back to the manhwa world after learning that his father will again attempt to kill Kang Chul who was confined in a hospital. Yeon Joo saves him, but was marked by the police for questioning and for being a suspect to Kang Chul’s rooftop accident. Understanding that she has to do a highlight act to trigger Kang Chul’s emotion for her to return to her world, Yeon Joo kisses the hero and gets what she has wished for. However, she gets drawn to his world again and wakes up inside his place.

Because she can’t explain the circumstances on how she knew Kang Chul, she is penthouse-arrested by the latter until she has confessed everything. Yeon Joo eventually gets caught by the police. Kang Chul coaxes her to spill what world she came in and how she knew a lot of things about him. Still afraid of the repercussions it may bring, she reveals to Kang Chul how she knew him and vanishes in the manhwa world.

Webtoon-Crossing Romance

After the perturbingly unbelievable confession, Kang Chul’s world freezes and he sees a portal to which he entered in search of clarifying the questions Yeon Joo failed to answer. He learns about Yeon Joo’s relationship to the artist who created him and when he confronts him about the truth, he shoots him. Disagreeing to his illogical vodka selfish argument of his power over him and his daughter’s entanglement in their creator-masterpiece rift.  Kang Chul decides to end his life on his own and jumps to Hangang river.

Yeon Joo’s father survives and goes to a trip after two months. All the while Yeon Joo still worries about what happened to Kang Chul. While on a blind date, she gets pulled in to Hangang River where Kang Chul is still submerged and in her desperate effort to save him, she asks her father’s assistant to help her draw the pictures that will bring him back to life. Waking up to his world, Kang Chul figures the remnants of what happened to his visit to Yeon Joo’s universe.

Mad at Yeon Joo for bringing him back to life, he goes to the prison to question her. In tears, Yeon Joo confesses her love for him. It sways Kang Chul’s heart and sends her out of his world only to materialize again while he is about to leave. Yeon Joo coyly points out how he must have been thinking about her, that’s why she keeps coming back to his world. Agreeing to her opinion, he scoops a heart stopping kiss admitting how he is scared of not seeing her again.

Yeon Joo and Kang Chul acquiesce to do a contract marriage to bail her out of prison. But they soon have to battle a faceless villain who already gave Kang Chul a warning of Yeon Joo’s looming death.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

abbyinhallyuland reads and sleeps a lot when she is not traveling. Her calendar reminders are mostly K-Drama broadcast schedules and birthdays of her favorite Korean actors. Promoting K-Drama watching as stress therapy is her life advocacy. She is fond of Spencer Reid, Gregory House, Kenshin Himura, Starwars saga, Haruki Murakami and Hunter x Hunter.

Recommended Korean Dramas: Reply 1988, Nine, Misaeng, Gaksital, Discovery of Love, Because This is My First Life, Descendants of the Sun, My Love from the Star, Healer, Punch, You’re Beautiful,Coffee Prince, Princess Hours, The Greatest Love, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, City Hunter, and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes.

E: [email protected]