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W–Two Worlds: Episode 16 (Final)

We’re out of time and out of cliffhanger exits, and the final chapter of our story is hurtling towards that final frame. Will our hero find a way to escape life as a manhwa hero, or die trying to change his fate? Will two worlds implode, or will our brains implode first? And what really defines a happy ending? The answer may surprise you…

 

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

It’s the final episode of the webtoon, and Kang Chul, Yeon-joo, and Dad are stuck inside the manhwa world until the ending, happy or sad. With the police closing in on them, Kang Chul makes the decision to erase Yeon-joo from his family registry and pulls off their wedding rings. Out in the real world, Crazy Dog reaches this part in the episode and his jaw drops.

Chul asks Yeon-joo to decide what kind of ending they get, promising to follow her lead. So she puts her wedding ring back on and calls his plan nonsense. Yessss, this is why we love you! She reaches for his hand, which is still flickering in and out and threatening to disappear, and slides his ring back on too. She says there won’t be any ending where anyone disappears, and all of them will get out of here together.

He points out that she can’t live in here for the rest of her life, but she says that the three of them can live together, and argues that visiting him in jail for the rest of their lives is better than never seeing him again. Wait, is this really your plan? Chul doesn’t think such an uneventful ending is possible, but Yeon-joo stubbornly refuses to imagine any sort of ending where Dad and Kang Chul aren’t both by her side.

Yeon-joo says that the only options for leaving her are for him to get sick or die of old age, and declares that her decision is made: They will live out the rest of their lives in here and die. The end.

It doesn’t seem like Chul thinks this is possible (and frankly neither do I), but he can’t argue and asks her to draw them an exit and a car for now, so that they can escape.

On the drive, Chul says, “You said once that your husband never told you that he loved you… I love you.” Agh, why does that make me more scared than happy? It brings Yeon-joo to tears, and she cries silently in the backseat.

Chul drops her off with Dad in a motel before going back to rescue Do-yoon. He tells Assemblyman Han’s henchmen that he wants to see Do-yoon alive before handing anything over, and they turn Do-yoon over to him without a fuss. He’s bloodied and barely conscious, and Chul makes sure that his bodyguards take Do-yoon to the hospital. He remains behind, knowing that this is the deal.

Assemblyman Han is waiting for the tablet, but Chul says he doesn’t have it, and offers up a copy of the CCTV footage of him being tortured in here a year ago. Chul warns him that he has multiple copies, and threatens to turn it over to the police if Assemblyman Han ever attacks one of his people again.

Chul adds that he should stop looking for the tablet if he doesn’t want a syringe in his neck, and turns to go. Assemblyman Han stops him with a question: “What if this ends only when you die?” Before Chul can even react, Assemblyman Han pulls out a gun and shoots him in the chest. Gack.

It sends Chul tumbling backwards, and he lands on the floor with a thud. Back in the motel room, Yeon-joo notices Dad’s hands suddenly solidifying, and she starts to panic, knowing that this means Chul is in danger.

Assemblyman Han says he heard something strange, about two worlds, and how Kang Chul is the hero of a manhwa and he’s the villain. Dude, take a number. Assemblyman Han says he thought it was crazy at first, but it explains so much of what he couldn’t understand before.

He racked his brains trying to figure out why Chul suddenly couldn’t vanish while he was being tortured, or disappear from prison, and then he pumped Do-yoon full of enough drugs that he finally heard the truth: that this is the final episode, and one of them has to die for it to end.

Assemblyman Han is convinced that if Chul dies, he’ll be able to enter that other world. Chul has stopped listening, and focuses all of his efforts on sliding a chair closer with his foot. Assemblyman Han starts poking Chul in the face with his gun, and decides that he can go find out the truth for himself in that other world. He whirls around, ready to pull the trigger…

But Chul is faster, and he kicks the chair so that it slams into Assemblyman Han’s side. Chul rushes him and they wrestle for the gun, choking each other violently. Assemblyman Han screams, “Die!” as they fall to the floor.

By the time the henchmen break their way inside, Chul has the gun in hand and shoots them down. He staggers out leaving a trail of blood, and uses up the rest of his bullets on the remaining henchmen, finally resorting to hand-to-hand combat when he’s out of ammunition.

Do-yoon is awake now and yells at his subordinates for just leaving Kang Chul there by himself. They turn back on Do-yoon’s orders, and arrive outside the hideout just in time to see Chul staggering to his car. They focus on stopping the henchmen so that Chul can escape, and though he manages to drive away, he’s in bad shape.

Do-yoon calls Yeon-joo to update her, and she’s relieved to know that he’s alive. But then they both ask each other where Kang Chul is, and she starts to panic. Do-yoon says they’re on the lookout, and asks where she is so that he can send guards to watch over her.

It’s not until hours later that Chul finally calls her, voice trembling and weak. He asks her to pick him up, because of all the things, he ran out of gas. She asks why he didn’t call until now, and he says he fell asleep.

He admits that he’s “a little hurt” and can’t manage to see where he is, so he hangs up to go find out. Ack, don’t hang up!

Yeon-joo goes to the tablet and starts drawing herself a car, and asks Do-yoon to look after Dad while she goes searching for Chul.

Chul peels himself out of the car and starts stumbling towards the bus stop, looking like he can barely stand. He finally calls Yeon-joo back and ekes out the name of the city and bus stop, and almost immediately after hanging up, he coughs up a nasty stream of blood. Aauuuuugh. Hurry!

Yeon-joo asks Do-yoon to call a doctor because they can’t go to the emergency room, and Chul calls her back to ask why she isn’t here. She stifles back tears and says she’s on her way but it’s farther than she thought, and he says softly, “I’m waiting.”

Chul says that the final episode doesn’t seem like it’ll go on for fifty years, and he starts to cry as he realizes now that the ending they’d hoped for is impossible. “Who’d read an ending that boring?” he asks.

He tries to hold on and says, “Come quickly. I miss you.” She pleads with him to hang on just a little longer because she’s on her way, but the phone falls out of his hand, and his body slumps down. Noooooooooooo.

Yeon-joo finally reaches the bus stop and sees him from across the street, and when she calls out to him, he lifts his head. Oh phew. His mouth quirks up in a little smile when he sees her.

But then, as if that’s the last thing he was hanging on to do, his eyes close and his body falls limp, and the final chyron starts to render in the corner: “The End.” Ohmygod, this can’t be the end?!

Time slows as Yeon-joo sees it happening and she starts to run across the street in tears. She’s almost there, but a truck zooms by, cutting off her path to Kang Chul. And then… night turns to day, the truck becomes a bus, and once it passes, she’s back in the real world and Kang Chul is gone.

This isn’t happening. Tell me this isn’t happening?

Su-bong grouses that no one is answering his calls, and he returns to the empty workshop. He checks Dad’s office, and does a double-take when Dad’s tablet turns into a manhwa drawing and then disappears right in front of his eyes.

Su-bong rushes to the computer to check the last episode of the webtoon, and then rushes to the bus stop to find Yeon-joo. When he gets there, she’s sitting were Kang Chul was, crying inconsolably. Su-bong just sits next to her quietly, letting her cry.

Crazy Dog reaches the end of the webtoon and has just about the same reaction that I did, like he might throw something at his computer. He’s so upset that he marches out to go pick a bone with Yeon-joo, but Seok-bum says she’s in the emergency room, and clarifies that she’s not working in it—she just got admitted as a patient.

Crazy Dog is stunned to find Yeon-joo wailing so sorrowfully in the emergency room, and he’s suddenly sweet and caring as he asks what happened. She just cries and cries, so he tucks his handkerchief into her hand before he goes. Aw.

Su-bong wipes at his tears as he drives to the motel where Dad was last seen inside the manhwa. The clerk has never seen Dad, but Su-bong pleads to be allowed to check again, because Dad must be wandering around and out of his mind.

The final straw for Yeon-joo is when her wedding ring disappears right off of her finger, like the tablet and anything else that came from the manhwa world.

When Crazy Dog spots Su-bong in the hospital, he stops to ask if this is really the end of W, and how it could end like that with the hero dying instead of the villain. That’s the final straw for Su-bong, and he snaps, “Please, STOOOOOOOOP! Shut that mouth!” Su-bong looks like he might tear Crazy Dog a new one, but then he just goes on his way, leaving Crazy Dog to wonder why Su-bong always attacks him like a crazy dog, heh.

When Yeon-joo hears that Dad wasn’t in the motel, she yanks out her IV and stumbles out of the hospital. She goes straight to Dad’s workshop to look for the tablet, but Su-bong tells her it’s gone—it was a copy after all, and it came from the manhwa world. He tells her it’s really over now, and she crumples to the floor in another wave of tears.

Yeon-joo spends the ensuing days in a haze of denial and depression, waking up to her collage of Kang Chul drawings and a fresh batch of tears each morning. She goes to the bus stop day after day and waits there to no avail, and she sketches Dad’s face on a new tablet, but it’s only ever Su-bong who walks through the front door.

They finally circulate flyers looking for Dad, and as Yeon-joo sits at the bus stop again, Su-bong narrates, “Yeon-joo noona was the only one who couldn’t accept reality. But the webtoon W completed its seven-year run and ended in September, 2016.” He says that the manhwa’s hero rejected his destiny and dreamt of a happy ending as a real person, but in the end he fell at the hands of the villain and died in front of the woman he loved.

Su-bong says that reporters came to Dad’s workshop in search of answers regarding the ending, but Dad never returned. As people buy the final volume of W in bookstores, Su-bong narrates that most people didn’t think the ending was so strange. Did those people know how to read?

“But…” Su-bong continues, “Nobody knew that the ending wasn’t a sad one.” Wait, what?

In flashback we return to the bus stop as Kang Chul dies, and this time, Yeon-joo vanishes and we stay in the manhwa world, which doesn’t freeze or stop at all—it just keeps going.

We go back a few hours to find that Assemblyman Han isn’t dead either, and his henchmen find him stewing angrily in the corner of his warehouse, right where Kang Chul left him.

Dad is still tied up in the motel room, and when he hears his bodyguard talking to Do-yoon on the phone, he asks Do-yoon to untie him because it’s faster to help Kang Chul with the tablet than to drive around looking for him. It’s true… but that’s also what the killer would say to be freed?

Do-yoon relents and warns the bodyguard to keep an eye on Dad in case he goes crazy, and Dad begins to draw on the tablet. But ack, the first thing he draws is a syringe in his guard’s neck! Dad waits until the bodyguard passes out and then takes his phone to make a call.

Assemblyman Han pitches a fit at his own assistant, screaming that nothing matters now because he could die at any moment. He’s hysterical, until Dad calls him directly and confirms, “I’m the one who made you.”

Dad asks how Assemblyman Han ended up this way, getting blood on his hands and shooting guns when he’s supposed to be president. Assemblyman Han just wants to know how Dad is here in this world, but Dad asks knowingly, “Did you shoot Kang Chul to find me?”

Dad seems amused and says he’s been here for a year, and then the door to Assemblyman Han’s office suddenly locks, and a gun appears in his hand. Ohhhh. Dad asks if he’s looking for the reason he exists, and sighs that there’s no way to stop that hunger to know, and it’ll end with some sort of explosion… just like the others before him. “That’s how I ended up this way,” he says.

Dad says that can’t happen though—if a bad guy like him knew all the secrets, what would happen to his world? Dad decides, “That’s too dangerous. You should come with me. I failed at everything else, but I need to take care of you before I go.”

Assemblyman Han’s hand starts to flicker and pull the gun up to his own temple, against his will. When he starts to shout, Dad draws a piece of duct tape over his mouth. Time is running out on Dad’s own hand, which is fading quickly, and he draws furiously until he hears the sound of the gunshot.

By the time Assemblyman Han’s assistants bust down the door, he’s shot dead, and the duct tape has been erased. On the desk, Dad has drawn a suicide note along with a USB drive, which must contain all the footage of Kang Chul being tortured.

Dad also sends the cops evidence on Ajusshi’s shooting to prove Kang Chul’s innocence, and then he leaves his own picture and a letter in the bodyguard’s hand before calling Do-yoon. Dad asks where Yeon-joo is, in the hopes of seeing her one last time.

Kang Chul sits at the bus stop coughing up blood, and as Dad drives there, he begins to fade almost entirely. His words to Kang Chul are repeated in voiceover—that they couldn’t be together in the end, and that if it were to be a happy ending for one of them, it’d be a sad ending for the other.

Dad stops in the middle of the road, arriving just as Yeon-joo gets out of her car across the street from the bus stop. He sees her crying and calling out to Kang Chul, and Dad just smiles at her, at once happy, regretful, and loving.

He reaches out a hand, but she’s too far away, and he just says quietly, “I love you, my daughter. Goodbye.” He shuts his eyes and accepts his fate, and then he fades away.

Su-bong narrates that it wasn’t Kang Chul’s death that ended the manhwa, but the villains’ deaths. He explains that their final moments never made it onto the manhwa page because the villain of the story went against his very reason for existing in order to ensure the hero’s happy ending, and he vanished because of it, taking that final story arc with him. What? Why would their deaths get edited out from the manhwa? That makes no sense.

Do-yoon discovers Kang Chul passed out at the bus stop, and Su-bong narrates that nobody knew that Kang Chul was still alive, because the manhwa had simply ended. Chul gets hauled away in an ambulance, with Do-yoon clutching his bloody hand. He’s unresponsive at first, but then… he opens his eyes. Don’t ever scare me like that again!

Do-yoon yells at him: “I thought you were dead!” And all Chul says in response is, “Oh Yeon-joo…” Do-yoon says that she wasn’t there, and Chul smiles in relief. Su-bong narrates that he knew it then, that his role as the hero of the manhwa was over at last.

Sometime later, So-hee returns to Korea after her business trip and is shocked to hear the news report that Assemblyman Han committed suicide. She visits Kang Chul in prison, and he says that as soon as he healed from the gunshot wound, they stuck him back in here. She assures him that since the murder charges have been dropped, he shouldn’t be in there for too much longer.

So-hee apologizes for suspecting him and cutting off contact, but Chul says he was happy when she did, because she proved that she could live a different life.

In his cell, Chul takes out the letter and photo that Dad left behind for him. Do-yoon told him that Dad disappeared without a trace, and passed on the letter. Dad writes that he’d hoped Chul would send him off, but he’s going on his own. Dad says that he’s already dead, and his soul is terminal because he doesn’t know when he’ll go crazy again.

Dad: “You will go out to the real world, and I will end my life here. You will become human, and I will remain a manhwa character. You will break free from the predetermined settings I created, and I will die trapped in the setting I created… Isn’t life funny? Be happy. Make Yeon-joo happy. And if you meet Yeon-joo, tell her that I’m alive, so that she isn’t sad. Tell her that I’m living a better life, inside the manhwa that I drew.”

Tears roll down Kang Chul’s cheeks as he reads Dad’s final words, and in flashback we see Dad smiling wistfully as he wrote the letter and drew a photograph of himself to leave behind.

Su-bong narrates that Kang Chul spent two more years in prison in order to wrap up the manhwa world logically, and that time passed slowly for him.

Thankfully, only a week has passed in Yeon-joo’s world. Mom asks her where dad is, and Yeon-joo says without much conviction that he’ll probably show up if they wait a few more days.

She goes to Dad’s workshop and lingers in his empty office, and then she returns to the bus stop again. She walks through the pouring rain and sits there, looking utterly broken and lost.

At home, Mom answers Yeon-joo’s phone and says she left it behind, and Mom asks who’s calling. Could it be…?

Yeon-joo sits on the curb in the spot where Kang Chul died, getting completely soaked and on the verge of passing out. A car pulls up and stops just a few feet away, and when she opens her eyes, all she sees is a pair of feet walking towards her in slow motion… She begins to fall, and loses consciousness.

When Yeon-joo wakes up, she’s in a bright hospital room, and omo—she’s sleeping on someone else’s arm. She focuses her eyes and sees a man’s hand holding hers, wearing a familiar ring.

She turns around to face him, and there’s Kang Chul, spooning her in the morning as if nothing has happened. He opens his eyes and smiles at her, and Yeon-joo still looks like she doesn’t believe it.

He asks how she is, and says that he told Mom to go home and get some rest. He thought Mom would ask more questions, and says he couldn’t very well tell her that he was Yeon-joo’s husband, so he said he was her boyfriend.

Mom had asked if maybe they’d broken up at a bus stop, and guesses that this was what Yeon-joo was so broken-hearted about. She asked what Chul did for a living, and he handed her his business card from the manhwa world. You can’t keep doing that!

He tells Yeon-joo that he spent two years in prison, but it’s only been a week here. “I was worried that time would flow the same, and that you’d die from being sad alone. What a relief,” he says with a smile.

She finally reaches out a hand to touch his face, and lets herself believe that he’s really here. A tear escapes, and she lets out a trembling sigh of relief. (She’s wearing her ring again—did he bring her a new one?)

She asks after Dad, and Chul gets up to get Dad’s picture out of his coat pocket. He doesn’t say anything as he hands it to her, but it seems that Yeon-joo knows what must’ve happened, and she sobs as Chul holds her in his arms.

Sometime later, they sit overlooking the river and Chul points out that he’s now three years older than her. “So you really have to call me oppa now,” he says happily. Yeon-joo asks if it’s really really over, and he assures her that it is.

They snuggle and kiss, and Yeon-joo narrates, “Kang Chul’s story in the manhwa was a happy ending, but the real-life Kang Chul and Oh Yeon-joo’s ending is still unknown. But…”

Kang Chul finishes, “The two of them no longer stand at the crossroads of life and death like a manhwa, and although boring and ordinary, we hope that they will get an ending that lasts fifty years. Like other ordinary couples.”

As the sun sets, the final chyron appears in the corner: “The End.”

 
COMMENTS

Was that Yeon-joo’s manhwa ending or the drama ending? Not that it really matters, since both are her story. Okay, so I’m happy for the characters and relieved that Kang Chul is alive, and I think Dad’s sacrifice makes sense in the context of the story without reaching for a deus ex machina solution in the final hour. So I’m okay with the resolution on that front, because I was worried that the magical tablet would fix everything with a wave and not make a lick of sense. But URGH, I have SO MANY QUESTIONS, and the finale didn’t even begin to address all the things I wanted it to. I feel like I set out on this journey on pins and needles waiting for the explanation of all the rules that govern this world and the final clever twist—the why of it all—but in the end, I was left wondering if the writer didn’t know either.

Does the manhwa world just keep going infinitely, with no ties to the outside world? What made it possible for the manhwa to be the bridge between the two universes in the first place, if Dad really didn’t create that world himself? What gave Dad’s tablet magical portal abilities? Why didn’t we ever really explore the fact that Yeon-joo created Kang Chul first? I wanted to believe that there was something different about Chul and his capacity to become self-aware because of her, but we never found out what made him different from all the other manhwa characters, and why he became self-aware in the first place. I just feel like all of the fundamental questions that were raised were never answered, and that means I’m ultimately dissatisfied, because I wanted closure, not just on the characters’ lives, but on this construct as a whole—two worlds bridged by a manhwa that somehow operates autonomously, according to rules that change at will.

Here’s what I don’t understand: Why on earth would W the manhwa end on a false version of the story, letting readers believe that Kang Chul is dead, when it’s really the villains who died? If a happy ending falls in the forest and no one’s around to see it, IS IT HAPPY? Dad rendering the villain useless and disappearing as a consequence makes sense—after all, he’s the one who created the one-dimensional villain whose sole purpose for existing was to kill Chul and his family, and his fate became inversely tied to Kang Chul’s the second he was sucked into the final episode. But there’s no logical reason why the manhwa would misrepresent events to the readers, and suddenly end the second the villains are rendered moot.

If Kang Chul were the hero of the story from beginning to end, it should’ve included his happy ending even after the villains died. It doesn’t sit right with me that the manhwa just stopped when the villains stopped breathing, because that’s not how endings go! If Kang Chul thinking that he wanted to stop being the hero of this manhwa was what launched them into the final episode in the first place, then it should’ve ended in the ambulance when he realized he was finally done. Or after prison, if it was suddenly so important for his character’s logic to serve his full two-year sentence (But really, why should that matter if he’s no longer the hero?). I just feel terrible for Crazy Dog and all the fans of the webtoon, who basically got cheated out of their satisfactory resolution.

It seemed like a trick for the sake of a twist to have Kang Chul die in the manhwa but not really die, and I would’ve been much happier if Yeon-joo had come up with a plan to get them out, even if it had failed in the end, requiring Dad’s sacrifice anyway. Living in the manhwa world forever didn’t seem like a solution at all, and Chul going in by himself to save Do-yoon was pretty much the stupidest thing he’s done all series long. I was disappointed that they didn’t outsmart the villians or the manhwa itself, because what I wanted for Kang Chul was to step outside of the construct entirely and manipulate his world. His self-awareness ended up being pretty limited, and I thought the finale felt tame because our hero and heroine were just reacting to events happening to them, instead of taking control of their own fate like I ultimately wanted.

That doesn’t mean I’m dissatisfied with the series as a whole, because I still got my happy ending and Kang Chul gets to live in Yeon-joo’s world without having to be a hero anymore, and he didn’t die, and she didn’t have to meet a doppelganger Kang Chul 3.0 (this was my biggest fear, because I was scared he’d be based on a real person). For me the happy ending is that Kang Chul becomes fully human with complete free will, and the fact that he becomes a real boy is enough to make me not hate the ending. I just wish we had gone beyond Chul and Yeon-joo’s happy ending, because I think there’s an entirely separate happy ending for the audience, the one where we get all our burning questions about the mythology answered, and not get left entirely by the wayside.

It’s too bad that the show used up all of the truly amazing mind-blowing twists so early on in the series, because it made the second half feel rather slow and predictable in comparison, only because it started out with such a bang. I was still very much engaged in the characters’ journey through the end, but there was a definitely slowdown in pace and loosening of tension that happened when they reset Kang Chul’s world and wiped his memory. I liked Kang Chul 2.0 and enjoyed the twist on the amnesia trope and the more grounded relationship that came out of it. But there was inarguably a zippy, raw energy to the first timeline that couldn’t be replicated, and I think that was a flaw in how the story was told in the second half. And if there were one magic wand to wave at the end, I would’ve liked for him to remember both timelines in the final moments, even if that goes against the whole not-amnesia twist.

But I’m still walking away from this drama impressed with writer Song Jae-jung’s ability to create such a pulse-pounding, intricate supernatural story, even though if you look at her past works—Nine and Queen Inhyun’s Man in particular—it’s not much of a surprise. She bends time, space, reality, and our hearts on a regular basis, and though I have plenty of gripes about her raising all of these questions and leaving them unanswered, I’m still unabashedly a fan. I was actually more surprised by PD Jung Dae-yoon, who had done light rom-com She Was Pretty before this; but he turned out a visually expressive take on two worlds, and melded together the beautiful two-dimensional art with live-action in a really stylish way, which was crucial to making this crazy premise believable, and the transition between the worlds seamless. Everything from the music to the CG effects was in service of telling the story first and foremost, and the director impressed me with his flair for suspense.

As for the cast, in many ways it was the Lee Jong-seok show—and for good reason, because he was really so good, better than he’s ever been before—but I think Dad kind of stole his thunder in the final stretch, with his crazy killer mind-meld multiple personality thing. I do think that the horror-suspense really hinged on Kim Eui-sung’s acting, and he was so good that it gave me nightmares and made me question his sanity, and then the next day he’d make me sympathetic to Dad’s plight all over again. And I’d only started to like Han Hyo-joo with her more recent films, but I loved her as Yeon-joo. She was a little screwball, but that just made me laugh more, and I found her warm and relatable, which is pretty crucial in a story where the hero and Dad are intentionally very un-relatable. I felt her angst whenever she was separated from Kang Chul, and in the final episode I really believed she might die of heartsickness if Chul hadn’t shown up in time. Her noona-dongseng relationship with scene-stealer Lee Shi-un was especially endearing, probably in large part because Su-bong was the funniest supporting character I’ve come across in a long time. I will wait patiently for his spinoff until the end of days.

What drew me to W was the freshness of its sci-fi, manhwa, meta-dramaland premise. I loved that we couldn’t anticipate where the story would go, and that it would cleverly turn a standard narrative trope on its head, making the usual drama trademark move a handy tool for the heroine to use in the manhwa world. Kisses as weapons, and cliffhangers as escape routes; I never grew tired of the ways narrative tropes could be used to rewrite the story from within. As a drama fan, it was the ultimate validation—this is the language we speak, and the heroine was one of us, perceiving the world of the manhwa the way we perceive dramas.

At its strongest, W was dizzyingly fast-paced and addictive, and it made me sincerely ponder existential questions about free will and predetermination, and the role that fiction plays in our lives. It was thoughtful and engaging on so many meta levels, especially when the drama served as a cautionary tale about a careless writer who essentially created a monstrous villain out of weak characterization in service of plot. Dad was an avatar for all of the terrible writers out there who reach for the lazy tropes in the bag of tricks, from the truck of doom to the faceless villain with poor character motivation, to the female character who only serves to pine after the hero without an identity of her own (I liked the point that was being made about poorly written female characters with So-hee’s arc). And the moment you don’t treat a fictional character like a real person with dreams and hopes, a name, or a face… well, we’ve seen what happens then.

And I’m glad that Dad’s role as the creator of this manhwa was touched upon again at the end, because the framework of Dad’s story is the thing I found most chilling about this drama. I always felt that the underlying genre of this story was horror, not because it was scary at times, but because of the themes—W was like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, and Dad’s story was classic horror tragedy in almost every regard, and I loved that aspect of the story. There’s something truly horrific about your mistakes coming to life, and your fiction trapping you in the rules you created. I don’t know think that the writer did a satisfactory job of explaining Dad’s supernatural controlled-via-tablet, sharing-a-brain relationship with No-Face, but I do find his end poetic and tragically karmic. It fits his genre, and his tragic character’s self-fulfilling prophecy. Ironic, in a story all about characters breaking free of their predetermined paths.

The thing I loved most about Kang Chul’s journey to free will is the idea of self-awareness breaking you out of a world. On a literal sci-fi level it’s the Matrix, or the manhwa world, but it can also be any construct that defines a person. The fact that Kang Chul’s greatest weapon is choice—choosing to step outside of his predetermined destiny, rewriting his own story with the power of that choice—it’s an ideal and a philosophy that moves me, because I believe that life is a series of choices and we define our own fate by the choices we make. A hero’s journey to gain the fundamental right to determine the course of his own life, live or die, is a story worth telling. Do I think this epilogue needed an epilogue? Yes, maybe two—one for all the ‘xplaining the writer’s got left to do, and one for all the cuddles I was cheated out of. I guess I’ll just have to imagine how the rest of the story goes, since apparently fiction has a mind of its own and decides it’s the end whenever it damn well pleases.

 
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GF, I couldn't have agreed more with your comments, I believe it was fate that you should be recapping this series. Just, everything you've said. In terms of explaining all the whys and hows of W the manhwa world's formation, Kang-chul's self-awareness this series has completely failed. However, it has excelled in almost everything else that matters.

There are quite a few shows out there that are entertaining, even addictive, but very rarely does a drama pose a question that makes me pause and seriously ponder. In the case of W, it poses the *most* important question to mankind, of freewill, predetermined destiny, and purpose in/of life. Even for this alone, I would place W at a much higher place than about 99% of the shows out there.

Then there are these intriguing characters, who were all perfectly portrayed by the right actors. I may have issues with the plots that lead to the main trio's respective ending in this final episode, but I have ZERO complaint about the endings themselves. I cried so hard when Dad was saying his last words as he disappeared, and I smiled wistfully as Kang-chul and Yeon-joo reunited, him not lying to her about Dad, and them being content with a boring, but precious 50-year long happy ending that is ahead of them.

The cinematography of this show is another thing that I just love, love, love. I know some find the directing a bit lacking when it comes to certain scenes involving characters being in a highly emotional state, and I don't disagree but... this director has done such an excellent job at creating this eerily beautiful, mysterious, atmospheric, and at-times scary fantasy world that is so believable to me... that I simply do not have the heart to criticize his relatively minor faults. Plus, all of the truly vital emotional scenes were well done anyway.

I love how all of the main 'relationships' in this show were truly genuine and realistic. I truly feel that Kim Eui-sung and Han Hyo-joo were dad and daughter, that Su-bong is the loyal little brother of noona Yeon-joo (even though in real life they are oppa and little sister, heh), and that Dad was truly seeing Kang-chul as his son-in-law in the final episode.

And lastly, Professor Mad Dog, you made me laugh out loud even when I still had tears from the previous sad scene on my face. You are absolutely my favorite side character ever, and your existence alone is enough for me to faithfully fangirl writer Song Jae-jung. No, seriously.

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So true.
I would still love for Yeon Joo to save the day. Hell, I was counting on it.

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Miss Fisher fan?!

I agree was waiting for YJ to save the day.

But I guess the webtoon is still Dad's and he has to bring it to a fitting conclusion. The Dad and his relationship with his daughter is at the heart of it. Though I thought the cast did well I don't think W is a vehicle to display acting chops because the script and concepts are the real stars of this show. But Kim Eui-sung was the actor called on to do the most and he delivered.

And of course there was Soo-bong whose electric blue trainers I covet.

This is going to be the first serial I am going to rewatch as I feel the writer had a lot to say and it was a bit lost in the fast paced plot.

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No wonder lee jong suk said that W should have ended with sad ending. That story arc is the most reasonable. Yet the writer chose to end this with happy ending. I guess to avoid hate from the fans lol

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people still angry that they decide to kill her dad too...so which ending that people want actually?

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if the choice is between KC and dad... sorry, dad, you're out.

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Dad turned into Noface, enough sad.

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Once upon a time, this drama made me really crazy...

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Having watched the writer's previous 2 dramas about time travel, I worried that we wouldn't have a satisfactory ending for W. Turns out all 3 dramas started out so well but fell at the very last episode...

Sad to say, but W is my least favourite out of the 3. Loved Queen In Hyun's Man's love story with the time travel element being easy enough to understand that even my mum loved it. Nine was much more complexed with the time travel, but it was still a solid story that made sense to the bitter sweet end.

With W I just felt the writer was trying to be too clever, at the cost of telling a coherent story. Too many twists and changing of rules all the time made me doubt I was in safe hands... and then it just ended. Happy ending, yes. One that made sense, no.

I still enjoyed it, first half more so than the second, but towards the end I just wanted to be finished with it all. Still a fan of the writer and I'll be tuning in for her next project for sure. Just hope she can deliver a better ending next time...

Looking forward to some Seo In Guk next week!

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I'd say I was satisfied but underwhelmed, about W's finale. Just like everyone else I had so many questions about the two worlds that were unfortunately left unanswered and some little details that my OC self can't help but noticed. Like if Yeon-joo and Dad came from the same location (the motel) how come they were at opposite sides of the road when they arrived at their destination (bus stop where Kang-chul is)? Maybe Dad took a shortcut? He was certainly there in a jiffy, arriving almost at the same time as YJ (and this is after having to negotiate with Do-yoon first about untying him, drawing Assemblyman Han's suicide, writing a letter for KC etc.)

For me, Dad was the star of the finale. That scene where he was saying goodbye to YJ from afar made me tear up, it was so heartbreaking. He was Dad, the manhwa creator, the villain and in the end, the unsung hero who made everyone else's happy ending possible.

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I thought my heart would hurt but my head hurt more.

Honestly I'm more relief that it is over. No more further unsolved equation and If I ever look back, I will remember only that I did enjoy the ride.

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I like to believe that the end was all an elaborate plan by Oh Yeon-soo to get KC out of the manhwa to the real world. The hero having a sad ending is the only way for him to escape the manhwa; it no longer revolves around his character. It was iffy that he had asked KC to decide about the ending, but in the end he realised that that was unrealistic for the character so he did the only sensible thing possible and ended his life in the cartoon, his creation that brought him the joy in his miserable drunk life. OHS was doomed from the start and especially after he got possessed by Noface's murderess personality, that self sacrifice makes sense. No room for variables or some butterfly effect.

I wish they had squeezed in more time to explain in a bit more detail how it went down, whether in OHS' head or KC's. The least that could've done is have OHS do the voice over and go over the happy ending he created for Yeon Joo and Kang Chul. Maybe shed a little light on that in the Special.

Despite the lacking ending, I love this drama so much, it's originality is really refreshing. It was a real rollercoaster ride; it had sky highs and lows and that makes it perfect.

Thanks for the excellent recaps @Girlfriday.

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I can't wait to marathon this show again after a year or two when I don't have to think or remember the hundreds of comments that made me aware of the flaws. Maybe by that time, I can just stay up for two days straight laughing and crying for Dad and Subong and Yeon-joo and Kang Chul. :D

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right :)

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I was hoping they would show yeonjoo and kang chul would completing more couple stuff she bookmarked from the picture book... heh

But i still don't really understand why dad would disappear...?

And yess why the president villian's death cannot be shown in the manhwa?

And why the time when kang chul drowned the whole manhwa paused but this time it didn't??

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I'm not sure if anyone else mentioned this, but I just spotted a flaw in the editing during the scene where Kang Chul says 'I love you' to OYJ.
KC, OYJ and dad were riding in the car together, yet when the camera cuts to the front (showing KC's face) Dad is longer there, only OYJ in the backseat. Dad disappears and reappears a few times during that 20 second car ride scene XD
Am I the only one who thought that was hilarious?!!

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Same here! And I actually did something stupid while looking for dad- I bent to the sides to search for him, as if I would be able to see better that way. But I blame it on fast subbing of the show which made me stay awake instead of watching it in the morning fully awake!

But I guess this editing mistake could actually be chalked up to camera angles, rather than editing.

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I was also maneuvering my head to see dad, thought while KC declares his love for Yeon-joo dad disappeers again. But yeah, either an editing flaw of just the angle. He was sitting low in the backseat after all.

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or he was now completely transparent and it happened he left them alone for the declaration, lol.

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I thought it may have been the camera angle as well, but the very first shot of the three in the car shows dad slightly on top of OYJ. But when there's close ups of her, you can't see any part of dad at all - and he was wearing white! Quite a noticible colour amongst he dark background.

But yeah, that leaning sideways thing I do too often, especially when I'm playing games on my phone.

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Thank you, Girlfriday, for one of the best commentaries I've seen on a final show. You expressed exactly the same frustrations I had, as well as applauded some of the better aspects of this drama.

Someone in the last ep's thread said they were still hoping for a happy ending; I said I was much more hoping for a satisfying one that answered the many questions I had about how the world operated. Weirdly, I don't feel I got either. Yes, the couple is together, but on the backs of a dad who didn't really do anything to deserve to die. How is that a happy ending? It's not even a tragic ending - it's a senseless one. And Girlfriday described to a tee why it was a deeply unsatisfying one too.

I'm not sure but I think the writer was making it up as he/she went along, and I became very fearful that was the case when the reset happened. But tried to have faith because by that time the romance was flat for me, and I had invested too many hours into figuring out what was going on. Not ONE primary question was answered.

Beautiful production, exciting action sequences, ultimately "a lot of sound and fury" that ended not with a bang but a whimper.

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+1

Excellent commentaries, Girl Friday! Thank you. The show fizzled for me, but reading your end post gives me a feeling of satisfaction.

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Hello beanies,
let me thank you for the first all-inclusive obsession ride.
This is the first time I've been this invested in a show,when I got to the point of first watching unsubbed version, reading GFs recap then rewatching subbed version and rereading recap with comments. I swear I've never spent so much time procrastinating so guiltless.
Thumps up to all beanies for their thoughs, suggestions and conspiracies cause it was so worth reading it all. So many So Bongs and Crazy Sogs here. I'm so grateful to be able to share your angst and hopes since MidEurope just found kdramas. It was great. Thank you Celine, Cipher, Deathbychocolate, Mary, Michykdrama, Sancheezy, Yoyo and many others. GF, I love your recaps, keep it up.
It might not have been all it could in the end and I should be disappointed. I know but I don't feel it. I might need a few hours to process and get out of the cloud of dumb. Damn, they are together! I might become Crazy Dog soon but right now it's all shushed by Subonga.

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After watching Queen Inhyun's Man, Nine and this, I guess I must resign myself to the idea that this writer will always go for an unsatisfying ending compared to the rest of the plot.

I didn't mind the writer skipping how and why the travel dynamic worked in Queen and Nine since there's an actual mystical item involved. The travel dynamic in W seems arbitrary and contrived. No magic tablet, no magic words, just "The Power of LOVE" or "The Power of Missing my Partner". Since it's so random, anything goes, which also means there are no stakes and I could care less.

The point of a mystery is to watch things unravel and get revealed bit by bit. But when it's just there to be the Interesting Plot Device for an otherwise generic romance story....

I don't get the draw of the hyper emotional female lead. Why can't she let the fictional character live out his storyline, die, do whatever fictional characters do? Like, why can't she think and behave like a normal rational human being? Letting the manhwa world die after it started arbitrarily teleporting real world people into it sounds like the most logical thing to do at the time. But no, she had to go find him in the water, save him and continue the hell her Dad finally managed to get out of. Why? Because FEELINGS.

Dad dying in the manhwa feels like one of the worst case scenarios. Him trying to kill Kang Chul was just a scared man trying his best to deal with a fantastical situation he has no control over. Yet the writer paints him into some sort of villain. Like killing your characters in your own fictional work was such an outrageous act of evil.

It felt like I was intruding into a crazy fangirl's wet dream, with logic flying out the window.

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I have to disagree with you about Dad. It seems more like the writer intended for dad to sacrifice his life as the ultimate fatherly love for his daughter's happiness. It's one of the best in this kind, most of the time these noble suicides are written badly and one dimensional. The way his character changed gradually through the course of the drama, was all a buildup to his death.

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I liked d ending and I liked the show too.for me d drama was about kang chul getting his much deserved happiness & not just a love story, it is definitely not 'love conquers all' type of feelings I got from dis drama.I agree that d story got a bit boring in d middle but at d end of d day it is a writer's drama not mine & the writer is not stupid the story might have clicked with her, too bad it didn't work out for every viewer.

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It means writer -nim keeps improving in creating story, compare W to the previous writings. Hope the next one would be even better and better.. and I'm waiting ... fighting!

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I hope the special episode tonight will be subbed as well. Hope it's not just about characterization and best moments.

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I want a sequel whereby Chul and Yeon-joo get sucked back into the manhwa world for some reason (maybe someone found the tablet and gained self-awareness and is now using that knowledge to create havoc on the real world). Then when they re-gain the tablet, they can draw Dad and tie up all the loose ends and maybe answer some questions for us.

The fact that the tablet disappeared (and I'm assuming went back to the manhwa world where it was created) gives a pretty good premise for a sequel to be written.

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That may also explain how Yeon-joo got her ring back. Kang Chul got hold of the ring when it disappeared from her finger and he's been keeping it ever since until he got a chance to put it back on for her.

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What a ride!!! Scary daddy did a good thing finally. But I don't think I ever want to see him again. brrrrrrr.

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All we need is an epilogue that explain things .....am I too dumb to understand the present ending ? yeah I think I am.

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On whatever levels the drama succeeded, on whatever stories were created and worlds devised, the overriding need for sense and sensibility killed this drama for me.

If you want to play with time and space in the name of exploration and art, fine, but without sense and sensibility, not on our dime.

And yes it is our dime, because if nobody watches, there is no drama.

LJS might be easy to watch and flexible enough to accept whatever of the wall ideas are thrown his way, but he is a mediocre actor. The OTP chemistry was nonexistent.

In the end, I wanted Kang Chul to die and everybody else to survive. I had only passing care whether the main characters made it.

And last point -

The prosecutor's henchmen are what, merely enablers with no free will or independent thoughts at all? Not even a passing thought toward abiding the law? Frustrating.

Note to self - kdrama writers do not respect anyone wearing suit - mindless evildoers who neither warrant respect nor punishment. Prejudice, in all its forms, is wearisome.

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People & their expectations, what can you do about them? Though I feel this was a subdued ending, I dont want to shit on this show as has been the trend recently. It invented and kept to its rules for the most part. The only major flaw for me was the writer favoring twists upon twists over honest character bonding. Even in the final episode, with so much emphasis on their happy ending, KC & YJ are reunited for just 5 mins at the end. Majority was based on the fakeout sad ending and its reversal, though I never really felt that KC would be dead.

While its remarkable of how many twists she can think of, added up, it feels like an entirely long 16 hr thriller/mystery. And its not a question of viewer intelligence, even our body receptors get tired out when overstimulated. There needs to be a refractory period where the story is allowed to breathe. Seems the writer acknowledges the pacing problems.

But I STILL really appreciate the show overall. Funny how those Q's GF asked I had posted long back in a recap, but thought it would delve too deep for the show to answer that. Loved the side characters, discovered dad's actor, loved the bgm, re-discovered my love for LJS after IHYV (god, he is such a gentle actor). It was a wild ride.

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In some ways I'm really satisfied and in some ways not. I think it partly depends on who you view as the true main character of the drama. If you assume that the protagonist is the one who undergoes and/or causes the most lasting change, then the actual protagonist is clearly the dad. He is the one who ultimately solves the problem set up for him in the beginning--ie, how to handle his failures as a parent and a writer and how to make peace with himself and atone for the pain he has caused his creations. And with that outlook, it totally satisfies. Instead of just jumping off a roof, he does the dirty job his "righteous heroes" can't--ie, kills Han Cheol Ho point blank, finally working directly against the killer inside his head, knowing that act will eliminate himself in the process. From failing his daughter and wanting to kill his main character, he sacrifices all for the sake of their happiness.

However, we actually spent most of the drama feeling like Kang Chul and Yeon Joo were co-main characters. And...they didn't do anything at the end. Of course neither of them could kill the dad. But I was hoping that there would be other clever things they could do so that they could have a victory of their own, even while mourning dad's sacrifice. So that's where I felt a little let down. (Still, at this point, what more could they give? How many times have they died already??) I felt like they each had their very strong moments of overcoming their personal hangups and really protagging earlier in the drama. I really loved ep 10-11 for Yeon Joo--art girl to the rescue! And I loved in 12 where KC has really come to grips with his manhwa existence and does all the things a hero should to wrap up the killer (and charm his wife). But...then there were four more episodes.

Things I loved: the mom, quiet though she is, seems to have grasped the real situation a lot more than fanboy Dr. Park. As in, she knows the last place YJ saw KC was at a bus stop, and the only way to know that was if she read the comic. She's totally unsuprised at this "boyfriend" showing up out of nowhere, and had no questions about his real business card. Since they no longer have dad, I'm glad mom is in the know. (So, better than YJ imagined things would go with her accepting KC.)

I loved that KC finally told YJ that he loved her, but man, when the dad says his sarangheyo as he's watching her, that SLAYED me.

I do love the subtext of writer Song that marriage is a real thing that lasts beyond worlds and dreams and even death. I personally hate when romantic tension depends on dumb love triangles. Here, no fake confusion required for tension. Loved the theme that love is really found in small things.

I also loved the final BTS. Sometimes I think there is more chemistry in BTS scenes than in the movie scenes. I was touched that HHJ was so sad to leave her character.

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This show is not as intelligent and intriguing as it wanted to be.

People were thinking so hard to understand the plot, cracking their brains to build up a theory... while I'm pretty sure that not even the writer knew what she's writing about. I got an impression that she just picked anything popped up in her mind whenever she needed a plot device and came up with explanation later. I think she ended up being not so confident with her own story. That's why in almost every episode we got at least one of the drama character explaining the plot... as if she's afraid that we wouldn't understand without it. It kinda reminds me of people who got busted doing something wrong or embarrassing and end up over explaining things because they're nervous.

I love LJS, but for the first time ever... he failed to make me care about his character. I don't think it's his fault though. Kang Chul was felt so bland. I failed to connect with him at emotional level. Even his confession to Yeon Joo was not believable to me.

The only ones I care about in this show are Su Bong and Crazy Dog. I sticked to this show till the end because of them. Lol. Su Bong is my precious and Crazy Dog is so story of my life.

Anyway thank you for the ride, show. You're actually pretty much enjoyable to watch as long as I can turn off my brain.

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Personally, I was very happy with the finale. Yeon-joo's dad sacrificing himself was one of the few twists that I saw coming a mile away, but it still affected me emotionally. There's a whole subtext there regarding fathers letting go of their daughters that rings true to me, as I have two daughters in their mid-twenties and have watched my husband struggle through this.

So, here's to Kang Chul, a cross between QIHM's Kim Boong-do...and Buckaroo Banzai. And Oh Yeon-joo, a far more proactive and involved heroine than those in the writer's earlier works.

Like a number of others, I missed the giddiness of the first episodes, but upon reflection, I can kind of understand the transition, not only as regards to the plot overall, but specifically regarding Yeon-joo's and Kang Chul's relationship. It's very common with Asian dramas (definitely TW and some Chinese as well as Korean) to show romantic relationships, as they grow and become deeper, to reduce the feeling of "giddy romance"/sparks and have more of a familial feel. Time after time I have waite4d for big romantic moments towards the end of a show and been let down, even though the couple is clearly happy together. This is so prevalent that I believe it must be culturally influenced.

On another note: Nine was optioned for an American TV series, but was apparently dropped in development. W would be an excellent concept for an American TV series. The plot could be expanded and extended, and easily run a few seasons (as long as they don't pull a Sleepy Hollow). While Americans don't hold the same enthusiasm for the comic book format that Asians do, we are definitely familiar with comics and their impact on other media and culture. If some American network or streaming service doesn't option and produce this story, it's their (and our) loss.

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this drama suffered the most from lack of airtime imo..there was too much story to tell in 16 eps. even the writer admit that she miscalculated the length of script vs drama airtime. seems like a lot got cut out of the original story. there are some loose points that i feel like the writer wanted to build a thread on (river corpse, anyone?) but ditched last minute because of timing issues. i would love to see the full story that the writer originally intended. and then there was the problem with the olympics and she had to readjust the pacing *again* for the even/odd eps

if only it was extended to 20 eps then we might get the story, characters and relationships fleshed out more but alas.. it was not to be lol
as someone commented before, this show is just too lean and mean

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Sigh, I still wish this was broadcasted by tvn
- no Olympics preemption
- high ratings = a much needed extension in this case
OR
- at least longer episodes to fit in more stuff since cable isn't bound to the 1h broadcasting time (Reply1988 anyone? ?)

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I disagree that W is an excellent concept. People disappearing into books or comics, switching worlds, is something that has been done again and again. That's the core of W's plot and it doesn't go much further than people trying to deal with it, rather than figure out what is going on. There is so much fantastic science fiction out there that could be adapted for television. W doesn't even begin to compare.

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I am so sad this show ended - I loved the ending as well. In the comments, a lot of people seem upset that the show left a lot of questions unanswered - I actually like that. More than the love, death and life situations, I feel like W was more of a social commentary on writing a good story, drama, or film. In the beginning, Dad's plot was already a little wacky with plot holes and cliches here and there - to have all our questions answered would contradict the fact that even the writer(dad) had no idea what was happening. Sometimes a story takes a life of its own.

In this episode when the audience had believed the ending of W and just accepted it-it reminded of real life story which we, as the audience have to accept the ending no matter what. I like that it was a bitter sweet ending-the writer being sucked away into his work and the characters he created living on in other people's lives and imaginations.

W will always hold a special place in my heart - thank writer-nim for such an incredible work

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I have a similar take so I can't often connect with many of the comments. I think a lot of folk are primed for usual drama fare (so the comments on the romance not feeling real) or were expecting a mind blowing twist (like the real world being manhwa) or a coherent fantasy (hence the picking apart the plot holes). W fits neither of these genres though it has elements of all.

The social commentary needed more fleshing out imo but the writer did a pretty good job of getting more than a few points across in 16 eps. For me what the writer did was the most interesting part of W.

I watch very few dramas, W and Dear My Friends were the only two I completed this year because I found the ideas embedded in both compelling.

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Satisfied with the drama's ending but not the manhwa's. Why the manhwa ends like that? It makes me think it's for the sake of plot twist. And the final episode could have been better if it explains more, but it didn't. *sigh*

Idk. Maybe I just hoped the finale would do magic on me again like the show did in the first half.

"Let it go~ Let it go~"

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Anyone else is as worried as me about how time seems to move much faster in the manhwa world???

KC seemed really delighted that he is three years older than YJ at the end but all I can think of is he'll age much faster if this carries on, and in no time they'll be years apart (I'm assuming he'll need to travel back and forth of course).

Not a happy ending in making at all :(

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I think this entire series is a huge meta comment on writing; on being consumed by your work; the importance of plotting; and more. It basically shades a lot of the problems lesser creative works have, even up to the ending suddenly having a too-neat bow on it.

One of the biggest pearls hidden within the show was how multiple characters in W said that things happened that never really made sense to them, but when they realized it was a story being written and the drama was being forced at points, then it made sense.

Isn't that how many of us feel about the show W itself? It's the same thing. The writer made things happen at points to elicit certain emotions and create the world and story she wanted to tell. (And really I think it's better to leave things mysteriously unexplained rather than contrive a weak explanation; c.f., midichlorians.)

Overall I'm very pleased with the series. I would just have liked the pacing to stay as sharp as it was in the first 6 episodes. But those were probably the episodes filmed before airing started...

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I'm kind sad the female lead all cared for Chul and to have their happy ending, her dad, who was real, not a character from a manhwa, had to die.

For most daughters be happy would be impossible, for YJ it is because all she cared was chul.

I kind disliked this thing about her.

Since when Chul almost killed her dad, she forgave him so fast, even if he had reason, still it was YOUR FATHER.

Sigh. I'm disappointed with YJ character. Couldn't be a good doctor, couldn't be a good daughter.

Also HHJ acting lacked a lot in emotional scenes. I felt nothing for her character and her so called love for Chul, couldn't buy it... even if they had so many kiss scenes, it felt flat and I couldn't feel anything.

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Bittersweet ending is all I can say...

I thought I'd be happy at the end of the drama, but I'm just....sad.

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Thank goodness for the recap because I gave up on watching W four episodes ago. I just. stopped. caring. *sigh*

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...and the saddest part for me was how crazy I was for this drama in the first four episodes. I think this is a classic case of over-writing - or over-painting a drawing when you know you should stop. The potential of this series was mind-blowing and I think (because the writer was writing and re-writing and filming as they went along) that she didn't have the creative ability to step back from her work and re-edit before it went to the publisher as a final manuscript. I agree with all of GF's comments - especially about making your own fate through daily choices (SO TRUE! THERE'S NO ONE ELSE PULLING YOUR STRINGS!!!) but I'm now relieved that I stopped watching early because the sloppiness of the loose story would have driven me crazy in a bad way. Thank you, Girlfriday, for your intelligence and dedication to your art. You are one writer who really and truly knows how to write, edit and create something that makes sense. Blowing you a kiss.***

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I guess there are a lot of questions but I don't care, they got a hhapy ending and I'm happy. A little bit sad because I won't have W anymore :(

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I think at least the writer did explain why in the manhwa world the show ended with Kang Chul dead. It's because the villains were killed by Dad who was supposed to kill Kang Chul which makes it a contradiction (as mentioned by Soo Bom) hence the scenes after were edited out.

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Honestly even though there were many plot holes and questions left unanswered, I actually kinda like it that way. It really reflects the unpredictable nature of creating something be it a drama or a webtoon. The way I interpreted it was that we are not meant to be just spoon-fed with a complete plot and all the answers. Sometimes we have to be creative on our own instead of limiting our brains to be so logical all the time. This drama was all about variables, and in a way these variables were dependent on the writer's creativity. It shows the unpredictable nature of the worlds that we personally create in our mind, on paper or on screen and reflects all the possibilities that come with it. I know that we don't want to think when we watch stuff but that's the reason why I watch stuff like Cinderella...hehehe.

As for the ending, call me sad but I feel like the drama needed to end with unsatisfied feelings because that is what this drama was about. There was a 'happy ending' but it wasn't Yeon Joo's ideal happy ending (I mean she kinda lost her dad). The bittersweet ending shows how her happy ending came at a price. The fact that she was even able to meet Kang Chul was itself supernatural and so it would be strange if there were no consequences after 16 episodes of complicated plot.

I'm not saying that I wouldn't have liked more answers or a happier ending but I feel like in a strange way although my heart isn't satisfied I think the abstract side of my brain is. I know most people wouldn't agree with my ideas but I have a wacky brain.

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The last screencap of Crazy Dog is all I have to say about the ending.

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"Why on earth would W the manhwa end on a false version of the story, letting readers believe that Kang Chul is dead, when it’s really the villains who died? If a happy ending falls in the forest and no one’s around to see it, IS IT HAPPY?"

This might have been said before but I think it is to kill Kang-chul the manhwa protagonist because as long as he exists he has to act out his fate. By ending the manhwa falsely the readers get closure on the manhwa story (because it can only truly end with the death of a hero, otherwise KC is forced to continue as the hero in a sequel etc - though that may yet happen if there is a S2). This frees KC to live an ordinary life like any other person, as alluded to in the end. That is he steps out of the story and its rigid imposition of rules for a hero and becomes everyman, the reader of the manhwa so to speak with an everyday love that can continue and is not imperilled.

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Plus the series as a whole plays with the question what exactly is a happy ending? It often subverts it and the ending is no different.

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Hello all!
I have only just discovered Korean Dramas within the past month and boy am I hooked! I am totally, unbelievably obsessed! I stumbled across DramaBeans and have so enjoyed the recaps, comments, and thoughtful analysis of these great dramas.
I have to say I agree with everything "girlfriday" wrote about "W" 's final episode. I adored this drama throughout. It was clever and intense with a fantastic cast! I started watching mainly because I fell in love with Lee Jong Suk in "Pinocchio", and boy did I fall even harder for Kang Chul! I really enjoyed the show, but I have to admit though I was so happy Chul came out of the webtoon and is able to be with Yeon-Joo... I did feel some unresolved frustration over unanswered questions. All the ones "girlfriday" wrote were things I had been ruminating over throughout the drama. That said, I am so glad the main couple got a happy ending and I look forward to watching this show again.
The community here at DramaBeans is really awesome and I look forward to many more fangirling discussions!
Have a blessed day all!

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So glad the lead couple got their happy ending. I became a fan of Han Hyo Joo since Dong Yi, and became interested in W Two Worlds because of her. I liked the drama as a whole, although I do wish some of the plot holes were explained more fully by the end. I thought the leads had pretty good chemistry, and both did well with their parts. I liked how they portrayed their characters with almost cartoonish expressions, in parts, in line with how this drama is half reality, half cartoon. The dad/villain actor was easily the best actor in this drama. He did a great job, and should win an award for his portrayal in this. The best thing about this drama was the cinematography. It was visually stunning, with the colors, lighting, etc.

I've never watched a drama that's currently airing. Usually, I see them after they've been dubbed, and that usually takes at least a year after production. Soon as I found out about HHY in W, I watched them, in Korean, with English subtitles, right away. Marathoned all available episodes (up to episode 9 at the time), and waited anxiously for each new episode.

I loved W. Became addicted. Will now anxiously wait for it to get dubbed, so that I can watch it again, probably with English subtitles again though. I thought Han Hyo Joo did a good job, so I don't get the negative comments. While waiting for each episode of W, I've watched many of her films too, and she did a good job in those as well. HHY's a good actor that's believable, easily to relate to, likable, and rootable. She's also really pretty, and yet seems to have a good, fun, kind personality, as evidenced by Running Man and 2 Days & 1 Night. I hope to see her in more projects, hopefully more dramas.

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I'm so happy that Subong is safe! ^___^

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Me too. But I wanted to see more of him. :(

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:)

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So the two worlds is the drama and the manhwa. Both are not real and yet they are since it lives its own life.
This made me feel like Inception.
I'll just focus on my own life. Thank you. So I don't go crazy like the author Yeon Joo's dad.

Thank you universe. LOL

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Thanks GF for a masterful review.

It was such a great show but lost it's bearings when it went in for more twists without being clear about the rules and reasons. I do feel that the author was just enabling all kinds of things to happen without bothering about the rules at all.

An observation... was it not ironic that 3-D dad who created a 2-D world, sent his farewell to his 3-D daughter as a 2-D photo. How sad and poignant.

Thanks to the show and all the production team for giving us some riveting times! :)

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Such a fabulous recap of the finale and series GF!!!

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I was still quite disappointed by the ending and it had little to do with her father dying. I feel like there was so much that could be explored but wasn't.

Plus, I still love Kang Cheol 1.0 better then this Kang Cheol. He seemed more awesome and I loved his playfulness with her, this Kang Cheol wasn't really all that playful and he seemed to lack where Kang Cheol 1.0 had excelled. I actually wanted a Kang Cheol 3.0, one that was Kang Cheol 1.0 and 2.0 together. One that remebered all that Kang Cheol 1.0 and 2.0 did and was smarter than both and more playful.

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THAT's IT?!? But... How... Why... Is there... AARGH!!! @!#$*@

I've watched all the dramas this writer has written and I've always loved the way I'm pulled in and whirled around in her twisty, mind-boggling worlds. At the same time, it's such a crying shame that the way she ends her stories always leave me sad and robbed (Yes, I'm looking at you,"Nine". Tell your cousin, "W", to stand with you at that corner and reflect.)

I thought QIHM's time-bending mobile phone call connecting across a multitude of lifetimes ago was downright crazy. But a webtoon faking it's own final ending?! WOW!! Really?! Can a manhwa create itself and wield it's own story wherever it pleases?! I'm not sure if the drama was too smart for me or thought me too dull to understand and as such, didn't bother explaining.

Coming into this drama, each episode had me poised to expect only for it to get better than best each time. So, I was sincerely hoping the final episode would leave me thoroughly and satisfyingly stupefied.

Unfortunately, it made me feel kinda' stupid for getting all wrapped up in this crazy and enchanting world that is "W". For all we know, the drama ended at episode 16 for us viewers but it's probably still going on in there.

And everyone in that drama is getting their own closure except US. Boo!

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What kind of an ending is that?!?!?! To me, it was not a happy one... or a sad one... just... blah.

Ok, so I'm going to re-imagine the ending this way: KC actually died and so did Dad. YJ was so sad at seeing how things had ended that she went back and drew an epilogue to actually give the story the happy ending she had so wanted. That's why, at the very end, "The End" chyron appears. It doesn't mean the end of the drama, but the actual ending of W the manhwa as redrawn by YJ.

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Thank you for this recap!!!

I am so sad that W has ended, but happy that Chul and Yeon Joo have their happy ending.

With that said, I completely agree with everything Girlfriday said in the recap, because while they had a happy ending, I still had questions left unanswered.

In some ways I feel the writer had too much plot twists and dug too deep to clear everything. While she did an AMAZING JOB keeping me on the edge of my seat every single time, I was somewhat disappointed at the execution.

The manhwa should have ended with Chul finally winning against the bad guys and like Girlfriday said, perhaps in the hospital car. I keep thinking that the manhwa could have ended multiple ways and Chul's death could have just been for viewers interest and not the "readers" in the webtoon. Therefore I felt truly bad for Crazy Dog.

Despite these loose endings, I was intrigued for 2 months and I enjoyed the drama (and our OTP) every step of the way and thank you to Sung Jae Jung for taking a risk and creating a story filled with laughter, heart, curiosity and mind-blowing twists.

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1) BUT HOW DID KANG CHUL GET BACK TO THE REAL WORLD?! like i dont get why he would have to spend 2 years in prison and then miraculously somehow get transported to the real world

2) How did Dad know Kang Chul was going to survive? It seemed like his goal was to get rid of all the villains so KC wouldnt disappear. But like if he knew where his daughter was going (ie, the bus stop to see KC), wouldnt he frigggen draw on the tablet and make KC survive FOR SURE?

THIS

"If a happy ending falls in the forest and no one’s around to see it, IS IT HAPPY?"

AND THIS

"But there was inarguably a zippy, raw energy to the first timeline that couldn’t be replicated, and I think that was a flaw in how the story was told in the second half. And if there were one magic wand to wave at the end, I would’ve liked for him to remember both timelines in the final moments, even if that goes against the whole not-amnesia twist."

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The dad exchanged his life for Chul's. So he literally became a cartoon character and thus gave his humanness to Chul. So I would assume (according to the manhwa logic) that once Chul's episode was over (as a visiting human), he would be ejected to the real world where he now belongs. Getting out of prison apparently satisfying enough for the manhwa (which seemed to have some degree of sentient control beyond any of its inhabitants or creators).

Er...that's my best guess, anyway!

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haha thanks for your thoughts :D

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the recaps, girlfriday! They were super-fast and exciting.

I enjoyed the series, I'm not bothered too much by logic issues. More than that I wanted to know what happened to the side characters at the end, especially Doyoon. Other than that, pretty good ending! Much better than a wormhole.

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Thanks for the recaps girlfriday!!

"If a happy ending falls in the forest and no one’s around to see it, IS IT HAPPY?" --> OMG this totally made me LOL and was my favouritest sentence.

But yes, the pace was amazing at the start and made my heart thump so much. Towards the end, I was hoping against hope that the writer would tie up all loose strings but in reality, what happened was I felt like suffered from whiplash. Like she suddenly braked and then turned the other way....
and i was a little sad, it could have been so much more.

Though if you ask me again, I would still be in for the ride. For all its cleverness. I'll miss you, Show....

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Watching W-two worlds was a great, mind-mending experience! This kdrama has been very unique compared to other dramas. I'm happy that OYJ and KC are together but sad that the dad had to sacrifice himself for them to have a happy ending. I felt the second half of the drama could have been written better and paced better too. It felt sluggish and not as mind-bending compared to the first half. I also wish the manhwa/2-world elements could have been explained better, and I felt that the romance wasn't as natural with KC 2.0 + OYJ. I felt like KC kept doing things for OYJ because he "read that his previous self did that in the manhwa." Also wished Su-Bong could have played a little hero at the end too. There was so much potential and material for the ending, but it didn't live up to it. Overall, this drama really messed with my mind and got my adrenaline going, so I'm really happy to have watched it! All the best to the actors + actresses in their next projects!

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also wanted to thank girlfriday for the great recaps + and everyone for great discussions! It has been a pleasure to always be refreshing on DB for the recaps after watching the episodes and reading everyone's thoughts. I'm going to miss doing that on Wednesday and Thursdays

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