[Alternate Endings] Untangling the snarled plot threads of W–Two Worlds
by Guest Beanie
In the beginning, W–Two Worlds had everything going for it: clever premise, solid leads, scorching chemistry, slick direction, emotional resonance, and a series of insane twists. Ah, yes. The twists. There’s the rub.
It’s not that I don’t like a good twist or two (or twelve). I actually appreciate when a writer creates an intricate tangle that only he or she can feasibly untie. I do mind, however, when the story gets so knotted that it resembles what happens when a child who doesn’t understand shoelaces manufactures a huge snarly ball and cinches it so tight you’d need an ice pick to pry it apart. By the end of W–Two Worlds, that’s how I felt about the plot. It had become the dramaworld version of a giant ratty sneaker-lace snarl that I wanted to attack with an ice pick.
Rather than leaving viewers with a bittersweet, carefully crafted conclusion, the dénouement instead left us feeling that not only could Yeon-joo never really be happy again, but that she was now stuck in a version of reality in which the great love of her life doesn’t even remember enough of their timeline to appreciate fully what she’s been through.
And let’s talk about the great love of Yeon-joo’s life, shall we?
While I freely admit that Kang Chul’s character is swoony in some of the best ways, the fact that he shot her father out of bitter vengeance was enough to curb my enthusiasm for his particular brand of swagger. That plot point proved a hurdle too high for me to get over—not that Yeon-joo seemed to find the leap too difficult.
But the moment Yeon-joo saw Kang Chul after saving him from drowning and the first words out of her mouth are not, “You shot my father!” I knew I was no longer onboard. At that point, the drama lost more than just my emotional trust. It also lost some of its tension.
Think what a wonderful conflict would have resulted if these two passionate characters spent the rest of the drama chasing down their archvillain, the black-hooded No Face (to be clear, I mean the first—and in my retelling, the only—version of this character) while also fighting conflicting feelings for one another.
Together, Yeon-joo and Kang Chul would save their two worlds while simultaneously butting philosophical heads and spitting bitter recriminations (“Who are you to decide my fate?” / ”Yeah, big shot? Well, who are you to shoot my father?”).
Meanwhile, their clear romantic attraction would crackle above it all, tugging them together even as they emotionally stiff-arm one another in desperate, misguided attempts to maintain emotional distance. Of course, it’s hard to maintain emotional distance when you’re working together to save the multiverse.
In that respect, I’d actually be fine with maintaining the couple’s short-lived “marriage” in the manhwa penthouse. Nothing sets a love-hate relationship popping quite like forced skinship to keep up appearances. Thus their fake marriage, rather than providing our main couple a haven of sweetness, would instead serve to box our couple into physical proximity when their mutual bitterness would otherwise have forced them apart.
In our new drama, Yeon-joo and Kang Chul become a reluctant, two-worlds, badass crimefighting duo whose sole purpose is to rid both worlds of No Face, the creepy, unpredictable walking identity crisis with a gun.
Fortunately, our star-crossed lovers are not alone in the fight. While staying physically rooted in the “real” world, Dad will assist in every way he can. Though he admits culpability in having created No Face, there’s still no love lost between him and Kang Chul—especially since, as you may remember, Kang Chul shot him.
Our plot now has a clear endgame, and our characters have discernable emotional arcs. Together, they will catch No Face while moving past their mutual bitterness. Kang Chul must forgive Yeon-joo for hijacking his autonomy, and Yeon-joo must forgive Kang Chul for shooting her father. Above all, Dad and Kang Chul must reconcile, and not just for the sake of the two worlds they’re trying to save. They must do so for their own sakes—as well as Yeon-joo’s! Thus our central trio progresses from a fractured trio with divided loyalties to a true team who will stop at nothing to protect both the multiverse and one another.
It’s my belief, however, that sacrifice—and only true sacrifice—would allow these characters to be redeemed. Not sacrifices that result in death, mind you. I want Yeon-joo to have a truly happy ending, and she can’t be truly happy if she loses either of these two. I’m talking about sacrifices that would betray Kang Chul’s willingness to die saving Dad… or vice versa. I’m not picky on the details, because no matter which direction the story takes, the result would be some pretty intense irony. Since both Dad and Kang Chul launched the drama by trying to kill one another, the idea that either would die for the other just twists the heart right up.
In whatever way this plot point shakes down, it must also serve to wrap up the internal manhwa storyline and thus give the comic’s readers closure—something our actual drama, as it was written, failed to do. (Does the manhwa world end? Does it go on happily without Kang Chul? We need to know!)
This alternate ending wouldn’t require a total rewrite. In fact, some of the drama’s most moving scenes would actually serve our purposes quite well.
Consider when Kang Chul gets shot in the alternate world, and Yeon-joo must save him and flee the manhwa. In our new version, when Yeon-joo kisses him to escape from the doorless hotel room, Kang Chul’s emotional shift would not be bewilderment over having been kissed by a stranger; instead, his bittersweet response to Yeon-joo’s kiss would serve as a clear sign that despite his bitterness over her interference with his suicide, he’s clearly emotionally moved by her.
And the fact that Yeon-joo knew her kiss would move him? That shows that she knows it, too.
Oh, you guys. What might have been. I’m getting shivers just thinking about it. But I like to think that somewhere in the multiverse, there’s a world in which that’s exactly what happened.
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