This review contains spoilers.
Of course you all know me as the Drama Queen aka DQ, but they also call me the jaded one (and by they I really mean me). I have watched my fair share of dramas starting with "Sandglass" and "Winter Sonata" (please don’t ask me how old I am), so ultimately I have reached a point in my jaded-drama-binge-watching life where pretty casts, idols and clichés aren’t enough.
Regardless of my opinion in this and any future reviews, I will always acknowledge the hard work of the cast, crew and the brilliantly creative minds that continue to bring us amazing dramas. Moving on...
My love affair with "W" started back in February when MBC announced they were looking for their cast. When I found out writer Song Jung-jae was behind it, I was immediately interested. Song Jung-jae penned hit dramas such as "Queen In Hyun’s Man" and my personal favourite "Nine". Song Jung-jae is a mastermind at pushing the bounds of reality by bending time and space. Although, sometimes her writing can leave you with some unanswered questions her overall work is too good to not watch.
"W" had a unique enough premise to catch my attention; a love story between Doctor Yeon-Joo who lives in the real world and Kang Chul who, wait for it, is a character in a Webtoon. BOOM! Hook, line and sinker – reel me in.
Han Hyo-Joo plays the leading lady Yeon-Joo which I felt was the perfect role for her return to the K-Drama scene after six years. We all know Hyo-Joo is a talented actress ("Beauty Inside", "Brilliant Legacy") and "W" really showcased her skills. She brought a lot of flare to her character and you know an actress is perfect when you can’t picture anyone else in her role.
Although we’ve seen more of Lee Jong-suk in the K-Drama scene, he was perfect as the coveted role of our hero. He was almost too perfect. Physically he represented Chul to a T but in some scenes I felt him a little too emotionless. Chul is a webtoon character so perhaps that was the writer’s intention but at times I found it difficult to empathise with him during the more sombre moments in the drama.
"W" gave us some memorable supporting characters and one very scary villain…or two. Comic reliever Soo Bong was a joy to watch. His loyalty to nuna Yeon-Joo is admirable and his reactions to meeting Chul in the real world left me smiling for days.
Let’s not forget the biggest W webtoon fan Dr Park aka Crazy Dog. I thought it was absolutely clever to have a character like Crazy Dog because ultimately he represented us – the viewers. Whenever something major happened in the Webtoon we were gifted with a reaction from Crazy Dog, which also reflected how we felt when the drama took a turn for the better or worse. It was almost comical watching Crazy Dog’s reactions because at times I felt like I was watching myself.
"W" also had not one villain but two and here is where I have an issue. I understand that in order for Chul to recognise a villain in the webtoon they needed a familiar face, but to borrow Sung-Moo (aka Yeon-Joo’s dad AND creator of W) felt a little lack lustre especially when they used his face twice. I will commend actor Kim Eui-Sung ("Train to Busan", "Six Flying Dragons") who played both roles as a father and villain superbly. Seriously, I had nightmares for days. I mean...
Perhaps we should have stuck to the original villain, that being Lawyer Chul-Ho. Then maybe Sung-Moo would still be with us and everyone could have lived happily ever after. I know, now I’m asking for too much.
I felt "W" lost its footing once they used the amnesia trope by re-writing Chul’s story in the webtoon. I did enjoy Kang Chul and Yeoo-Joo’s relationship the second time around but there was a certain spark missing that we had in the first half of the drama.
As entertaining as Sung-Jae’s writing can be, she does have a tendency to leave her viewers wanting more. After every episode I was left with questions that failed to be addressed thus creating a vicious cycle of unanswered questions. When the finale rolled around I thought for sure we’d get a little more insight into the magical tablet and the co-existence of two worlds.
Instead, I was left with the most frustrating unanswered question of them all; Will Soo-Bong ever get his money back from Chul? Ok but seriously, how is Chul existing in the real world? He essentially has no identification and it can’t be that easy to jump ship between webtoon and real world? Unless he’s in another Webtoon? Yeon-Joo’s webtoon? Arghhh so many questions.
If you can get past the mountain of unanswered questions, you’ll appreciate the impressive directing done brilliantly by Jung Dae-Yoon (She was Pretty). Everything from the music to the CG effects and camera angles make "W" a solid drama.
I wouldn’t rush to finish or start W but I’d still recommend binge-watching it if you have nothing else to do. If you were hooked at that start but eventually gave up on "W" then I'd recommend the K-Drama "Nine", it has the same qualities of bending time and space and is very well executed with outstanding acting.
In the meantime, I’ll be searching far and wide for a magical computer to type my fan-fic. One with enough sorcery for my leading hero (aka my one true love) to pull me into his fan-fic world and together we’ll live blissfully. Of course, only after I've been dramatically shot.
What are your thoughts of "W"? Were you happy with the ending?
DQ signing off,