The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Flash Review: W-Two Worlds


I’m thinking that we all have that one friend; you know, that one person that we know, who’s so unpredictable on a regular basis, that after a while, they become almost predictable in their unpredictability?

I mean, in the beginning, it’s all very surprising, and you find yourself rather stunned at said friend’s antics, and you sorta look forward to the kind of stuff said friend will get up to, coz it’s always something so unexpected and fresh. As time goes by, though, you can’t help but start to expect the unexpected from said friend, and it just becomes that much harder to feel surprised anymore. Said friend is still pretty much the same; just, you’ve gotten used to it, is all.

W is that friend, for me.


The cracky first half

It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that it was love at first episode for me, with W.

Right away, I found Show to be fresh, engaging, fast-paced, and really, really interesting. From the get-go, we’re thrown headlong into the manhwa world of W, so it sort of feels like we’re thrust into the thick of the action, and yet at the same time, setup is done really efficiently. I very quickly felt like I knew what I needed to know, in order to feel invested in these characters, and I wanted to know their story.

In a drama climate where I was feeling like I sorta-maybe-could-be in a drama rut with each show I was watching, this was nothing short of Amazing. This show made me want to watch back-to-back episodes, and I didn’t even get distracted by other things and pause in the middle of an episode. Each hour just zoomed right by, leaving me curious about what the next hour would bring.

I loved watching our heroine Yeon Joo (Han Hyo Joo) comically-frantically working to apply story and episodic logic to her situation, like understanding the workings of a time skip, or figuring out a way to end an episode of W. As a drama lover, I got a particular kick out of stuff like that.

More than that though, Show felt daring, which I really really loved. It went places that I didn’t expect it to go, and it made me think in the process, while entertaining and engaging me. I found the bold, decisive writing, and the excellent execution very impressive indeed.

The not-so-cracky second half

Sadly, the irony of being consistent, as it turns out, is that when you apply it to being surprising, it’s actually quite impossible to be consistently surprising. I mean, let’s think about that for a second; it’s against the nature of surprising to be consistent. Right? Right?? (That was a little bit deep, wasn’t it?)

And so it was, that at around episode 8, I realized that Show no longer had me breathlessly by the heart.

I was very aware that episode 8 was a very good, fast-paced episode where a lot of stuff happened. My brain registered that it was all very exciting and emotional, but somehow, I found that I was merely taking it all in, and registering story events as they happened, but no longer feeling torn upside-down and inside-out, with brain implosions on the side.

I.. even found it mildly predictable, in that as stuff happened, I found that everything fit easily and fully into this drama world’s logic system, and I could totally see why Show would go there, because it made sense to me. I guess I had gotten used to Show’s unpredictability, which is the thing that pretty much kills unpredictability.

To Show’s credit, I still felt some measure of pleasant surprise in the final few episodes, at the writing and handling, so Show never actually became boring.

On a tangent, I am beginning to suspect that when a show demands too much brain power from me, I find it harder to engage on a heart level with it. This is how I felt about writer-nim’s earlier work Nine, and a similar thing was going on for me, with this show.

I felt engaged with the characters, yes, but just not as much as I usually am, with my drama characters. I figure that perhaps because my brain was more actively engaged, that my heart-engagement felt less. I don’t know; maybe it’s just with this writer. I hafta say, though.. this has made me wonder if I’m quite possibly not so great at multitasking.


The execution of the two worlds

Apart from Show’s bold storytelling, my next favorite thing about W is the execution of the two worlds. Serious kudos to PD-nim for managing the relationship and transitions between the two worlds so skillfully.

First of all, I love that the manhwa versions of our characters – when we do see them as manhwa characters – are so much like their live-action counterparts. It’s just so cool to see manhwa Lee Jong Suk and manhwa everybody else, looking so convincingly like their source humans.

It’s even cooler to see the transition between the real world and the manhwa world, when they are juxtaposed like they are in the screenshot above. [SPOILER] The CGI around characters fading between real life to 2D manhwa drawings – like So Hee fading out and intermittently having parts of her body flickering into 2D manhwa drawings in episode 8 – is also very well done. [END SPOILER]

I also really liked the little details, like the W world changing in the moment, even as things got drawn in, in the real world.

The seamless, polished execution of the two worlds really made it much easier to buy into the fantastical setup as something real and believable.

Lee Shi Un as Soo Bong

Major, major shout-out to Lee Shi Un, for taking a supporting character and turbo-charging him to becoming arguably the cutest and most endearing thing about this show. That takes serious skillz, since Soo Bong is written primarily as a foil to our main characters, and is mostly more reactive than actually possessing a proper arc of his own.

Yet, Lee Shi Un delivers those reactions with such perfect comic timing, and with the most expressive elastic expressions, that I couldn’t help but love him and look forward to his scenes. Seriously, almost everything about Soo Bong is endearing, in a bumbling, earnest sort of way. [SPOILER] In particular, I loved his regular bouts of disbelief, horror and awe in trying to come to terms with Yeon Joo’s fantastical tales of her adventures in the world of W. And I loved-loved-loved his starry-eyed fanboying, when he finally came face to face with Kang Chul (Lee Jong Suk). Tee hee. [END SPOILER]

A cute OTP

Ordinarily, I feel a lot more engaged with a show’s OTP, and I have to admit that I felt a little, well, distant from this particular OTP.

I think one reason is what I mentioned earlier, about this show demanding so much of my brain’s engagement that my heart sort of checked out, a little bit. The other reason, is that Show was a little abrupt in the way our OTP fell in love, making it hard for me to buy into their romance and the depth of their love. It also doesn’t help that Kang Chul is shown to be mostly a mix of curiously amused and casually flippant when interacting with Yeon Joo.

That said, I did find the OTP cute when they were allowed to be together and in a romantic sort of narrative space. Yeon Joo is a likable, flaily scatterbrain, and I found it a nice contrast, to have our manhwa hero so perfect, while our real-world heroine is so imperfect. This did give us fun opportunities for Show to play off their differences.

Additionally, once I got over the necessary suspension of disbelief over the depth of their love, I found myself enjoying the easy couple chemistry between our OTP. Plus I do have affection for both Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo, so that helped as well.

Special Shout-out:

Kim Eui Sung as Dad

Big shout-out to Kim Eui Sung, who pretty much stole the show. From Dad’s wide-ranging moods, [SPOILER] to the eventual need to portray two characters [END SPOILER], Kim Eui Sung was always completely and utterly convincing, and when the need arose, thoroughly compelling as well. Mad props, seriously.


Changing, unexplained rules

In the beginning, I found it thrilling to piece together how the rules in this drama world were supposed to work. We’re never told how the rules work, but in watching our characters’ experiences and observing the consequences that occurred, it was actually a bit of an adventure working to fit the pieces together to figure out how everything was supposed to work.

The problem was, Show would sometimes actually change those rules along the way.

Sometimes the rule-changing made narrative sense, [SPOILER] like when Yeon Joo went from invincible to vulnerable in the world of W, once Kang Chul decided she was the key to his life [END SPOILER], but at other times, the rule-changing felt random, [SPOILER] like when Faceless Killer Guy suddenly became able to walk through random teleporting doorways in the world of W [END SPOILER].

The problem with the inclusion of the random rule changes was that it made me lose interest in figuring out the rules that did make sense. Like, if Show’s gonna play like that and just change things when it feels like it, why should I even bother trying to figure things out, right?

Logic slips & unanswered questions

Writer-nim clearly put a lot of thought into creating the world of W and into plotting many of the narrative milestones of our story, so big kudos to her there.

Occasionally, though, I noticed a logic slip or two, and at other times, stuff seemed to be glossed over in service of forwarding out story. The more this happened, the I more I felt that it took away from Show’s coolness factor.


The first logic slip I noticed was in episode 6, when Kang Chul is reported as a missing person in the real world. This didn’t make sense to me. How could they have reported Kang Chul as a missing person to the police, when Kang Chul had no identity in this world? You can’t just go to the police and say, I’m looking for someone, but I can’t tell you who he is?

Another logic slip – or at least, I felt it was a logic slip – was in episode 9, after the reset where Kang Chul wakes up from his coma and everything that had occurred prior was relegated to a coma dream. The fact that Kang Chul’s previously strong will to seek the truth seems to be gone post-coma didn’t make sense to me. His burning desire to find answers to all the suspicions and analysis that he’d had prior to his stabbing wouldn’t be simply eradicated by a dream. He had been a in coma, yes, but he doesn’t suffer amnesia post-coma, so this didn’t make sense to me either.

In terms of unanswered questions, I was most curious about the logic behind Faceless Killer Guy stealing Dad’s face. First of all, how the heck did Faceless Killer Guy even steal Dad’s face? Having him explain that he “ate him up” doesn’t count as an answer.

I was also really curious about why Dad then had to operate as Killer Guy’s zombie. Why didn’t Dad have free will anymore? And, how on earth did Faceless Dad manage to survive, not being able to eat or, y’know, breathe?

Another thing I was curious about was, why Killer Guy seemed unaffected by the reset, since he demonstrates that he knows what happened during that “dream” timeline.

There are lots more unanswered questions where those came from, but suffice to say, these unanswered questions started to bemuse me in increasing measure, the more they stacked up.


I.. honestly don’t know how to feel about the ending.

On the one hand, yay that it’s a happy ending for Kang Chul and Yeon Joo.

But, on the other hand, Dad had to disappear from existence – and die, basically – in order for this happy ending to be possible. I get that it’s supposed to be a loving fatherly sort of sacrifice, and that Dad felt too sinful to continue to live, and that it was his way of paying for his sins, but.. really? We – and Yeon Joo – are supposed to feel ok about his death? Talk about a high price to pay for your art.

Also, while the twist on the ending was rather interesting and quite useful for getting us the happy ending that this show needed, I felt like this dramaworld’s rules were blatantly ignored or changed in order for that to happen. What happened to the story of W following the main character’s arc? Shouldn’t the story have followed Kang Chul’s journey from the brink of death back to life, and not only the fact that the villains had died? That was weird.

On top of that, what happened to W ceasing to exist once the story is over? Earlier in the show, once Kang Chul gained awareness of the two worlds, everything had stopped in W. Shouldn’t that hold true as well, now that the story of W has ended?

What about rules like characters fading out of existence once they aren’t useful to the story? That just suddenly stopped being a Thing. Why? And of course, the biggest question of all, how the heck did Kang Chul cross over to the real world after it was all over, since his most recent efforts to summon himself to the real world hadn’t worked? Are we supposed to believe that now, after W has ended, he’s just able to summon himself again?

And then there’s that thing where all the W-originated items had disappeared from the real world after the final episode. So what’s this about Yeon Joo’s ring reappearing, now that Kang Chul’s in the real world? How does that work? Is it the same ring? Or had the ring disappeared to some kind of holding zone, only to be summoned again by Kang Chul?

Sigh. So many questions, and no real answers.

Because W is a show whose appeal (for me, anyway) was largely in its smarts and its ability to work around its dramaworld’s rules in twisty bendy ways while still staying true to those rules (or so I trusted – or at least hoped), this lack of answers in the finale was pretty disappointing, for me.

The lack of answers also undermines all the earlier philosophical questions Show seems to raise; questions like, “What does it mean to be human? Are we really the masters of our own fate?” The thing is, in glossing over the how of the happy ending, Show seems to only serve up a half-answer; something along the lines of, “Yes, we can be masters of our own fate. Just don’t ask us to explain how.” Which doesn’t really cut it in my books, honestly.

The OTP’s happy ending does mollify me somewhat, but, does it mollify me to the extent that all the unanswered questions don’t matter anymore? I wish I could say yes, but y’know, they kind of do matter. I can’t deny that I’m glad our OTP got their happy ending, but I also can’t deny that I’m disappointed at the lack of answers.

Still, props to Show for being daring and different. At your best, Show, you had me by the heart. And I won’t forget that.


A solid, logic-bendy watch, in spite of its flaws.




Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

124 thoughts on “Flash Review: W-Two Worlds

  1. Giving this drama a try. 4 episodes in, so far so good.


  2. Aah! This review! Soo well written! I finished watching ‘W-Two Worlds Apart’ a few weeks ago and I had come across this wonderful review then and I had tried writing a comment back then but somehow I couldn’t find my own blog address and it all got terribly bungled up! I am so glad that I found you again! Keep writing! You are seriously good! You are motivating me to see more K Dramas and get back to writing on my blog! 😘


    • Aw, I’m glad you found me again, Anu! 😀 I’m so glad you enjoyed this review, even though you clearly loved this show more than I did. 🙂 Thanks too, for your encouraging words! It’s great to know the reviews are appreciated, that does help keep me motivated to keep on writing. ❤ All the best with getting back to writing on your blog! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank for for being so kind for replying! Yes, it does seem like I liked the show more than you did. But that’s okay, to each her own. 😍 I have a question: I have posted a comment on your review of “I am not a Robot”. It is not showing currently. Will you check if it’s uploaded? And reply to that too. Your thoughts are always welcome! 😊 I am trying to get back to blogging. Thanks!


  3. Pingback: Review: Romance Is A Bonus Book | The Fangirl Verdict

  4. Hi, even if it’s a little late, I’ll try to answer some of your questions.
    What I love about “W” is that everything is coherent, but you have to dig. It’s that kind of masterpiece. A screenplay of a quality and depth never seen before on television…. For cinema, I don’t make a comparison, because it’s another way of telling a story.

    The answers are all in the drama, but you have to have seen it several times, while remaining attentive, and thinking a lot. Maybe you only saw it once, in this case, you might as well say that it is totally impossible to understand this drama, and no one could blame you! ! 😉
    Song Jae-Jung’s stories have multiple layers, few things are explicit, but I don’t think she writes like that just to confuse the audience, there are other reasons for that. It is true that a very brain-intensive story will always have difficulty being so also on the heart level. The writer made the combination she thought was the most balanced, I guess.

    1 – Episode 06: Soo-Bong says in the car that he invented a lie to have the right to see the body. When the policeman greeted him, he said, “Was he a friend from high school?”. So there are no logic issues.

    2 – Episode 09: Kang Chul’s suspicions were not mentioned. He certainly still has them, but in any case, he won’t have time to think about them because it happens quickly afterwards. And the main reason for overreacting was removed, his meeting with Yeon-Joo on the roof. During the conversation in Kang Chul’s hospital room, we learn that Yeon-Joo did not just draw a dream. She also removed the passage where she rescued Kang Chul, so he never met her. Instead, Kang Chul was found by a hotel employee. Regarding the meeting with Oh Sung-Moo on the roof, Kang Chul thought it was a hallucination in his semi-coma. He will have confirmation of the strange facts when he sees the hotel door disappear, or the car repainted. This is not related, but it is assumed that he always had suspicions because he accepts quite quickly the supernatural phenomena and the truth by reading the manhwa.

    3 – Dad Zombie: The phenomenon is explained according to narrative logic. The killer has no face, Oh Sung-Moo has one. If he gives the killer a face, he loses his own, because the killer recapitulates it: they have the same soul and are the same person. The killer was commanded by Oh Sung-Moo, now Oh Sung-Moo is commanded by the killer. The faceless zombie doesn’t need to eat or breathe. It is shown (with insistence) and wanted by history. In “W”, you always have to understand things with a two-level reading. These are not physical rules that apply, but phenomena of the manhwa. The interaction between manhwa and reality goes both ways. This is what these events show, impossible in reality, but possible according to the logic of a manhwa.

    4 – The faceless killer has memories: Kang Chul explains it in episode 12, after talking to the killer in the tablet. Within a few minutes, he missed his ” rewind “. The meeting between Oh Sung-Moo and the killer did not undergo the reset. If he had been smarter or had more time to think about his plan, Kang Chul would have asked Yeon-Joo to cancel his attack on the roof as well.

    5 – The story of “W” ends when Kang Chul dies in the bus shelter: the rest will not be shown (how Do-Yoon comes to pick it up by ambulance). It is inevitable. The manhwa necessarily stops at that moment, because that’s when Oh Sung-Moo disappears. And he was the last villain to eliminate to close the story.

    6 – The world of “W” continues to exist: in the meantime, we learn in episode 12 that the world of “W” is independent. The end of episode 6 is different from episode 16. The one in episode 16 mentions the final chapter, wanted and desired by the hero. I don’t remember where it is related (in a flashforward with Yeon-Joo, episode 12 maybe), Yeon-Joo makes assumptions, probably from what Kang Chul told him. And it is also reported elsewhere, very briefly. At this point in history, Kang Chul assumes that the world of “W” will continue as an independent world, and that the main character remaining alive at the end can travel between the two worlds. I find this assumption very risky, but in any case, that is the explanation given. It is therefore a basic data, not a rule derived from another. There are several basic data in “W”. For example, “a portal appears if the hero discovers the truth”. There is no rule to explain this, it is a basic rule.

    7 – Unnecessary characters disappear: this is another example of basic data, but based on the logic of a story. In a series, when a character is useless, you never see him again. So it’s easy to explain with this kind of two-level reading.

    8 – Kang Chul can travel between worlds after the end of the manhwa: He was unable to do so only during the final chapter, because the characters are stuck in the story, he can no longer trigger “end of chapter” by manipulating his own emotions. After the end, there are no more chapters. At this point, he no longer even needs to have an emotion to leave the world of “W”, it’s free teleportation! He has been freed from the constraints of the manhwa at all levels. Travel has even become much easier. Kang Chul had foreseen the phenomenon, he even told it to Do-Yoon (scene not visible), since Do-Yoon will admit it to Han Chul-Ho by being tortured. It is by learning this that Han Chul-Ho decides to kill Kang Chul, to be the one who will be able to travel to the real world at the end of the manhwa.

    9 – Yeon-Joo’s alliance at the end: This is not the same alliance as before. Besides, if that were the case, there would have been a plan where she appeared out of nowhere. It is necessarily an identical wedding ring that Kang Chul brought and put on her finger while she was sleeping. At the end of the manhwa, the objects of the manhwa in the real world disappear, and this rule is unchanged.

    As you can see, “W” is even more cerebral than you had already guessed. There is no plot-hole, as some people may have mistakenly believed. It’s pure genius.
    This motivated me to write season 2: “W two worlds Season 2 four worlds”. A project initially planned for a web publication, but which I ended up considering as acceptable to be proposed to the production company. I still have some work to do on that…. It is a project on which I still communicate little. Just a little bit, in case some people with a keen enough mind have ideas to improve the episodes.


    • Wow. You’ve certainly put a lot of thought into W and its drama world! Thanks for sharing. I personally watched the show about 3 years ago, so my memories of the show are too hazy to fully appreciate your points. But I’m sure that this will help other fans who are just now watching the drama for the first time. 🙂 All the best with your Season 2! Fighting! 🙂


  5. I felt like the kang chul after the dream reset and after he met yeon joo for the second time was a different person. And i didnt understand how whenever yeon joo brought up things he did in the past he referred to himself back then as the cartoon kang chul and that confused me. He didnt have that daring, confident charm after the rest.


    • That’s true.. I do recall that too, that Kang Chul after the reset was different. I personally didn’t enjoy that section of the show too much, and you’re right in that I found early Kang Chul more interesting. Oh well. I guess you can’t win ’em all? 😛


  6. Pingback: Flash Review: Memories Of The Alhambra | The Fangirl Verdict

  7. Alhambra feels like a classic fairytale/hero’s journey so far and I love it! (Have not seen the last two episodes). I watched and loved Nine Time Travels and Queen Inhyun’s Man.


  8. Currently watching Memories of Alhambra by the same writer and wondering if I should check this show out.


    • Hm.. It’s worth a try, if you’re loving Alhambra, I think. I personally thought W was brilliant for its initial one third.. I also felt like things unraveled towards the end, but some folks love it as a whole 🙂


  9. It’s 2018 Lol
    Eun Joo’s appa looked like older version of Sian in Superman returns haha I keep imagining the cute child in the killer’s slick back hairstyle lol


  10. There are many interesting comments here which i must say i very much agree on. For me, the first arc of the story up until The faceless killer coming to the real world could’ve been fleshed out and more effective exploited, such as with the romance between two main characters or the gradual process of Kang Chul coming to know the truth ( If i remember correctly the whole puzzle concerning Jeon-joo’s real identity has already been solved by the end of episode 4?). I think by then most of the thrill and excitement has already fizzeld out, quite understandably, and then the whole thing with the father’s sudden and unexplainable development of a split personality and other plot holes as well gave me headache and i admit, dampened my enthusiasm quite a bit. However, i have come to love the incredible acting and the easy chemistry between the cast, and despite its many flaws, the drama and the plot in general is still a whole mile better than its contemporaries so i decided to hold out until the end. The ending is very much what i expected although i have no complain here, since a predictable, happy ending is still much more comforting than a dramatic or overdone one :))) In conclusion, the series has definitely left an impression and one i think i would like to watch again in the future ( i adore both Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo so you could say i’m being a tiny bit arbitrary here :D)


    • Yes, in the end the writing in this show wasn’t as good as it first promised to be, but the cast got me through as well. I also thought the ending was too pat, but like you said, it could’ve been worse. 😉


  11. Hi Fangirl,
    I have recently discovered kdramas in the last 2 months or so and they have become a serious addiction. I found your website after I watched moonlight drawn by Clouds and had serious park Bo gum withdrawal and was trawling the internet to get a fix by looking for anything and everything about him. I have been regularly reading your blogs for suggestions and post watch reviews and have really enjoyed your insight. Thanks for that.

    I had to comment on this post because I just finished watching W series and was as usual doing a comparison on what everyone else thought about the series. I read DTFs comments and had to post (usually I am more of a silent reader than an active participant and I have so far watched around 13 k-dramas) because it moved me so much and I feel so sad because out of all plausible explanations DTFs version makes the most sense to me. Like some of the others I didn’t believe in the OTP so much but loved the Yeon Joo and Kang Choel on their own. And the rationale with which DTF had explained the events now is the sole true version in my head. I guess because of this I see the whole drama in a new light and I am filled with sadness, which had ultimately forced me to comment. I suppose a need to send into the ether a message to see if there are others who feel sad for Oh Yeon Joo and Kang Cheol (even though he is only a comic character and lives only in Oh Yeon Joos memory at the end) and will commiserate with me how sad the whole thing is. And this whole premise makes it a wonderful piece of writing by writer-nim.

    Last few thoughts to add – this reminds me of the alternate theories for Harry potter and Friends TV series. If one is not familiar – there is a theory that the whole Harry Potter world is just a figment of Harry’s imagination when he is locked in his under stairs cupboard room as a means of coping with the abuse and sad life that he is leading with his cousins.

    In a similar vein, the TV series Friends is a set of stories imagined by Phoebe who is homeless woman and who sees people hanging out at the Central Perk coffee shop and inserts herself in the stories and imagines herself having friends.

    Well, that was longer than intended, but also felt cathartic. Again thank you Fangirl for your wonderful blog, love the drama reviews and pure pretty and k-love posts.( Can’t get enough of some of the guys). Will keep coming back to your blog to keep my drama love going !

    – a k-drama obsessed newbie


    • Just re-read my comment and excuse the typos!


      • Hi Jay,

        I feel better now too. Thanks for the tips on Harry Potter and Friends — I had not heard those interpretations, but now I will keep them in mind!

        My wife has a great disliking for the new “Are You Human Too?” K-Drama… I have not read the reviews here on that one yet, but may chime in sometime soon to give our interpretation of that series as well.

        Try some Japanese dramas for deeper themes (or Korean films). The new Korean version of “One Million Stars Falling from the Sky” (this is the Japanese title in Eng-trans.; the Japanese series features actor Takuya Kimura) is ongoing, but we could not continue watching the Korean version after Ep.1 — the Japanese version is much better (mainly due to actor selection, we thought; but we don’t know how the Korean version will alter the original plot thus far). Anyway, the Japanese dramas are sometimes excellent. I listed a few above to serve as starters, if you don’t know any titles.

        Thanks for reading and posting!!!



    • Hi there Jay! Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of dramas! 😀

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, especially since you usually prefer to be a silent reader 🙂 I used to be one of those too – and now here I am, writing a blog! 😆 What I’m saying is, I completely understand the effort it took for you to write – thank you! ❤

      As for W, I certainly have no confirmation on what the writer's actual intention was, ie, whether DTF's theory really is the premise that the writer had in mind. Similar to the theories that you mentioned about Harry Potter and Friends – those are intriguing theories indeed, and while the pieces may fit, I do wonder at whether that was what the writers actually intended to begin with. I personally prefer to think of these as alternate possibilities, rather than the actual reality the writer intended. Perhaps thinking of it that way might help?

      On the other hand, I concede that it's the tragic ones that leave the deepest impression on us. So I can completely understand DTF's interpretation hurting so much – but hurting so good, that you will always remember this show, for it. 💔 And yes, writing about it is absolutely cathartic, and I'm glad you feel better after doing so!

      Thanks for enjoying the blog, and I look forward to chatting more dramas with ya! Hugs.


      • Hi Fangirl,

        Thanks for taking time to reply to my comment. After reading your comments I do feel better. Plus the best way to get over one drama ending is, start watching a new one. 🙂
        My new bias is Lee Jong Suk and I started with I hear your voice. A little over half way through and I am immensely enjoying it. I did peek a lil bit into your review and I am glad your rating is A+. It is an absolute cracker.
        I guess the best thing about being a newbie is I have so many great dramas to look forward to. I have read through a lot of your reviews and I find our tastes quite similar. The only one of the ones I have watched where I have seen our views differ so far is Scarlet Heart Ryeo. I mostly love it for Lee Joon Ki and he looked so hot! I loved his glorious mane in it.
        I will check back in once I have finished IHYV.
        Also I love your pure pretty posts. Have been getting my fill of Lee Jong Suk.

        I loved the bromance between Kim Woo Bin and Lee Jong Suk in School 2013 ( which lead me to W) and I found this Fan MV on you tube with the 2 of them and the song psycho love. I know it has an tone of more than bromance between the two in the video but it is addictive and I love listening and watching it. Thought you might enjoy it since it has Kim woo bin :).


        • Oh, I loved IHYV! I’m glad you’re watching that one, it’s a really good one, and I loved Lee Jong Suk in it! ❤ A very effective and excellent way to get over W, indeed. 😉


  12. look at kang chul how cool is he? the way he blinks his eyes and smiles wow .his character and values are also good. as you said first of is amazing and intresting last few episodes are circling around same thing which irritates but the show is unique in its way


  13. It was a good drama. I miss ut already. I think I will watch it after one year or so again.


    • That’s a good strategy! I always like to give dramas that I want to rewatch a good “rest” period. Coz the longer I wait, the fresher it feels, when I finally rewatch it again! 😉


  14. I just finished watching this drama and I would have given this a B if the loose ends were tied up, at least a bit. I did not mind that much of this was not plausible, what really bothered me was the lack of logic, especially towards the end. The storyline went too far with ignoring logic and just ended the story in a short and simple way that left too many questions unanswered. How did Kang Chul manage to come back to reality? Why and how did W continue after the final episode ended? What happened to all the other characters? I truly feel that this was a great story that had all that untapped potential in its main and supporting roles’ backstory/context, intricacies/rules of W,

    I was hooked by this drama since the first episode, unlike many others who have dropped it. I really liked how it wasn’t one of those with a very conventional storyline with predictable twists and turns. I enjoyed the suspense, the mystery and the hints of romance. I binged this till the end, only to get really disappointed by a perfunctory ending, given just for the sake of one.

    DTF’s take on the plot would have worked very well with the story if it was more incorporated into the drama. I went to rewatch the first few episodes of the drama and I think it is unlikely that the writer had meant to convey that W and the “reality” was actually something that Oh Yeon Joo had created. If the writer had really wanted that, there would most definitely have been more scenes in the beginning to establish that even in the slightest.

    Also, since I have just finished watching this, the details of the drama are still clear in my mind, I can give you the answer to at least one of the questions that you’ve asked in your review.
    “Another thing I was curious about was, why Killer Guy seemed unaffected by the reset, since he demonstrates that he knows what happened during that “dream” timeline.”
    This was explained in the show actually, in episode 8,9,12. Viewers may have missed this part out as the flow of the show was not sequentially conveyed. The show displayed the different parts, and let the viewers piece them together without putting it in a single segment.
    The context was that Kang Chul was made to think that beginning from the scene where Oh Yeon Joo saved him, it was all a dream, a dream that he would have no recollection of. Killer Guy was not affected because he managed to gain awareness of the real world when Creator went into the comic to kill Kang Chul, which was before the “dream” and thus deemed fictitious(LOL) in the W world. In that scene, Killer Guy injured KC first, after which when Killer wasn’t in the scene, Creator Oh Sung Moo went into W and tried to kill KC. Not shown in the comic, Killer Guy found OSM and asked him why he tried to kill KC, when that was his(Killer)’s job to complete. Threatened by Killer, OSM then promised to give Killer Guy a face and to make him the protagonist. It was only after that, did Oh Yeon Joo come into the W world to save KC, from there, everything that had happened after, was written into a dream that KC had and forgot. KC thus does not remember having gained awareness, but Killer does, since his memory of gaining awareness was created before the dream.

    Either way, I really hope that they do a remake of this, in a version which gives all/most of the characters more depth, answers most of the obvious logical questions and with a stronger female lead role. I appreciate your review, especially after watching this and needing some real closure on the show.


    • Thanks for providing the answer to my question, wut – that does help! 🙂 I completely agree with you that Show lost its grip on its own logic the deeper we got into our story, and by the end, it did feel like the ending was put there just for the sake of it. Compared to the early episodes which felt brilliant and different and amazing, the ending felt muted, convenient, and ultimately underwhelming. A huge pity, in my books, because if Show had managed to keep up its daring brilliance and cohesiveness all the way through, this would’ve been a grade A drama for sure.


  15. I loved “W – Two Worlds.” I thought it was an innovative premise that was well thought out and beautifully delivered. I was captivated from start to finish. The sci-fi nerd liked in me enjoyed the paranormal plot and the romantic side of me liked the chemistry between the lead characters and the secondary actors were engaging. It was well done.


    • Glad you enjoyed this one, Arabella. 🙂 I wanted to love it as much as you do, but unfortunately I felt pretty underwhelmed by Show’s later episodes. I guess it’s just one of those things – drama enjoyment is so subjective, after all 🙂


  16. Pingback: W – Two Worlds (2016) – KDrama Feels

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  18. First I will apologize for my not so good English. The main thing that bothered me was that they did not develop enough of the secondary characters. They had no story and felt like they were flat figures. This, in my opinion, was also the problem of the last third of the series, which was a bit exhausting because they focused only on the first two characters and did not close the edges about the secondary characters.


    • Aw, no need to apologize for language, Merav! Not only is your English fine, I’m just happy that we international fans have a way to share our common love for dramas! 🙂 And yes, I did feel like the latter episodes were lacking, like they couldn’t live up to the initial awesome that Show served up. It’s too bad. But, points to Show for daring to try something new and different! 🙂


  19. I thought this was possibly the best Kdrama I’ve ever seen. The plot was brilliant – although as with most dramas slightly too stretched to take it to 16 episodes. I didn’t like the ending at first but that’s because I initially didn’t ‘get’ it. It felt like they had tacked a happy ending on at the end at first. Once I realised what they were going for I found it very satisfying.

    Obviously nothing is perfect and I had two issues with the drama. The major issue was Han Hyo Joo. The character was annoyingly passive throughout and Han Hyo Joo gave her a childish, immature quality that made her openly annoying at times. This drama would have been almost perfect with a strong female lead. As it is, it didn’t detract from the plot but it did detract from my enjoyment of the romance. I understood why she loved him but had no clue what he saw in her (although his lovely speech about how she was the only family he was able to choose helped a lot).

    The minor issue was the wardrobe. The costuming was awful. I don’t know what the wardrobe department was going for but it didn’t work for me. I shouldn’t spend half my time thinking ‘what are they wearing?’

    Overall though, I completely loved it and am planning a rewatch.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. What’s up with so many of the young, male Korean actors not wearing socks in the dramas but not forgetting the lipstick…haha


    • I was just in South Korea with my wife and her sister — and ran out of clean socks (didn’t realize it until that morning — too late to handwash a pair). When I made a similar comment as you did above, in reference to the suggestion that I could go sockless too and be fashionable, they both said the Korean men wear short socks — those ones you cannot see over the top of the sneaker/shoe. They sell these by the ton in South Korea, from what I saw. (And yes, I purchased some new ones for the day — but they were a little higher on my ankles — maybe not so fashionable, but more my style.) 🙂 The sockless look seems to be a young guy thing.


  21. This was one of the most creative K-Dramas I’ve ever seen. Going back and forth between the animated and real world. It was a radically refreshing departure from the typical K-Dramas that one can usually predict the endings of. It deserved an “A” rating in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. The loophole of the ending is, how could Kang Chul survive in the real world if he is non existing? I mean he doesn’t have a national ID and his name is not registered.


    • Hi Karen,

      If you are asking me, I will argue that it is because Chul is not real — he exists only in Yoon-Joo’s mind. (Details in the long explanations above.) If we see it this way, there is no conflict. That is also why he only has his cartoon identity card and no details are offered for what he might do in the “real world”.


  23. Oops — “Waterboys” is 2001; Satoshi Tsumabukiis the main star (he is also in “Orange Days”). Sorry about that! 🙂


  24. Hi Fangurl,

    For a future day, here are some of my favorite Japanese dramas with Kimura Takuya (many are good, but you can explore and branch out after these first tryouts, which I have seen many times each): “Long Vacation”; “Gift”; “One Million Stars Falling from the Sky”; “A Sleeping Forest”; “Hero”; “Good Luck!”; “Pride”; and “Engine” — and an excellent film with Kimura is “Love and Honor” (this one is amazing). These cover a range of drama genres, and some will keep you talking about them for a long while.

    Some other Japanese favorites are the dramas “Orange Days”, and “Dr. Koto” (first season), “Osama no Restaurant” (1995), “Oh Dad” (aka. オヤジぃ / Oyaji / Father); and the films “Waterboys” (1994) and “Go” (2001 — with Kubozuka Yosuke and Ko Shibasaki, who is in “Orange Days” and two of the above Kimura dramas as well). I also like “Battle Royale” but that is a special genre and not for everyone (Ko Shibasaki is in that too, in a memorable part).

    I could go on, but this will keep you busy and provide some faces that you may wish to follow into other dramas as well. Have fun! Share them with your fans if you like them!!



  25. Thanks Fangurl! I did not notice on your list “Bittersweet Life” | Dalkomhan Insaeng (MBC / 2008), starring Lee Dong-Wook and Oh Yeon-Su. This one was not popular in Korea, I think (interesting to ask why), but it is a favorite of ours. I really like both of these actors too, in other dramas and films. This one is not for light entertainment, but it is very good, and similarly a thinker’s drama — to understand the characters and their emotions. Just a suggestion, if you have not seen it yet! (I also like lighter dramas, like “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” — and I love those two lead actors too, in most of their roles!!).

    One day, you may wish to branch out to Japanese dramas. If so, I would advise the earlier dramas of actor Kimura Takuya. He is fantastic in many roles. I can offer some specific titles, if ever you or your readers are interested. They can be found with Eng-subs too.


    • Bittersweet Life flew under my radar; at the time that it aired I was still relatively new to kdramas and I was all about the fluffy rom-coms. I’ll keep it in mind for a future watch when I’m in a retro sort of mood. It sounds like a solid show, judging from your description 🙂 And OMG I LOVE My Girlfriend is a Gumiho! ❤ It was so cute, and packed so much heart as well. The last bits even moved me to tears – in a good way.

      I'd love some specific Japanese titles, actually! I may not get to them immediately, but I do compile an actual list of recommendations, including a list for Japanese dramas, so your recommendations would definitely come in useful! 🙂 Thanks DTF!


  26. A last installment (just had to put these ideas out there, then I will be at peace):

    If, as I have posed, Yeon-Joo is the creator of both of her worlds as we are seeing them, and the animator of all the characters in those two worlds (they are her versions of the real and cartoon people she knows), then let’s apply this to a few key and interesting scenes.

    First, how do we know the real world is also a fantasized version of Yoon-Joo’s reality? Aside from my earlier comments on this, she attempted (probably shortly after her father’s off-screen death) to continue the comic herself – maybe by actually drawing it. But she cannot draw in the beginning of the story (revised interpretation: maybe she did have her father’s drawing board in the beginning, found when she cleaned out his office, but shattered it after this initial frustration — and later projected that he did it; by then, she is animating his avatar, so it is really her all along). Miraculously — and this is the hint that this real world is her fantasy-version of her actual life as well — half-way through the show, she becomes a master illustrator. Why? She has granted this power to herself when she assumes the role of her father as the new creator – or continuator – of the “W” series; she grants herself his ability. In actual reality, she is not drawing anything now — instead, she is doing this all in her mind.

    When Chul shoots her father, what does that signify? We learn that it is “uncharacteristic” for his character (because she has taken over his direction to an extent and changed him a bit from what her father had earlier created). This is her anger stage of grief (stage 2) – while she is still mad at her father for ending the comic (but before she admits to herself that the reason is his death, which she will not acknowledge yet). So here, her father’s avatar is the opponent whom she must defeat/turn to make the comic continue. He will not relent (he cannot – he is actually dead) but must be turned somehow. Chul (representing the comic – or more properly, her love for it) thus shoots him in an act of pure anger and vengeance for the actions of the father; but the father does not die (arguably remarkable, since Chul is a champion marksman). The reason is that the father was not meant to die – instead, she is asking him in this extreme way to rethink his refusal to go on. (This may also represent his actual heart attack – caused in part by his work on the comic, represented here by its main character; his work on the series, Yeon-Joo feels in her actual world, killed him (heart-failure), and incidentally, that event introduced Yeon-Joo to her “hospital set and persona” as a (none-too-professionally interested) doctor. Of course, this desperate tantrum on her part (in her anger stage) does not work on Dad.

    Once her romance plot fails to produce a happy ending, she has the “killer” (this is herself) commit a mass shooting in the studio as a way to restart the comic series in a new genre. It is grim and desperate, just as she is in stage three of her grief, when negotiation (and her first effort to do it herself) fails to produce an acceptable ending for her. So this is her (in the guise of her father, whose role she has now assumed as a creator of the story until he comes around and agrees to work again), trying again with a new plot. That effort will also eventually fall short, leading to stage 4 of her grief — depression.

    Why does the “killer” shoot Yeon-Joo? This is stage 4, her depression, taken to an extreme (a suicide attempt off-screen, reflected in this scene). By this point, she has begun to feel guilt that she forced her father to work on the cartoon that was for her but led him to an unhappy life (and early death), and so the “killer” (representing herself – she feels she killed her father with her needs) takes over his avatar and shoots her. This is her deserved punishment for what she did to her father, carried out by his shade/avatar, as animated by her ruinous persona – the killer. In this way, she (the killer) tries to kill herself. But she survives – aided now by Chul, who she recalls (or the memory was invented by her, as a doubling and foreshadowing of this event) that he once saved her father from depression and suicide too (mid series). Her father’s gift to her (Chul) is beginning to help her to live and to see her father’s deep love for her.

    A moment here to discuss a frequent set of images – hypodermic needles and IV drips (the former used often to sedate or knock-out people in the show, and the IV tubes are repeatedly torn out of people’s arms). This happens a lot. Why? It is a reflection of the actual off-screen Yeon-Joo, who must be regularly sedated in her wild refusal to acknowledge her actual situation (Dad has died and she cannot allow herself to see that yet) and who probably resists her treatments, leading her to wander in a daze and wake up in odd locations, exhausted, with no idea of the time (the disorientation of a severely afflicted and medicated depression patient).

    Chul and the bodyguard are beaten to a bloody pulp, and the secretary moves overseas (and the prosecutor eventually is forced into suicide) as symbols that the comic world is breaking down under her furious attempts to employ it to console herself – she is destroying all of the original characters like she drove her father to ruin, as she feels dismay and guilt over that too. Psychologically this allows her take a step away from this comic world – which is the transition point from stage 4 of her grief to stage 5.

    Now, to the last part – her stage 5 of grief (acceptance): When her father (i.e., her avatar of her father) feels guilt for “killing her” (shooting her), that reveals again his deep love for her and his care for her well-being (which she finally acknowledges). This allows Yoon-Joo to release him at last, as she must (for both of them, she thinks, as he is suffering in spirit too within her version of things; but truly this is for herself – she must acknowledge that he is not coming back). He says goodbye in a loving gesture, signifying that he cares for her and will let her be comforted by his gift (the comic world and Chul); but this goodbye is actually her goodbye to him. She lets him find peace, and thus accepts – and is now on the way to acquiring peace herself. But she has distanced herself from Chul and his world because of what she did to them (in her latest ill-conceived attempt at a self-serving plot-line). Yet, in the untold ending, she does return to see him, and in the very end, he stays with her in her real world – a pleasant memory of her father, which (or who) will help her on her road to recovery from her trauma.

    Hope this inspires someone to watch this wonderful show again!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • *Standing ovation* DTF, your alternate analysis of W is simply brilliant. I know I said this in another comment, but I’ll say it again: you make me feel like I’m watching a whole new show, with your interpretation of events! I so wish this show’s writer would have a chance to read your entire analysis, and see where your interpretation aligns with her original vision, and where you actually take her original vision further and farther! 😀

      Thanks so much for sharing, I LOVED reading your take on this! ❤


  27. Sorry for the repeats of the third post; the final one can be kept — I was editing, but could not remove the earlier versions. 🙂


    • No worries, I’ve removed the repeated postings, thanks for all of your sharing, DTF! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your take, and marveling at how complex your analysis is! Love it – I kind of wish you could write a whole new drama to go with W, showing what’s REALLY going on with Yeon Joo. THAT would be too awesome! 😀


      • Ah, but that is just what they decided not to do. Showing her grieved state and revealing the secret behind the story at any point would only make the audience feel pity for Yeon-Joo, and would break the mesmerizing spell of the wild and occasionally unfathomable (but intriguing) plot-line. The fun part is really watching all of this spectacle (for all the reasons we like it — the action, sci-fi, romance, attractive characters, suspense) — and simultaneously surmising what is behind it without having to be shown what is really happening to her. The depth of connections is astounding, and after all, it would be very sad to be shown her real, depressed and desperate state, and might ruin our excitement of enjoying her hopeful creations. That is why the story works so well onscreen — it suggests the backstory by means of hints, her self-projections onto other characters, and dreamlike skipping through dimensions and reversals of time (and also rewrites of the ongoing plot in her mind) without literally showing us all there is to understand. But if you can imagine the real Yeon-Joo behind her show, you will find much more depth in this story — without the disappointments that were claimed by so many viewers who (very understandably) missed this perspective the first time around. We are not all schooled in the five stages of grief. I hope they will give “W” another try — and will try to imagine the real Yeon-Joo while watching it again. With this understanding, she is all the more fragile and human in her efforts to find a way to ease her sorrows, and this realization further invites us to root for her success. Who knows whether we might one day face a similar trial ourselves?

        I’ll be reading more of your reviews, Fangurl! Thank you for your sharing too!

        Liked by 1 person

        • A very unique perspective, one reminds me of the theory concerning the famous Disney’s cartoon show Phineas and Ferb :))) A grief-laden teenager dealing with the death of her loved ones through her own imagination-tragic and certainly make the drama that much more believable if not too traumatizing. I think that’s why i’m not going to take this drama too seriously and just go along with the flow and énjoy the funt the series has to offer 😀


        • Back after having watched some similar films — which re-affirm my interpretation of this series as a self-healing fantasy (in this case to overcome guilt and grief and despair). My wife and I recently watched the South Korean film “Fabricated City” (2017), which inspired us to re-watch the US film “Inception” (2010). I will state here, without giving much of either story away, that both are very similar to what I have explained about “W”: they are each dream-fantasies by mostly unseen (i.e., we do not see the actual realities of the) main characters. Both main characters in these films feel guilt at the loss of a close loved one (a mother in “Fab. City”, a wife in “Inception”) and therefore invent an imagined/dreamed scenario with many layers and stages (and characters who play roles as directed / projected by the dreamer) to deal with that mentally crippling grief. All or most of what we see in each film is fantasy invented by the griever, with the possible exception of the end scenes for both main characters. The films are composed of realistically impossible wild action which entirely reflect the minds and (somewhat limited) perspectives of the dreamers, just like in “W”. Incidentally, “Inception” was not well understood by most viewers, but was extremely popular in South Korea, where it inspired many similar plots in both films and dramas (“Fabricated City” was one of these — and was also curiously not well understood by most viewers, who mistook it as a simple action story; BTW, “Fab. City” is similar in many respects to parts of the Christopher Nolan “Batman” films — which the main character in “Fab. City” could be presumed to have seen as a teen — and Nolan also wrote “Inception”). Have a look some time, compare all these, and see if you agree!



  28. One last thought — on the missing limbs phenomenon. I have read the theory above by Kao Javier, and wish to offer a slightly different meaning to this, based upon the theory that this is two imaginary worlds in Yeon-Joo’s head. The first to nearly “vanish” was So-Hee (the secretary), who is disappearing because she seems no longer to have a part in the story if Yeon-Joo becomes the love-lead. To save her, Yeon-Joo has Chul reassure her that she is in fact important (Yeon-Joo subconsciously controls all of the characters in my theory of the story — they are all extensions of her thoughts) — and then they decide that a dream “save” is needed to reset the situation, as her first romance plot does not lead to a happy ending. Everyone must be happy in her first conception of this desired ending. That means the characters who made Chul happy and what he is must survive too. So they reset using the dream and try, try again.

    Then we begin to see Chul and the father alternately disappearing by degrees. This represents Yeon-Joo’s growing worry that one or the other will be lost to her, perhaps permanently. Her cartoon world is now as important (if not more so) than her real existence (which has also become a fantasized version of life — and a less colorful world than the cartoon one, at that…); so disappearing from there (both the father and Chul are by then representations in the cartoon world) means they will vanish from Yeon-Joo’s life. Not acceptable — that is not a happy ending for her. Why does it never seem to bother either character functionally that they are blinking in and out of existence? Because it is only symbolic — if too much time passes and Yeon-Joo does not find a solution, they will eventually go — but that blinking does not interfere with their ability to do whatever they like.

    Finally, only the father disappears — after he has given his consent for her and Chul’s relationship, and said his goodbye to her (which she does not literally see, but knows subconsciously because it happened in her imagined world — she made it happen). When the father blinks out totally, he is gone — and this signifies that Yeon-Joo has finally reached the fifth stage of grief; she has accepted that he is never going to return (i.e., he is dead and cannot return; he died before this series’ action even began — the series depicts her grief stages in dealing with that traumatic event).

    So that is all the vanishing limbs mean — fear of loss of the person. Note that she never blinks on and off; it never occurs to Yeon-Joo that she may disappear — that is not the point of this imaginary process. [I think that is correct — she does not blink on and off, does she?]

    Her father and Chul never really competed for existence in her life; in reality, both were always there… her imagined version of her father only wishes to eliminate Chul because he CANNOT draw him anymore (why? because he is dead — but she rationalizes away this fact and replaces his death with his obstinacy instead during her denial and anger stages; she has not yet accepted that he is really dead). The father is never truly alive at any point in the drama — and that is why this dramatic vision of Yeon-Joo was created: First to shield her from her loss of her father, and then to find a way to cope with that loss by winning a companion that he left for her, preferably without violating his relationships with other characters who were part of the gift-world bequeathed to Yeon-Joo by her real father.

    Complicated, but if we see it all from her eyes — and understand that everything here is her imagination and projection of her thoughts onto other characters, it makes sense. She saves herself, using the tool (the comic) that her father left for her.


    • Upon a re-watching of this two years later, one adjustment: The ending that shows Chul with Yeon-Joo is her way of saying that both Chul (the gift from her father) and her father’s memory will always exist with(in) her. The W world might come to an end (the father can no longer keep it going, and she cannot write it without him), but her real existence will not end — she found the strength to live on, as her father would have wanted, and with him by her side (spiritually). Is this not how many ultimately cope with the death of a close loved one? “You are still always with me.”

      One more aside: The writer(s) seem to have studied psychology and its treatments; the relationship between Yeon-Joo and her father is very Freudian in its conception. Note that she is not close to her mother — who took her away from dad (an early jail scene may even be a skewed memory of her running away once after they left her father alone) . Though dad was a drinker and troubled, Yeon-joo as a child was always closest to him; he helped her built the world of W; he was always uppermost in her mind and memories; he is everywhere in this drama; and the entire story is really about her struggle with his loss of life and her guilt involving him (part of which seems to be about her introvertedness and his remembered advise to go out and live in the real world, which she resists by retreating into fantasy — to escape reality and to be closer to her father through participation in their story).

      A solid clue that both worlds in this drama are projections of Yeon-joo’s fantasy is that, like in “Fabricated City” and “Inception,” the worlds she creates are seem as from the eyes and perspective of her own character — who is certainly no doctor, though she may have seem some on TV or in movies. (She is likely an introvert teen or 20-something.) The clues also lie in everything she says (and what they characters say too — for they are all speaking for her, as they were all animated and directed as projections by her).

      [See my other 2019 post below about how “Inception” likely inspired this story. Leonardo DiCaprio, who is is the star, also played in “Shutter Island” (2010 — and released before “Inception”) — a not so happily ended psychological thriller. If I remember it right, he also helped Christopher Nolan with the script for “Inception.”



      • A final suggestion (again, inspired by “Inception” — as I believe this plot was too): [BIG SPOILER HERE]

        As in the film “Inception” (which I interpret as an elaborately constructed fantasy manifestation of a dream-mission/journey that represents a session of deep psycho-analysis and suggestion to cure a serious case of debilitating guilt concerning the patient’s — Cobb’s — feelings about his wife’s death), there may well be a psychologist (or more than one) at work behind the scenes in “W Two Worlds” as well; the doctor(s) presence is hinted at occasionally in the Show.

        [In “Inception,” this would be firstly and primarily Saito — who must give the okay for the main character Cobb to re-enter the USA to return to his children (i.e., he must approve the patient’s proven ability to return to be a responsible father again). The other characters — though perhaps Cobb’s partly projections in their roles as agents working with him, may also be assistant psychologists helping to guide him in this journey into his hidden (unconscious) thought-world to find the solution to his problem and fix it via an suggestion — that he is not responsible for his wife’s death; and moreover, they need to test that he can demonstrate responsibility for his children by responsibly saving his partner Saito — who will then approve his return home). Michael Caine’s character may be a supervising psychologist or a relative who teaches in the field and recommended Saito to Cobb (this depends on how one interprets the end scenes).]

        To return to “W”: Chul is a character in the webtoon; BUT at certain times, he may be the face of the primary attending psychologist. This is hinted at in at least three ways/places in the Show: 1) there is an early scene when Yeon-joo wakes up in a hospital bed and a calm Chul sits beside her to chat, wearing a sporty but clearly white jacket (hence, he looks a bit like a fashionable young psychologist/doctor in a white physician’s coat); B) as my wife noted, Chul is usually not very inclined toward indulging Yeon-joo’s intentions to enjoy a passionate romance with him — instead, he usually remains cool, analytical, directed, and uses a calm and authoritative voice to provide assertive suggestions (again, suggesting a psychologist guiding a patient gently toward a solution or revelation to find a cure to her problem — in this case, extreme grief at the loss of her father and guilt at rejecting his wish for her to set aside “W” and Chul to enjoy a normal life in her real world); and C) most especially in the final two episodes, Chul acts even more like a psychologist who is growing desperate to force a necessary decision on Yeon-joo (which she rejects until he creates a situation that forces her choice). That decision ultimately allows her to resolve her loss-of-father denial issue and even her guilt at loving Chul (though she may not be fully cured yet — as she is arguably in love with an imaginary webtoon character at the end). [The surgery doctor may be a supervisor of the psychological ward; he keeps tabs on the effort to use a webtoon-based scenario in her sessions to shape her therapy and expresses dismay when it is not working, but stays with it to the end and is finally pleased at the successful outcome in Episode 16.]

        Is this what Freud and his followers might call “positive transference” or a patient falling in love with her doctor? This questions is a bit complicated, but if she eventually transfers her love for Chul to the therapist who uses Chul’s persona and face/body in her manifested psycho-analytical and suggestion healing session, then perhaps so. (This does not happen in the Show, but it is suggested that one day this might occur.) Thus, this may be a gradual stage in that process: first substitute Chul for the missing father, then eventually the real (unseen) therapist for the webtoon character Chul. Then the therapist will have a new girlfriend (hopefully less troubled), and Yeon-joo will have a supportive and capable psychologist boyfriend (again, this direction is suggested as a possibility in the last scene of the Show, in Episode 16).

        This is rather complex stuff, but so is the human mind (and Freudian theories — which I am NOT necessarily endorsing, but merely positing as a literary framing device which can be used to explain how this Show seems to work, without plot holes or unexplained elements. Once again, I hope this may inspire some viewers to watch the Show again! (And “Inception” or “Fabricated City.”)

        Thanks for your site-space and tremendous patience Fangurl!!!



        • Wow, DTF! You’ve really expanded on your already robust theory on W! 😀 No worries about site space, I’m happy to have you share your thoughts with everyone else visiting this page. 🙂 Admittedly, it’s been years since I watch Inception so my ability to appreciate your insights is a little limited. Still, I love your ability to pick up on small details and piece together alternative explanations and scenarios, and I can’t help but be at least somewhat persuaded on your take. Especially the part about Kang Chul’s authoritative but calm way of speaking with Yeon Joo, paired with the idea of positive transference. Very intriguing indeed. Thanks for thinking of sharing this here with us, DTF! ❤


  29. ADDED NOTES: [More Spoilers below]

    The photo of her father that he drew for her near the end is a funeral image typically displayed in Asian-styled funerals.
    His real cartoon drawing board cannot be found at the end because he possibly destroyed it himself before dying of a heart-attack; all of the cartoon drawing boards in the show are products of her imagination.

    Yeon-Joo is almost never really seen as she truly is in life (likewise, none of the real people in the show are truly real – they are her images of people she knows, but they act as mostly puppets with thoughts and speech supplied by her imagination); she actually is probably a teen-aged and depressed girl living with her Mom, absorbed in the comic her Dad created – and loving it because it is mainly for her (and a substitute for living with him). We may catch hints at her reality when she is home, or wakes up in various places disoriented and tired (as if drugged or sedated), and when she is at home with her worried mother.

    The killer who takes over her father at one point may be a reflection of herself – this is guilt externalized; she is the killer (not of Chul’s family, but of her father—she believes, because he lost his life while slavishly cartooning mainly for her … to support her financially and emotionally). Note that the killer’s other function is to keep the story going until she finds a way to resolve it acceptably. The killer is really herself. And oddly, in this post-father’s death fantasy, she becomes her father (the cartoonist) by taking his role and animating an imagined version of him for the completion of the story – and the killer (her) drives him mad (as it drove her to depression and madness; she felt she killed her dad).

    All the people in her real world seems deeply obsessed with W, but in fact this is a reflection of her obsession with the comic. This is also suggested by the parallel that in Chul’s world, everything revolves around him. In her real world, this is also true – or more precisely, everyone lives to hear more about the comic series, just like she does. Again, everyone in both worlds is really an externalized depiction of her thoughts, and otherwise they have almost no personality of their own. In reality, she is probably mostly bed-ridden and often semi-sedated, and not very functional; all of the action is purely in her imagination, even the rewrites of the story – she is trying different methods to work it out in a gradual process but with diminishing returns, possibly reflecting her actual real-life depression medicine’s effects on her ability to think clearly – until she gives up on logic and solving most of the plot impediments, and just makes it happen in a fast and none-too-explained way. What is important is that in the end, Chul does save her – as she earlier externalized that he saved her father from depression and suicide. In that sense, Chul is truly a gift from her father, and this shows that dad really did love her.

    On a side note, the theme that people pay more attention to fantasy than their own real life is constant, but mainly reflects her obsessive tendency to do this and then to externalize that behavior to everyone else in her real world. Whether it is good or bad to retreat into fantasy is up to each individual to decide, but we all do it to some extent. And often, that is what helps us to stay happy and sane in a drab and often difficult life.


  30. Hi Fangirl!

    I am a first-timer on this site, but love your dedicated and thoughtful critiques. I just finished watching “W” with my wife, and sympathize with the widespread frustration of viewers concerning the apparent lack of logic toward the end. In fact, I came to an early understanding of the show that made perfect sense to me, but temporarily abandoned it in the last several episodes, only to take it up again as a useful way to understand the storyline. If you and your readers have some time, here is my take on the writer’s intentions, which I think the vast majority of viewers completely missed. Spoilers ahead.

    This was never meant to be a sci-fi drama, any more than it was meant to be a romance (another of the attempted genres that character Yeon-Joo uses to make her version of the ending work). What the story really is, is a psychological story of dealing with grief – ultimately by learning how to say goodbye to a father who has unexpectedly died, and dealing with the loss and a lonely, mostly unhappy life (Yeon-Joo’s own real life) by finding happiness with an imaginary husband, who was “made for her specifically” by her father. Bear with me – as much of the following reading of the story is NOT specifically stated in the drama, but it is hinted at subtly. The story arguably makes complete sense from this perspective, and is very cleverly told (though it may be too hard for many to understand without a clue to the meaning).

    We start with a tragic and unexplained family event (the murder of Chul’s family) and a girl who allegedly “works” in a hospital (Yeon-Joo) as a cardiologist surgeon. Two main things to remember are that both worlds in the story are imaginary – most of Yeon-Joo’s reality is also imaginary: We see her version of her reality, NOT what is really happening in her life. Second, most of the characters’ actions and dialogue n BOTH worlds reflect Yeon-Joo’s thinking – she externalizes this by making the characters around her say and do what she wants them to do, or what she is subconsciously thinking.

    To explain, what REALLY happened to Yeon-Joo is that she had an unhappy childhood; her father was a barely-surviving and alcoholic cartoonist (NOT a famous and successful one); he eeked out a living with some low-paid assistants creating a simple cartoon based on a character that his daughter dreamed up as a wish-mate in her youth (which he then took and made into a hero crime-fighter character); but eventually, his drinking and depression caught up to him and he died – probably of a heart attack. Yeon-Joo then is left with an unfinished story that she had devotedly followed (paying more attention to the cartoon than her own dull and unhappy life), and a dead father. What to do? Insert herself into the cartoon, to find a companion to ease her loneliness, and along the way, go through the five stages of grief to say goodbye to her father (who never returns).

    All of it then begins to make sense. She was never a doctor – instead, she probably became acquainted mildly with the cardiac doctors when her father was in hospital and she visited him there briefly. Later, she may be hospitalized occasionally herself (hints: she wakes up disoriented and lost – as at one point she externalized her father doing as well…but one example of a reflection of herself; and in the end, she awakens in a hospital bed with Chul by her side). Her Mom probably could not handle her psychotic episodes (and in the end accepts that she needs Chul as a way of coping – in religious terms, this is sort of like finding God, only she is apparently not religious, so she finds Chul, who comforts her instead and replaces her father – and is also a last and only gift from her father).
    The twisted story with diminishing “rules” is Yeon-Joo trying desperately (in several genres of comics) to find a happy ending to the story – which she eventually does only by giving up on all logic and forcing it to happen, as if in a dream (she is probably just a teenager and not well-schooled, though well-read in comics, maybe). As I said, along the way, she goes through stages of grief in saying goodbye to her real father – who vanished without ever being able to return (i.e., he died), going through such stages as denial and disbelief (that he would try to end the comic which sustains her), anger (he becomes a villain and must be opposed), bargaining (her attempts to get him or Soo-Bong or even Chul to find a way to make a happy ending), depression (leading to a possible suicide attempt that we do not see – but which leaves her “dead” – though she survives), to acceptance (her father finally does what she wants – accepts Chul as a companion for her, as does her mother, and then says good-bye to her and vanishes). Story concluded: she has said good-bye to her dad, has entered intro the world of fantasy (gone crazy is one way to look at it), and is happy – in her self-shaped imaginary reality. The whole sequence of her father being controlled by the killer may even be her externalized guilt at forcing her father to slave away at the comic strip until he finally succumbed to his own unhappiness – and lost his own life.

    All of the characters find a place in this interpretation as reflections of her skewed view of the real world (examples: the doctor “boss” is wholly absorbed in her obsession – reflecting her obsession, and Soo-Bong exists mainly to help her fulfill her dream to save Chul and find her happy ending). This way, it all fits (other plot elements can be explained following this framework – it is all in her imagination) – and remember: We never see that greatly desired photograph of Yeon-Joo and Chul in the real world – because he is not real. We only see them represented together in cartoon extracts from comics that she pasted on her wall, after cleaning out her father’s old studio (following his actual death) and in her imaginary, fantasized vision of her reality.

    Should we be happy or sad for Yeon-Joo, who suffered as much as Chul did in life? You decide – but she found her own way to cope, even if that was by stepping out of her unhappy reality. A very well-crafted story, which (as you suggested) was planned from the beginning by the writer.


    • Wow, DTF, that’s a fascinating take on W – honestly, the most interesting and intriguing one I’ve come across to date! I honestly don’t know if that’s the intention of the writer, but your interpretation certainly works well with the story and its details. I’d love to hear what the writer would have to say to your analysis! 😀


      • I did read the excerpts of a Sept. 2016 interview with Song Jae-Jung concerning “W”; I am always very interested in the writer’s view on the writing process and their own works. I don’t think the interview was as in-depth as a conversation with her in one of writing courses might be. But though it seems as if she possibly did not envision such a complex reading as I have posed, we may note a few things (to give her more credit than some would allow, and the full amount that she rightfully deserves). First, that interview can only be a vastly simplified depiction of her overall thought process while plotting this drama (which she did under time pressure and with all the other distractions of writing for TV in South Korea); and we certainly must acknowledge that this was a highly complex story with lots of layers and twists. Second, a writer with such experience may inadvertently create something that may not have been fully realized or intended, almost subconsciously — the “well” for such professionals is deep, and sometimes offers up things that seem to have come without conscious effort, due to having worked on building so many stories in the past. Themes emerge almost by themselves at times to surprise even the writer, once s/he has rested and reviewed the work. Third, the director and actors (as Ms. Song noted) may add to or even change parts of the plot-line as the story is being made for the screen, and there is also input from viewers and producers that factor into the final episode cuts. The net upshot of all of this is that, Ms. Song may not have fully grasped what she was building at the time, and/or she many not have intended/personally scripted all of the final-cut scenes. The story onscreen no doubt emerged after passing through many hands — and may bear more than one direction-vision, and allow for multiple interpretations (at different points or overall). I recall reading too that Ms. Song wanted others eventually to play with the story (which is why she released the scripts that she had written — curiously, before the last two episodes aired). So perhaps she saw it as unfinished, somewhat altered from her original vision, or simply wanted to invite viewers to read into what was concretely depicted in the show (and in her own scripts), using solely their imaginations.

        I applaud Ms. Song’s decision to openly share her writing (apparently not usual in that industry), and also her modesty as an artist. Let us not forget that she is a teacher, won an award for this script, and faces many pressures in her work-life. I would also pose that she possibly did intend to include much of what I theorized — though she may not wish to seem to berate anyone for not seeing all the layers that she included. (I hope that does not sound arrogant on my own part!)

        Everyone who is still reading — please remember to thank Song Jae-Jung for “W,” if you like the show! And do ask her, if you get the chance, about this or your own theory. I am sure she would love to discuss such ideas with dedicated fans and aspiring writers.

        Liked by 1 person

  31. It’s great to know we share the same sentiments! I just finished the drama recently, but I was still mind-boggled so I came to the internet, looking for answers. I thought they would already be answered since it has been months since it last aired. They seriously left a lot of plot holes because, if I remember correctly, my sister and I have been making theories the whole time and there were a lot of things we didn’t get that we just dismissed as something meta. But because the drama was made to make us viewers think, I can’t help but think about all these questions circling in my head.


    • Sigh. Unfortunately, W really did end up with a lot of loose ends and plot holes. Which kind of makes me feel like the initial awesome stretch is ultimately negated, coz all the questions Show raised in the beginning never do get answered. Oh well. I guess it was exciting while it lasted? 😝 My sympathies are with you and your sister, since you ladies spent a lot of time analyzing the show!


  32. Pingback: Year In Review: 2016 | The Fangirl Verdict

  33. I dropped this in the middle of episode 5. At first it was intriguing and cute, I had high hopes. But then I just started to dislike Kang Chul. ALOT. I can’t get invested in a drama if I don’t like both halves of the OTP.


    • Oh my. Yes, if you dislike both leads, it’s definitely not worth pushing on, even if everyone else is loving the show. In this case, I feel like you did the smarter thing, dropping out early. I hung on hoping for Show to provide answers that it never did, and in the end, that disappointed me. It’s not a terrible show, but definitely not as good as I’d hoped it would be.


  34. I give so much credit to this show for being inventive and different. It skips a lot of the tropes (love triangle etc) for a refreshing type of drama. However, around the time dad lost his face, I found myself disassociating from it a bit without even realizing. (I don’t know what episode that was.) I looked forward to without being totally addicted to this show, but at around 20 minutes into episode 13, I took a break and it took me a long time to get back to it. I then hurried through episodes 14 and 15 and just finally got the gumption up to watch 16 yesterday.

    I would highly recommend this drama to fans who need a break from the same ole same ole chaebol/disapproving parent/which man should I pick Korean drama. Nonetheless, some of the emotional impact in the relationships is not there because so much is spent on the crazy crazy that character/relationship growth gets side-lined. And it definitely is a case of instalove though in the gal’s case, I guess one could say she was in love with the character.

    I thought this show did well with the comedic element with my favorite scene with the gal and her doctor boss arguing like two K-drama watchers arguing about any # of things. So funny. I also thought HHJ shined especially in the early episodes when only she knew what was going on in the alternate world. I agree, though, that the actor who played Dad was fantastic. What a great opportunity for often over-looked character actors.

    I just have one question. It seemed when the world opened, there was a card or something that was around/looked at that was going to offer some explanation to how it all happened. Okay, I’ll admit, I was probably loading my dishwasher in the later episodes and missed it, but was a reason for this world opening up ever offered?


    • I’m so sorry for this late reply, Kat! A combination of RL hectic, other backed up reviews, and a week of sore shoulders added up to me being woefully behind on comments! I’m only just getting back on track now. 😛

      W definitely is a show that dared to be different, and I did love the initial episodes very well, they felt so fresh and interesting. And that stretch where Yeon Joo was trying to figure out everything based on her knowledge of manhwa rules was golden. I absolutely agree that Han Hyo Joo did best in that stretch. It’s too bad that Show lost its way like it did, in the final stretch. I can totally understand why you’d take a break from it, only to drag your feet when it came to picking it back up.

      As for the card thing, I have to say that I didn’t notice it showing up in the beginning, and I don’t think it came up again. I wasn’t multitasking while watching this show, so if they’d explained how the world opened up, I should have noticed. The only thing I came away with, though, is the claim that W is a world that exists on its own, and not created by Dad, and Dad’s manhwa only serves as a bridge connecting the two worlds. I.. found that hard to buy, even with artistic license and suspension of disbelief etc. It just wasn’t much of an explanation, and I think that’s Show’s biggest flaw. It never really explained anything, in the end. 😝


  35. Loved how this drama portrayed a creator and questioning ” what power he had to manipulate a character because he held the pen”. *Ehnm hi fangirl not sure this is the right place to ask but will you be reviewing Doctor Crush any time soon am really looking forward to it?*


    • I do plan to review Doctors, raspberry! I’m not sure when, because I’m currently juggling 3 reviews at the moment (Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, Doctors and Cinderella and the Four Knights). But I hope to post the review within the next couple of weeks! 🙂


  36. Hello
    Omy, this drama was so good at the beginning, but I ended up feeling kinda used and mad, like “I had all my feelings in you and you dissapointed me”

    I love all the actors this show had, all the freshness that had in the first part was mind blowing,. I honestly believe that after episode 8 there’s nothing else to watch.
    I agree in most of everything you think, the two worlds portrait and the comic factor was really outstanding, omy the production really nailed with that, specially how Kang Chul and Tae Hwan look like they really come out from a manga, they are so prince like, only beautiness.
    With so many answers to make and so much that was not responded, I conclude my comment.

    Take care :3


    • Aw. Hi5 that we feel so similarly about this show, Tef! This show could’ve been much tighter in offering up answers to all the questions it raised. And absolutely yes, Lee Jong Suk and Lee Tae Hwan were very lovely to look at indeed. I didn’t mention it in my review, but I did enjoy gazing at Lee Tae Hwan very well, ahem. 😉


  37. I think W world still exists after the story ended. In order for Kang Chul to safely transfer to the “real world” his story must end first. I have this theory that the W world has a new lead character or something hahaha 😀
    Nice review 🙂


    • That’s an interesting idea, that the world of W has a new lead character after Kang Chul’s departure 🙂 I think it’s true that the world of W continues to exist after Kang Chul leaves, but I feel like Show never answered the question of how or why W went from being a cartoonist’s creation to becoming its own world. So many questions, and so few answers! Glad you enjoyed the review tho 😉


  38. I totally agree with you! At some point the show is too much for me. I actually watch kdrama to feel good but for this series it made me think too much that it was difficult to follow and understand the rules. It became too much of a chore to me watching this series! Too bad at the start i have high hopes for this series. But you are still nice for giving this a final grade of B


    • Lol. This is definitely not a mindless watch type of drama, you’re right about that! 😆 What worse than making me put in so much effort with the thinking, though, is that Show never does offer much in terms of answers. In comparison, I thought the writer did much better with Nine, which forced me to think really hard, but which at least was more consistent and provided more answers than W ever did. It’s just too bad, since this had the potential to be really special in how different it dared to be.


  39. Nice review!!

    I was underwhelmed by the ending, after being so blown away by the first half. I love, love, love stories where characters come to life, or ‘step off the screen’ or out of a book. Overall it was a very good drama, but I hated that the leading lady lost all her steam and she was merely sitting there listening to plan after plan after plan by Kang Chul, but too weak and exhausted to do much. I got a sense of show and tell. Too much telling, but at least they had showing of the plans. But I get the feeling the writer was crazily trying to tie up all the loose ends, and she did, but in the end, they didn’t give reasons for major developments in the plot. Logic slips and unanswered questions like you said.

    I don’t like when I can’t be bothered to figure things out because that’s just the way the show flows. Be as fantastical and whimsical, science fiction as you like, but I need rhyme and reason.

    Lee Jong Suk wasn’t kidding when he said he did a lot of talking in this drama. After a while it felt like he was just spouting lines in that ultra casual, kind of stiff way reset Kang Chul had.

    The special effects were cool, and I liked how you could just draw stuff and it would pop up in the W world. The underwater sequence in the restaurant was amazing.

    I felt bad for the father, I guess writernim was bringing home that he’s the creator of this world and character and he has to pay the price for literally murdering Kang Chul himself. Not only that, two or three people in the real world were murdered by his killer creation. And so sad for their families, to get no closure on the killer. I guess they can chalk it up to some crazy in a costume based off the W manhwas. Kind of like here in America being terrorized by killer clowns right now.

    I really don’t know how the killer took the father’s face. I get that the drama is fantasy to begin with, but at least explain the mechanics of that. It felt put in for shock value, but it wore after a while and you’re left scratching your head on how this man could survive.

    And our OTP got their quiet, bittersweet, ending, but what happened to the rest of W world? Did they fade out of existence like the father? The story ended! 😦 How sad! Or is this like the Never ending Story, where as long as people keep reading, the stories never stop or die? Again, no explanation.

    I really wanted Kang Chul’s besties to become a couple, or come into the real world with him! Remember when Soo Bong claimed to have the biggest crush on the female character? He did so much, he deserved to meet her in person!

    And another thing, I would’ve liked to have seen the reaction of more readers, besides that crazy doctor. The story went off the wall crazy! Where was all the media reaction, since it was a best-seller and flying off the shelves?

    I was hoping for some real meta, with the Media announcement of a W movie or drama in the making and the casting of actor Lee Jong Suk as the hero. Hahaha. And then Oh Soo Yon could casually say, “Kang Chul, he looks nothing like you.” LOL. The show could’ve used a little levity like that. If i were writernim I think you know I’d throw that in. hahaha.


    • I’ll try to answer some of your questions, as I’m also working on analyzing the “rules” of this drama on my blog:

      1) There ARE Two Worlds ( Yeon-Joo’s and Kang-Chul’s. the W manhwa is a “window” to the other world, while Sung-Moo’s drawing tablet is the gateway. the manhwa-ish fantastic phenomena we’ve seen like the disappearing of limbs is simply because it can happen in either worlds. it’s a consequence of forgetting WHO you are or WHY you want to live. it can be a metaphorical approach by the screenwriter, all I’m saying is there’s no need to dissect it further, it just happens in this show (

      2) Only one can exist in either World. be it a person or an object. this was tackled quite subtly, but I hope it’s a given that the show never allowed the same item nor character existing simultaneously in both worlds. this explains Sung-Moo’s missing face–in YJ’s world it ceased to exist as it was “borrowed” by Not Dad in the other world. why did they make SM monster-like or pretty much a golem? not entirely sure, but it must be the screenwriter’s artistic (or ironically, literal) interpretation of losing one’s face. it’s kind of lazy writing for me, they seem to just went, “OK, SM gave his face to Not Dad, so his body still exists in YJ’s world, but the rest is in KC’s world, so SM is not human for now but it’s OK we’ll just hide him in a room because he’s scary to look at”

      5) The interdimensional events only matter to those directly involved, because Apathy Killed the Cat ( the showrunners made sure to keep the circle of interdimensional travelers small, because they seem to not want to expound on the plot or make things more complex for viewers who are already losing interest. this is why I believe the show started off as science fiction but eventually switched to generic fantasy romance, and left a lot of loose ends.

      not sure if that helps, and I’d love hear everyone’s thoughts because this show legit made me crazy 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like the explanations you gave. I’ll check out your blog post too. I was left feeling unsure if there were actually 2 worlds, but that works. So I can assume the W world still exists without Kang Chul.

        That’s a cool interpretation. “Losing one’s face” literally. It didn’t cross my mind.

        Yes, it would complicate things to have a bunch of inter-dimensional travelers. But, but, they could’ve added just 2 more. Lol.


        • thanks!
          just a disclaimer, (which I should have posted instead of a duplicate reply) none of those is an original idea. I don’t regularly blog about my analyses on the shows I watch (I have friends who take the brunt of my rants lol), I just so happen to be most intrigued with W because it’s the first Kdrama that I’ve seen that ventured into science fiction tropes. though I’m more of a science fiction geek, I have been watching Kdramas since 2001, so imagine my delight when I thought I finally found the drama that directly speaks to my soul, and then realize it doesn’t.

          anyway, about the show avoiding adding more interdimensional travelers, I think that’s where Prof Park comes in: { “…when attention is drawn to something that is so strange it threatens to break the Willing Suspension of Disbelief.” I think the show blatantly called out any possibility of Kang Chul’s world being as real as Yeon-Joo’s world in the form of Prof Park (heavily done in episode 13). so passersby who might have witnessed any of the interdimensional stuff can’t be any more curious, surprised sure but they’ll move on quickly, because in this show only the Main Characters care (

          I think I’ll add that one to my blog post, thanks 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • I know that feeling, where you just have to get your thoughts out there. I don’t have a drama blog, but it’s good to find blogs where you can freely vent and rant in the comment section. Lol

            Wow, in all those years, no major sci-Fi? That’s sad. My Love From another star seemed promising. It had its moments, but then all the promising Sci Fi ideas were just a cover for a Noona romance at its core.

            There’s also Joseon X Files, but I couldn’t get truly invested with that. I tried.


            • lol if not I’ll just tweet stuff, my blog is mainly for making gifs and fanart 🙂 I read reviews to check if there’s anything I missed or if I’m just the only one who thought of this or that, and thefangirlverdict helps me a lot to see things at a different viewpoint.

              none that I know of…My Love From the Star, Queen In-Hyun’s Man, even a recent one like Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart – Ryeo have elements of science fiction, but their plots do not revolve around exploring or gaining knowledge about them. just as W stopped understanding how the two worlds work or discovering how and why the tablet does what it does. I have yet to watch Jang Youngsil ( because I love Song Il Guk, but it’s factual historical drama centered on the main character doing science, I think, so I guess it’s still not sci-fi 😛

              Liked by 1 person

    • I’d like to try and answer some of your questions as I’m also trying to analyze some of the rules of this drama on my blog:

      1) There ARE Two Worlds ( Yeon-Joo’s and Kang-Chul’s. the W manhwa is a “window” to the other world, while Sung-Moo’s drawing tablet is the gateway. the manhwa-ish fantastic phenomena we’ve seen like the disappearing of limbs is simply because it can happen in either worlds. it’s a consequence of forgetting WHO you are or WHY you want to live. it can be a metaphorical approach by the screenwriter, all I’m saying is there’s no need to dissect it further, it just happens in this show (

      2) Only one can exist in either World. be it a person or an object. this was tackled quite subtly, but I hope it’s a given that the show never allowed the same item nor character existing simultaneously in both worlds. this explains Sung-Moo’s missing face–in YJ’s world it ceased to exist as it was “borrowed” by Not Dad in the other world. why did they make SM monster-like or pretty much a golem? not entirely sure, but it must be the screenwriter’s artistic (or ironically, literal) interpretation of losing one’s face. it’s kind of lazy writing for me, they seem to just went, “OK, SM gave his face to Not Dad, so his body still exists in YJ’s world, but the rest is in KC’s world, so SM is not human for now but it’s OK we’ll just hide him in a room because he’s scary to look at”

      5) The interdimensional events only matter to those directly involved, because Apathy Killed the Cat ( the showrunners made sure to keep the circle of interdimensional travellers small, because they seem to not want to expound the plot or make things more complex for viewers who are already losing interest. this is why I believe the show started off as science fiction but eventually switched to generic fantasy romance, and left a lot of loose ends.

      not sure if that helped, but I’d love to hear what everyone thinks 🙂


    • You know what, you are such a writer, my dear! I can totally see your writer juices going to work when you don’t like how a show is working. You automatically come up with alternative ideas, which is very cool. I love your idea of Soo Bong getting to meet his big crush. He was already fanboying so hard when he met Kang Chul, can you imagine how he would’ve flailed to have met So Hee? OMG the potential awesome! 😂😂

      I totally agree that writer-nim didn’t provide enough rhyme and reason for the events in this show. I get that sometimes it’s preferred for audiences to figure things out themselves – but that’s provided that things can actually be figured out, right? As far as I can tell, there are a lot of things in this show that just have no explanation whatsoever, and that writer-nim wouldn’t have an answer too, if the questions were posed to her, I suspect.

      I do think Faceless Dad was a plot point that was inserted for the shock value more than anything else. And I did sort of gasp out loud when he first appeared on my screen. But when that wore on and there was no explanation given, I grew weary of the zombie angle pretty fast. It didn’t make sense to me, coz Killer Guy had taken his face, not his brain. Killer Guy was still operating on his own brain, as far as we could tell. So logically speaking, Dad should’ve still been able to think rather than reduced to a zombie without any personal agency. This is why I think some stuff wasn’t very well thought through. Which is a pity, coz if better handled, this show could’ve been so cool.


      • Hi Fangurl!

        I am re-watching the drama two years later, and noting some more explanations that fit with my earlier psychological interpretation of this drama. (I know you are unsure of the writer(s)’ intention, but I feel even more convinced that this is a psycho-analysis story, like “Inception” (film, 2010) and “Fabricated City” (S. Korean film, 2017) since I picked up a copy of “Basic Freud” by Michael Kahn, Ph.D. and read up on Freudian defense mechanisms, and related Freudian analysis definitions and concepts; this Show is VERY Freudian).

        About the faceless Dad: This happens when the second attempt to make a happy story fails — the romance was no good; then there was the Dad-(and Chul)-proposed story to finish with a “happy ending” which made everyone happy except our main protagonist Yeon-joo. She was NOT happy because this solution would still mean the end of the webtoon, and thus the end of her attempts to make Chul her own boyfriend/husband. So, she (controlled momentarily by her ID impulses) over-rides the SUPEREGO attempt of her (dead) father to force her back to reality and away from the fantasy character Chul by overpowering her father’s will (and body). The killer (now motivated by her subconscious mind and ID impulse to have Chul) ruins the second “happy ending” story by killing a load of people — ensuring that the webtoon will continue for an indefinite time while she figures out what to do. (This is all still in Stage 3, Negotiation, of her five stages of grief; and this represents her next-to-last last attempt to make the webtoon work. In the very last one, she will allow Chul to do it, since he is a genius and very capable — as she conceived him originally, and as Dad later maintained.)

        Back to Dad: Since Yeon-joo has over-ridden his will, he becomes temporarily powerless (a slave to her ID will), and since he was the real force behind the idea to end the webtoon in the “happy ending” scenario that she disliked, his face becomes the Killer’s face. He was the real Killer in the beginning anyway and had originally wanted to end the webtoon, in her mind, as Dad said to Chul before Chul shot him; i.e., there was no killer, hence the writer of the webtoon (Dad) was the killer then. So Dad is getting the blame here, but it is really Yeon-joo who is using his face to personify the killing motive — which she ironically rubs in Dad’s (faceless) face by using that killing spree to lengthen the webtoon’s duration. (Yeon-joo is actually controlling all of these projections in a sort of multi-personality fantasy — so it is really all her, and the story is her battle to A) come to terms with her father’s death and her grief about him, and B) to take Chul as a substitute for him in her life, despite Dad’s implied and Show-reflected objection to her having an imaginary instead of a real boyfriend. He really did care about his daughter. Both problems in her mind will be resolved in the end when she makes Dad allow the union before she bids Dad fare well.)

        When the Killer in Dad’s face shoots Yeon-joo, nearly killing her (but she does not ultimately die — this story is hers, and she is the only real live star), she is “committing suicide” (self-punishment) out of extreme guilt for what she did to Dad (which was not very nice nor Confucian). She is also then upset that her attempt three is going badly again, and this is an ultimate expression of the SUPEREGO’s return in her internal battle to punish her for allowing her ID to be too strong and reckless. But Chul will kill the Killer (saving her story and her hope), and Dad will regain his face. This is the beginning of the 5th, Acceptance, stage of the five stages of grief — when Dad accepts that she and Chul should be a couple, and she accepts that Dad must finally blink-out and be gone forever (thus, she accepts his death, and replaces him in her life with Chul — who is imaginary, but a comfort to her to the extent that she made him real in her mind-fantasy, and who is after all a gift to her from her father; we should also recall that his permission is probably partly premised on the idea that Chul once saved Dad — in his real life — from depression by becoming his great cartoon-writer achievement, that she gave the idea for Chul to her Dad, and now Chul — refined by Dad — has saved Yeon-joo as well; this for her justifyies their relationship and over-rides Dad’s earlier objection which had caused her continuing ANXIETY in the Freudian sense).

        Lots of verbiage — apologies! (And if I included more typos, I will beg forgiveness now.) Did you miss me a little? If you (or anyone here) are into psycho-analysis shows (apparently a popular theme in South Korean film and drama writing in recent years, following “Inception”), try reading about Freud’s theories of how the mind works. You can find this online. The writers / production contributors of this show certainly seem to have done some basic research, even if they will not admit it in their interviews! 🙂 (PS: I wrote two other entries in 2019 about “Inception” and “Fabricated City” below. All are sort of sci-fi and psychological themed shows, much like this one in its basic premise.)



  40. Thank you, fangirl! I have been looking forward to your thoughts about W.

    I diid watch the entire show, and I was absolutely enthralled by the world-bending story, but especially by the philosophical questions it posed…… and I ended up having way too much fun imagining other protagonists rising up against their creators, Heathcliff, Anna Karenina, etc! There was such an amazing brilliance to the first half of W.

    I felt there was a triple whammy that affected the story arc; the partial pre-emption for the Olympics (which threw it off kilter) followed by the reboot of Kang Chul (without enough time spent for our OTP to re-establish their relationship) and lastly, yes, the gradual, hissing leak of world logic.

    For me, the production, direction, art and acting were flawless and I would normally look to the writer for story issues. She did release the script and I will probably try to read, if I can find it translated.

    Side note: I had such a hard time watching, and re-watching the rooftop stab scenes of Kang chul…and I wondered if that was done deliberately? To make us empathize with him and see him real vs. manwha character?

    As always, I so appreciate the insight and thoughtfulness you give to these reviews.



    • Those stabbing scenes were very hard to watch, and I hated early on the constant replay of his family getting gunned down in their house. That was just unnecessary.


    • I’m so sorry this reply is coming so late, Mary!! October was a crazy month for me, Real-Life-wise, and I’m only just now catching up on all the comments!

      Thank you for your encouragement on the reviews, it really does make me happy to know that you enjoy reading them! HUGS. ❤

      How fun, that the first half of W tickled your imagination so much, that you started imagining other protagonists rising up against their creators! That’s a mark of creative success in my books, and it’s a crying shame that the second half of W went downhill the way it did. Not with a bang (which might’ve been more painful – or perhaps less, I can’t decide), but with a slow hiss, just as you described. I definitely felt the loss of pre-reboot Kang Chul, and I found Kang Chul 2.0 a different person, somehow. Perhaps it was the fact that he never had Kang Chul 1.0’s memories. And yes, Show didn’t take the time to rebuild his relationship with Yeon Joo. I always felt like Kang Chul 2.0 was acting more out of loyalty and a sense of keeping Kang Chul 1.0’s word for him, than out of an organic, self-grown sense of love and care for Yeon Joo. That’s probably also why I felt a sense of detachment from this OTP. I wanted a happy ending for them, but I wasn’t ever heart-in-my-throat right-there-with-them like I wanted to be.

      That’s a really interesting take on the repeated stabbing flashback, Mary! If we keep seeing Kang Chul getting stabbed, it reminds us of his mortality – and you can only really have mortality if you’re.. well, mortal. That, or they spent a lot of money filming that scene and wanted to milk every last possible drop of screentime out of it as possible, ha! 😂


  41. I think the showrunners initially wanted to risk an underused genre like science fiction, but balked at the start of the 2nd half as the ratings dropped, and went all-out fantasy-romance 😛 anyone who watches a lot of sci-fi would immediately pick-up the tropes used in the show, but the flip-floppy way they dealt with time was most noticeable. I also think Professor Park Min Soo was the showrunners’ interpretation of the audience feedback, but now I’m convinced he instead reflects the emotion of the screenwriter herself xD basically, the show addressed it’s own shortcomings by inserting a fanboy commenting about them. personally, I loved how they break the 4th wall with humor like this, but the show in general wasn’t as phenomenal as I had hoped, it’s just OK.


    • I’m not sure about whether the show actually changed directions, now that you mention it.. I read somewhere that this particular writer had her entire script mapped out very early on, because it’s just that twisty and bendy of a story. If that’s the case, then it’s less likely that the story got switched out for something else partway through. It’s still possible that certain tweaks were made in response to ratings and audience feedback, but I guess we might never know the truth of it.

      I did feel the Professor’s reactions mirrored the audience’s, particularly when things went extra wonky and he started tearing his hair out, haha! 😂 Sigh, if only Show hadn’t given him – and us – reason to do that. The if onlys and could’ve beens with this one, seriously. 😛


  42. I dropped it after a few episodes (it feels as if I’m on a dropping spree!). There were way too many questions and surprises without explanation of anything and no rules to rule this fantasy world. Also, the romance happened way too fast (even if it was sweet) and I didn’t care much for any character.


    • You were quick on the uptake with dropping this then, snow!! I loved the first half, and that’s why I stayed for the second half. But Show never did recover and was never as good as its initial episodes. And you’re so right, the romance happened so fast that I didn’t really get how they fell in love. I rationalized that people become close much faster when facing life-and-death stakes together, but still, that only halfway convinced me. You didn’t miss all that much by dropping this one! 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Once again, your review is on point! I agree with all the things you liked and disliked.
    It started on a high and I was loving it so much. Then it started throwing all these curve balls and my brain was working too hard and not getting answers…aiyo…I had to put it on hold at Ep 11 cos RL and then couldn’t muster any enthusiasm to pick it up again. I really wanted to finish it.


    • Aw, hi5 SOSsy, that we felt so similarly about this show – and commiserations that it left you so disappointed in the wake of its initial awesome. 😝 I felt pretty let down by how Show fizzled down to its loose-threads-everywhere sort of finale. After such an awesome start, this wasn’t the show that I thought I’d signed up for. You’re not missing much by not finishing this one, but it’s still sad that there was so much wasted potential in this. :/


  44. Oh my gosh my dear friend… so spot on. Remember when this blew our minds in the beginning and then… pfffft? I haven’t watched the last episode actually. I just read a recap somewhere–that’s how uninterested I got. And i may be biased (of course you know why hahahaha) but the OTP at the end didn’t sell it for me. The love story was too rushed and shallow. It had it’s moments but something about them didn’t quite stick. Made me almost wish I didn’t have a bias… I would have loved to see what the legions of OTP fans were seeing and squeeing about. Individually, they moved me but together? It drained me because of all the back and forth and resets.

    You know what I absolutely loved? Soo Bong and the amazing acting of the Dad.

    Thank you for this review!!! Happy to comment again after SO SO LONG. ❤


    • Jo!! Thanks for stopping by again, I know life’s been really busy for ya. HUGS. ❤

      It’s not that you’re biased, honestly. I’m not biased (as in, I don’t ship the same OTP you do – or any at all, for that matter), and even I didn’t feel convinced of this OTP. I feel like Show threw them together and had them fall in love way too fast. I rationalized it to the best of my ability, but even then, I wasn’t ever really convinced that this OTP was in love for any other reason than that they were supposed to be. The reboot didn’t help matters, since Kang Chul 2.0 had even less reason to love Yeon Joo. So yeah. I don’t think it was your existing bias that made it feel hollow for you, if that helps. 🙂

      And omigosh YES, Soo Bong is ❤. I loved his flaily nervouse wide-eyed ways. So very cute! I want Soo Bong to have his own show now. 😂


  45. Loved this show from start to finish. I was 100% good with the ending too 🙂 An amazing and creative allegory of how to properly write fiction; it’s not perfect but is so much better than the usual fare. Not a easy, breezy watch, but worth the effort.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw, I’m glad W worked out so well for you, shamrockmom! I wanted to love it, but I only really loved the first half. I couldn’t make satisfactory sense of the remaining half, and felt like even with effort, it wasn’t hitting the (or any) spot for me.. A pity, since I really wanted to like it. You’re very right though – it was daring and much different from the average kdrama. Respect to the folks who dared to approve this and run with it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  46. Nod nod nod nod. Thank you for the very accurate to my feelings review! I agree that it simmered and fizzled a good bit half way in the attempt to keep changing it up and the romance felt a little too staged. But it was still worthy because of the execution of the concept and the main acting. I could see their suffering in the making of and that helped with appreciating their efforts even more.


    • Heh. Glad we feel similarly about this show, lyricalpeach! 🙂 It did feel like Show wanted to keep changing things up, but sorta-kinda backed itself into a corner. The romance did feel too staged, and I never felt emotionally invested in their loveline. I was more interested in the overall story and execution, which had more of a wow factor for me – at least, it did before it became apparent that Show twisting itself into a futile knot. 😝


  47. I’ve enjoyed the drama a lot up to the third reset. I did not like the dad losing his face cause it has been pretty logical until that happened. Daddy did a very good act as the Dad and the villain. Right, I too did not loose interest but it diminished.


    • Oh yes, Dad losing his face was anything BUT logical. I still don’t get it, and I did try to figure it out. I don’t get how he could survive, not being able to breathe. Or eat or drink. And I don’t get why he had to become a zombie, since Killer Guy only took over his face and not his brain. It just didn’t make sense, and Show didn’t make much of an effort to explain it either. “I ate him up” just doesn’t count for anything, seriously! 😝 But Kim Eui Sung did a fab job portraying both Dad and Killer Guy. Impressive stuff indeed. 🙂


  48. i dropped the drama in the midst of the 10th episode lmao. it was good at first tho.


  49. I totally agree with you … I have difficulties to finish this drama because of what you explained so precisely. Well executed, fresh ideas when comparing to the currently airing dramas, good acting, interesting story (the deep link of an author with his/her creation) … but 16 episodes is far too long. The story starts to go in circle. I am at episode 13 and I want to skip to the end …
    I will let you what I think of the end.


    • Did you end up finishing W, Ocha?? I found myself dragging my feet towards the end, because I no longer found it as engaging nor as exciting, and the story seemed to cycle in place in spots too. I do think it could’ve been a better show if it had been much shorter, coz then maybe we wouldn’t have needed Show to pull so many tricks out of the bag to keep the story going..


  50. i can’t finish this drama , dropped it at ep 6, it’s theme is too much for me hahaha, but i heard and from this rating, it’s quite a nice watch, 🙂


    • Actually, from what I know of your drama tastes, I don’t think this is your kind of show, Nancy.. I did love the first half, and even then, I found the second half lacking. If you dropped it as early as E6, I doubt you’d like the rest of the show! 😛


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