This is definitely a year where Kdramaland goes metaphysical and existentialist on us. First we had Signal, where past/present/future melds into one, and now we have W, and a discourse on reality vs. a construction of reality.
I am rather curious on how W will end. Will Kang-chul step out into the “real” world (noting the irony that the so-called “real” world is a kdrama named after “W“) or will Yeon-joo be forever trapped (willingly) in W‘s world? Hopefully the ending will be satisfying — I’m not even hoping for a nicely wrapped one, an open-ended one can do, but it HAS to resolve the fundamental premise which the narrative hinges on.
As it is, the world of “W” is created by Sung-moo, and being a creator, he can be seen as a “God”. Thus, other than the central figure of Kang-chul, minor characters need no storyline — since Sung-moo (and the webtoon readers) are uninterested in them. However, W begs the question of what if the world we are watching/ reading is real? Naturally those “minor” characters who flit in and out of the frames as fillers need a background, a history, and motivation for their actions too.
It becomes rather scary and disorienting for the “minor” characters (like the nurse who tries to murder Kang-chul) to have no idea on the genesis of their actions. Similarly, when Sung-moo draws Kang-chul (and thereby orders) him to go up to the rooftop to let himself to be assassinated, he is puzzled as to why he allows himself to do that, knowing full well it’s a trap. The idea of free will doesn’t apply if Kang-chul and the characters in “W” are webtoon figures/ drama figures…but when they become real, the issue becomes complicated.
Like the movie Matrix, where the “real” world is torn apart and shown to be a clever piece of engineered project, W is also treading those waters. Kang-chul realizes he is nothing but somebody else’s imagination and creation, and I don’t blame him if he is reeling from the existential “Who am I?” question.
To further muddy the waters, W also places a “real-world” person into “W”‘s world. Kang-chul isn’t wrong to say that Yeon-joo is “the Key” to his existence, she IS. Her father is both his creator and nemesis. Sung-moo has breathed life into Kang-chul by pulling him out (metaphorically speaking) from his own brain, and naturally, he thinks he has the right to destroy him. Yeon-joo is the wild card. Unlike Sung-moo, who is horrified at the thought that his creation had come to life and is acting on his own, Yeon-joo maintains a more sympathetic stance. She doesn’t see the need to destroy Kang-chul, even though I believe she also thinks the idea of a manhwa world being real is scary.
And being trapped inside a manhwa world? Fantastically scary. (i dun blame her for wanting to run away at every opportunity)