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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "W" Episode 12

2016/08/31

For once, an episode of "W" ends without a shocking revelation prompting an intense cliffhanger. To date director Jeong Dae-yoon has done a very good job keeping the excitement quotient so high that the general craziness of the overall proceedings has never been in question. But this time, with Cheol focused as he is on life in the "Real" world, rather than his revenge fantasy, well, the more magical aspects of the story are more difficult to ignore.

But yet again the characters themselves are clearly punished for not paying attention to how to manufacture a proper plot, so I'm torn as to the extent whether "W" is really out of ideas or whether I'm just getting tired of the concept. I suspect it's a combination of both, even if much of the repitition is by design. Cheol is making the same choices now that he did the last time Yeon-joo came into his life, after all.

Yet since this is only the eleventh episode of a sixteen episode drama, we know the solution has to be illusory and that a new conflict will have to jump out of nowhere. For that, I recommend not watching the preview, which more than being a spoiler also manages to come off as a little disappointing because it indicates we're just going to move through the same cycle yet again. Or I don't know, maybe Cheol will actually do some on-the-ground investigating this time instead of just relying on magic comic writing powers, which I've discussed ad nauseum at this point.

You know what I haven't discussed? Lee Si-eon. Which is a shame, because he really is such a great performer. While Lee Si-eon only ever gets to do support roles, he is so very good at them. Soo-bong is always rolling with the punches in "W", not because he is in any way at ease with the situation, but because he is in a subordinate position to more important people and he knows it.

Soo-bong brings an important human element to "W" without which I think the drama would come off as much more gimmicky. He simply reacts to all these crazy situations the way a normal person would, and this offers some very important perspective when it comes to making the inherently unrealistic premise seem more down-to-earth. It's only now that I'm really noticing the cracks in this story, and Soo-bong has been a very good distractor for that.

Review by William Schwartz

"W" is directed by Jeong Dae-yoon, written by Song Jae-jeong and features Lee Jong-suk, Han Hyo-joo, Jung Yoo-jin, Lee Tae-hwan, Park Won-sang, and more.

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