TL;DR: Yeah, sure, the shippable moments are cute, but why aren’t you freaking out about The Killer? And So-hee?
I am beyond excited that Seung-moo’s rant about creating Chul came back to haunt everyone. Because, of course, a hero with a will of steel would need a villain just as implacable as he is. It made the brief glimpse we caught of The Killer in episode six even more momentous because it was immediately preceded by Soo-bong and Yeon-joo wondering what had happened to change “The End” into “To Be Continued.”
Sure, maybe Chul’s confession that he kept thinking about Yeon-joo is partially true, and that’s why she appeared briefly in the river. Maybe it was part of the reason why the ending stopped being an ending. But if The Killer has a steel will, just like Chul, then it could very well be that The Killer had its first chance to defy a plot point that didn’t make sense to it: Chul’s suicide. (It came to the Han River. It stared down at the waters Chul had chosen to drown himself in and rejected it. That’s not what its purpose was, to watch its nemesis end itself. The ending it was supposed to have was an epic showdown where only one person could walk away.)
Both scenes with The Killer’s voice and words were absolutely terrifying, especially when The Killer reminded us that its first purpose wasn’t to kill Chul—it was to kill Chul’s family. And now Chul has family again, thanks to his paper marriage to Yeon-joo. On the one hand, I’m delighted to see the backstory rear its ugly head in new and awful ways; on the other, I’m worried that this might damsel-fy Yeon-joo. If she is the newly crowned heroine of W, then I hope she is able to be something other than the damsel in distress. I doubt she would be able to control The Killer beyond making it show up at a time and place to go after Chul, which could be useful if they set up a trap for an Epic Final Confrontation.
Speaking of heroines, I’m terrified for So-hee. While Chul hasn’t figured it out yet, So-hee is disappearing. Her position in the comic has been usurped, and the fact that she has started to disappear after handing over her letter of resignation (sadly) confirms that she was ultimately meant to be Chul’s prize at the end of the comic once he had found The Killer and finished up the plot.
She’s vanishing (and doesn’t realize it) because her role in the comic is drawing to a close. (Would she have disappeared after walking away if Chul hadn’t intended to talk to her?) She is superfluous now that Yeon-joo is there, and that is heartbreaking. My hope is that with Yeon-joo stepping into the role of creator, she will figure out what’s going on and a way to keep So-hee engaged in the plot instead of just…ceasing to exist.
(I hope this is some kind of meta commentary on the nature of women’s roles in media: if she isn’t there to be romanced, she just plain doesn’t need to exist. Ugh. How awful.)
I’m currently betting Chul’s existential crisis isn’t over, not by a long shot. He can’t possibly have gotten over his entire life and world being the pulpy entertainment for the masses. Yeah, sure, makeouts are nice, but makeouts don’t cure suicidal thoughts and the crushing realization that he isn’t “real.” Persephunee on tumblr had an excellent post discussing why she doesn’t think Chul is really in love with Yeon-joo yet, and I would have to agree.
Chul can certainly be intrigued by Yeon-joo and feel like he owes her for saving his life more than once. He can resent her and her power over his life, too, all while harboring a crush on her. And maybe because he is a thriller manhwa hero, I can maybe even give him a bit of a pass in the instalove department.
Maybe slotting himself into the boyfriend seemed like as good a direction as any other. If his decade-long desire for revenge is quite literally meaningless, well, he might as well take the shot for a provocative 19+ fantasy, right? What else is he supposed to do when he is struggling to come to terms with himself and his world?
I mean, kisses and cuddling are certainly nicer for him than risking his life on a constant basis in a Sisyphean hunt for someone who is even less “real” than he is because his creator is a hack who doesn’t plot ahead.
The role-play romance between Chul and Yeon-joo was almost cute enough for me to forget about Chul’s emotional crisis
and my still unresolved irritation at him shooting her. I keep trying to not let these doubts color the fanservice, but it’s pretty hard to keep them separate. (I did appreciate that moment where they looked at each other in the mirror and had to acknowledge that this could very much be temporary and abruptly ended.) I worry that their foundation is more bubble than substance and that something is about to make it pop…
You know, like a murderer who is more malevolent force than person.
By the Numbers
- Confessions: 1
- Makeouts: 1
- Paper marriages: 1
- People walking in on the couple: 2
- Newspapers with atrocious headlines: 3
- Bechdel Test: 5 episodes passed