[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 20 (final) 2015/08/23,
Despite the neatly tied ending, "Mask"'s finale didn't truly end cleanly. There are too many "could-have-beens" and ideas that were proposed, but never seen through to fruition. So much of the ending was smiling at the camera for ages or making sure that each villain received his just deserts. What it did do right was show Ji-sook and Min-woo living mask-free and as themselves without being fettered by lies and deceit. Ji-sook decided to come clean and reveal the truth, to remove the "Mask" for which the show is named,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 19 2015/08/23,
Episode 19 of "Mask" felt like an attempt to prolong the inevitable end. Each scene went on a bit too long. Each emotional scene was irreverently dramatic in order to fake a few feels and create a tension that had long since seeped away. The Min-woo/Ji-sook couple has become a representation of love rather than telling their own story,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 18 2015/08/23,
Some of this episode was cleverly wrought while the rest of it was reused material that was weaker with the repeated use. The development of Mi-yeon and Seok-hoon continues to be riveting while the contrived behavior of Ji-sook and the battles between family members and the money-hungry grow wearier. Let's get the overused stuff out of the way,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 17 2015/08/16,
Sabotage is the name of the game. Seok-hoon attempts it out of need for revenge; Mi-yeon attempts it out of emotional despair; both Min-woo and Ji-sook battle the powerful emotional tide of the unhappy Seok-hoon and Mi-yeon. The others of their family and work place are dragged along with the roaring tide. "Mask" juxtaposes the Min-woo/Ji-sook and Seok-hoon/Mi-yeon couples to great effect this episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 16 2015/08/16, "Mask" still has secrets floating around, but they are no longer the focus. The focus is on what the characters choose to do with their knowledge. They dance around feelings and play games of noble idiocy or vicious ignorance. The heart of this episode was the relationship between Min-woo and Ji-sook as herself, not as Eun-ha,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 15 2015/08/16,
The struggle to adapt to secrets is often as difficult for characters as it is to keep those secrets. Now that Ji-sook's major truth has been made known to Min-woo, other truths have begun to leak, dragging down loved ones as the secrets attempt to remain hidden from the world. Ji-sook's truth causes Min-woo to real for most of the episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 14 2015/08/16,
As I said in the last review, it really is the calm before the storm. Ji-sook's truth has been revealed to all major players. The next episode will tell us how Min-woo reacts, but the build up in this episode was well-wrought. Mi-yeon is on a vengeful path fueled by the pain of loss and betrayal,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 13 2015/08/09,
As truths are slowly revealed to key players, the weather grows quickly stormy and as unstable as an electrical storm. In the eye of the storm Ji-sook and Min-woo slowly grow their love, and although it's sweet, this is truly just the calm before the storm for their relationship. The burgeoning love between Ji-sook and Min-woo is made possible because first Min-woo, and then Ji-sook, allowed him and herself to open up to love and the fact that they must trust another person,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 12 2015/08/09, "Mask" continues to barrel forward, uncovering surprises along the way. Ji-sook is turning into a formidable opponent not only for Seok-hoon, but also for the greedy loan shark who trails behind their family like a starving dog. What this episode reveals is that Seok-hoon is completely fallible and his wife, Mi-yeon, could become the newest opponent. It also shows us that romance can be both beautiful to watch and useful as a plot tool. Now that Ji-sook has found strength of will and realized what she can do in her new position of wealth and affluence, she is now more open to Min-woo's charms and affections,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 11 2015/07/26,
For the first time we see the potential in Ji-sook actualized. She is a fierce woman to be reckoned with, which is not at all what Seok-hoon expected. Watching the power balance between them even had is not only satisfying, it's great writing. Seok-hoon has had such overwhelming power over all the characters in "Mask" that it was beginning to feel infinite and real. Now we see he is just a very clever, very evil, very selfish man. Seok-hoon is the pivotal character of the show,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 10 2015/07/19,
Despite the melodrama in this melodrama, this episode of "Mask" was particularly fantastic. The character writing is so strong that it pulls the hectic storyline together. Characters who have taken longer to build up, like Mi-yeon, have begun to blossom and we can expect to see some definite action from them in the future. Normally in a drama like this, betrayal and power struggles overwhelm any sort of character development. "Mask" seems like it will be overtaken by the melodrama, and those many moments when a new problem surfaces can get exasperating, but I find myself eager to see how characters will handle these new situations,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 9 2015/07/17, "Mask" has taken a turn for the epically dramatic. And despite the fact that it has become a little ridiculous, it still has that special something that makes it a great watch. The characters are so well-planned that the incredulous amount of bad luck that befalls Ji-sook can almost be overlooked. So much stacks up against our heroine that it's difficult to digest,...More
[HanCinema Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 8 2015/07/12,
Drama tropes are used in abundance in this episode. They are merely tools to vamp up tension in this already high-tension drama. That said, the outcome of the trope usage has cleverly accelerated plot motion. A melodrama is not a melodrama with tears and a sick person, but "Mask" uses them well, as well as Seok-hoon uses Ji-sook. The two major tropes that played a major role in this episode were family illness and a person from the past making an all-too-convenient reappearance in order to stir up a main character,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 7 2015/07/06,
Min-woo has completely fallen for Ji-sook and that brings cuteness and jealousy into tonal tapestry. To counter the levity of Min-woo's burgeoning first love is the fact that Ji-sook's secret is slowly leaking to those who knew her and creating new troubles for Seok-hoon's master plan. Joo Ji-hoon is completely winning as the rigid Min-woo who falls in love with the only person in his life who is genuinely kind to him,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 6 2015/07/05,
There was a lot of development in episode 6 of "Mask". It was all for the better. We got to see inside the hearts of many of the characters and that shaped all the elements that had the potential to be overly dramatic into effective plot moments. The most important aspect of the episode was that we got to see past the veils of many of the characters,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 5 2015/07/02,
Romance starts in earnest in episode 5 of "Mask". It is the catalyst for change in Min-woo's brickwall personality and it is the one small happiness for Ji-sook in her new, masked life. Surrounding that romance is the darkness of intrigue, deceit, and the hunt for more money and power. Seok-hoon is a master manipulator and revels in his conquests,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 4 2015/07/01, "Mask" keeps the tension high as Ji-sook and Seok-hoon butt heads. Min-woo skirts on the fringes of their tense relationship, struggling with his illness and his ambition. Already the effects of Ji-sook's presence in his life are obvious, but they are not yet strong enough to distract for the incredible tension between Ji-sook and Seok-hoon. As with any melodrama, Ji-sook is faced with scheming in-laws and never ending misfortunates,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 3 2015/06/29,
What makes "Mask" unique is the view that each character has of his or herself. There is the villain, Seok-hoon, who sees himself has deserving the fruits of his evil deeds. Ji-sook must pose as another woman and battles with herself to accept the new reality. These views are the most typical in the melodrama genre. But then there is Min-woo, mentally unstable, but highly ambitious. He is the wild card that stimulates intrigue in the plot and fuels the actions of other characters. The fable of the scorpion and the frog outlines the relationship between Min-woo and Ji-sook,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 2 2015/06/24,
The second episode of "Mask" is nothing short of melodramatic. This isn't a bad thing. In fact, it brings the events from the first episode full circle and propels the plot forward at breakneck speed. All the trappings of a self-respecting melodrama are present and they are, if not novel, at least interesting. This could be due to stellar acting on the parts of the three leads: Soo Ae, Joo Ji-hoon, Yeon Jung-hoon, and Yoo In-young. In particular, Yeon's acting stands out because he is better known for his brooding heroes than for his scheming villains,...More
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