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. One of the more misogynistic men from Ji-sook's past reappears as a major player in Min-woo's business dealings and recognizes her as a "toy" of his. The man's appearance is more than just a plot convenience, but how that convenience is used is quite clever. It stirs up jealousy not only in Min-woo, but also in Seok-hoon who has to deal with the danger to his master plan. It also forces Seok-hoon to show the audience just how far he'll go to actualize his dreams.
Seok-hoon dreams of changing the world so that not only people with money have power, but in order to do so he uses that detested money and some severely compromised morals to achieve his ends. In his way, his dream is overshadowed by the methods he uses to reach it. It's such a fine line that he dances across from episode to episode. And that's what makes him a fascinating character. Lofty dreams and a dirty execution. Also, his muddled emotions for Ji-sook and the unexpected jealousy makes him a strange sort of second lead to Min-woo's adorable first-love powered antics.
The second trope that is put into play is the "illness" trope. Ji-sook's mother needs expensive medical treatment causing Ji-sook to further worry and Ji-hyeon to take extreme measures to acquire the needed money. While people sadly do fall ill all the time, throwing illness into an already thick texture of unfortunate happenings is rather strong. But again, "Mask" does well in accommodating the illness. It forces Ji-hyeon to confront yet another strong moral dilemma and forces his sister into action both to acknowledge him and to try and stop/save him. Despite his efforts, Seok-hoon cannot stop Ji-sook from loving her family and trying to help even though she is generally very weak in the face of his threats.
Then we have Min-woo, the poor fool who is in love for the first time and trapped by his vicious family and devious brother-in-law. His heart has already been given to "Eun-ha" and because of that, he can't help but be keenly interested in who her lover was. His sister, Mi-yeon, has given him many hints because her knowledge of Seok-hoon and Eun-ha's romance has made her miserable for a long time. Misery loves company. Min-woo is the most hurt by Ji-sook's deception, but they are all hurt by the circumstances they are forced into.
Mi-yeon is also an interesting character. She is entitled, but like Seok-hoon, the wounds in her life are clear and understandable and those make her a pitiable character - an understandable and therefore relatable character. This is the sign of good writing. A hateful person can be understood despite all of the evils he or she may commit.
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 8"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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