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. Ji-sook, while still cowardly, grows stronger and more comfortable in her position despite the heavy blackmail that Seok-hoon lords over her. That strength stems from her growing affections for Min-woo who is the most genuine person in this very colorful cast of characters. The same happens within Min-woo. He is stronger because of his affections for Ji-sook. This growing bond gives the audience a charming romance to emotionally invest in, but it also makes Seok-hoon jealous and Mi-yeon even more angry than she already is. Those inextricable relationship threads are what "Mask" excels at creating.
The swiftly flowing undercurrent of tension between Min-woo and Ji-sook carries the story along. They are a mix of secrets, distrust, undeniable attraction, and burgeoning affection.
This episode has Ji-sook opening up more to Min-woo and the catalyst for that is fear for his well-being. She sees that Seok-hoon is particularly vicious in his methods to bring Min-woo down from his position of power and it scares her. It makes her brave and that is exactly what makes a heroine exciting. We see something similar in Mi-yeon. She puts on a facade of prickliness and apathy, but when she sees her brother in danger she can no longer hide behind that mask. Neither woman can.
Now Mi-yeon is a ticking time bomb. Unlike her brother she does not explode. She holds her pain and fury inside. She has started to catch onto her husband's nefarious intentions and I can't imagine that she won't explode sometime soon, especially since she actually cares for her brother.
Thematically, this episode had a thought trail that focused on drugs and self-medicating. Seok-hoon tried to rope Min-woo into a legal scandal over drugs, but then we see almost every character self-medicate with alcohol. It's just another side of the same coin.
Although the music is excellent, sometimes it foreshadows a bit too much of what is to come. This is a perpetual melodrama flaw. In any case, I'm still not a fan of all the things going wrong in "Mask", but the character strength and the powerful cast brings it through.
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's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 10"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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