"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. She has begun to reciprocate his feelings in earnest and their budding romance is a sweet balance to the heaviness of the melodrama that dominates "Mask". Along with the romance comes heavy growth in each character. Ji-sook's confidence and the affection she receives allows her to make use of her substantial intelligence rather than use it to remain under the radar of loan sharks and her superiors. Min-woo is able to calm his neurotic thoughts by focusing them on a healthier pursuit - being in love. It makes the characters happier and a couple to reckon with as the stakes grow higher with the passing of each episode.
In a way, this episode belonged to Mi-yeon. She is a rich character in that she embodies qualities found in second leads all over: nastiness, selfishness, a feeling of privilege. At the same time, she is relatable in how her newfound pregnancy brings her joy and how she wants a husband she loves to be honest with her, love her back, and rejoice in their pregnancy. But the secrets in the household draw her keen eye and she discovers the truth about Ji-sook and that Seok-hoon kept her secret. The love-starved and cunning Mi-yeon can now become the most powerful villain in the show. Or, "Mask" could choose a different path. Either way, Mi-yeon is not to be trifled with, which Seok-hoon will soon learn. Especially when she realizes that she is an accidental murderer. That guilt can fuel many powerful, and possibly terrifying, reactions.
Seok-hoon is losing his hold over his master plan and part of it is the nature of keeping secrets. The other part is that he truly loved Eun-ha and watching her physical twin Ji-sook living her life is extremely hard on him. Despite the over-the-top-drama in this melodrama, his quiet sufferings add depth to the show. The fact that he is not emotionally unaffected by Eun-ha's death and the long arm of her shadow makes him a great character, but will also be his downfall. It's his weak spot.
Ji-sook's mother may need a liver transplant and one way the show can reveal Ji-sook's status among the living is to have her be the only match. Not much has happened otherwise with her family except for the fact that Hoya is doing a wonderful job as the prickly-skinned Ji-hyeok who is trying to make life good for his family.
Despite the inconsistencies and the soap-opera-like happenings, "Mask" continues to create emotionally relevant characters who reach beyond their situations and feel like people with whom viewers can relate. Plus, they make us care about their ridiculous situations and how they will turn out. That is the sign of good writing.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 12"
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