"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 . She wishes to divorce him to protect him from Seok-hoon's mechanizations and Min-woo is still struggling to cope with her identity and his feelings for her. They dance around loving each other as the events of the episode unfold, mainly Seok-hoon's plans and Mi-yeon's attempts to suss out those plans. Ji-sook tries to battle Seok-hoon and protect Min-woo, but her method of attack is much more mild than his. He is willing to throw away all moral boundaries to exact his revenge, and Ji-sook has not reached that point of desperation.
Mi-yeon, however, has reached that point. She is becoming cruel in her jealousy and pain although it doesn't completely dehumanize her. Her love for Seok-hoon borders on obsessive and keeps her tongue still when it should freely warn Min-woo against danger. She's a strange character who is urged forward by a dangerously immoral jealousy, and fettered only by her love for her brother.
Seok-hoon's motivations were further clarified as we see that Min-woo's father had a role in Seok-hoon's tragic childhood. He seems unable to stop himself from lying, even when he is utterly ashamed. I like that "Mask" has him in a battle with Ji-sook and Mi-yeon. Soon it will also be Min-woo who is starting to realize that Seok-hoon is a dangerous opponent.
There are a few quibbles I have with the show. First is that some of the cuts in this episode were jarring and illogical. They felt rushed and the transitions between scenes weren't as fluid as in episodes prior. Second, we don't see much of Ji-sook's family save for Ji-hyeok who has become her confident. We hear nothing more of her father's reaction to her status amongst the living or about her mother's health. It's going to creep in when the show needs even more dramatic tension. Also, the ending of the episode focused on Min-woo's and Ji-sook's romantic climax and completely neglected the fact that she was just charged for embezzlement. While the romantic moment was powerful and sweet, it was disconcerting to jump from embezzlement investigations and the hunting scene in the forest to the confession and kiss.
Min-woo takes a big step forward in that he is the one to reach out to Ji-sook and confess his feelings to her. He emerges from his mental box to give of himself to her. He's grown a lot as a character from his earlier episodes of complete entrapment by hallucinogens and his past traumas. His approach to pushing past the lies that kept them apart and seeing her for who she is is quite refreshing. Many times dramas will make romantic leads misunderstand each other for far too long in order to keep tension high. Not here. In fact, the contrast between Min-woo and Ji-sook clearing the air between them and growing stronger, and Seok-hoon and Mi-yeon's relationship growing more cloudy by the minute with distrust is a smart juxtaposition.
Now that Ji-sook and Min-woo are a pair I'm looking forward to see how they tackle problems together. Will Ji-sook continue to act alone, or will she lean on Min-woo? It would be great if she leaned on him since their relationship is all about learning to open up and rely on another person.
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 16"
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