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 . Min-woo and Ji-sook grow closer when Ji-sook tells him of her past and her reasons for lying. They choose to work together to make their situations better, channeling their anger into productive activity. Seok-hoon and Mi-yeon, on the other hand, are further entrenched in lies than ever. Both are so driven by their goals and emotions that they are blinded to what best could help them: giving up vengeful feelings. Seok-hoon is a pathological liar, but Yeon Jung-hoon shows us the emotion behind Seok-hoon's eyes, the pain that he causes himself and the realization that he causes pain to others. Seok-hoon doesn't revel in the pain he gives Mi-yeon, but neither does that stop him from hurting her.
The question I have is why he goes after Min-woo instead of the man who cause his childhood trauma: Min-woo's father. It's a strange method to utilize. But use it he does. He even challenges Min-woo to try and be a true opponent, but nothing ever comes of the challenge. Instead the two couples go about their agendas and the battle between men isn't actualized. Underneath all the individual movement is Mi-yeon, acting out revenge out of spite and pain. Despite the guilt she feels for her brother's pain at Seok-hoon's hands, she still exacts a similar revenge to achieve her own ends. She's a gray character that is interesting because of the fact that she is neither good nor bad. I would call her a wounded animal lashing out.
Ji-sook's family was abruptly brought back into the story after a couple episodes rest. Like many plot threads, it was drop and brought back only when useful. In this case, it was to cause a huge change in Ji-sook's life and to color Mi-sook's conscience even more gray. The resurfacing of Ji-sook's family was no doubt effective, just abruptly used. Another strangely underused and underdeveloped element of "Mask" is the divided emotions that Seok-hoon has for Ji-sook. It's unclear whether or not he is torn emotionally because of her canny resemblance to Eun-ha or because he actually is fond of her. After seventeen episodes it would be nice to have this better developed. We're diving into the very end of the drama where issues like that should be well-established before their closed out.
It's good to see Ji-hyeok and Ji-sook's father grow up throughout the drama with the opportunity given and the tragedy of "...ing" Ji-sook. I would like to see more of the changes in them wrought by tragedy, but as is the trend with "Mask", juicy plot material is left by the wayside. There is a lot of wasted potential that will hopefully be actualized by the time we hit the finale.
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 17"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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