"Mask" keeps the tension high as Ji-sook and Seok-hoon butt heads. Min-woo skirts on the fringes of their tense relationship, struggling with his illness and his ambition. Already the effects of Ji-sook's presence in his life are obvious, but they are not yet strong enough to distract for the incredible tension between Ji-sook and Seok-hoon.
As with any melodrama, Ji-sook is faced with scheming in-laws and never ending misfortunates. Many of these are caused by Seok-hoon and the tug-of-war between them provides the main intrigue for "Mask". Yeon Jung-hoon, even among such a powerful cast, stands out as the man who lives a Machiavellian life and manipulates Ji-sook to meet his ends. While Yeon fleshes out Seok-hoon, the writing also gives him a fully developed character to work with. Seok-hoon is the villain, yes, but he also has weaknesses, mostly in that he is just as human as Ji-sook. Although Seok-hoon believes his battle is against Min-woo for the power over the family company, it is the willful Ji-sook who has given him a literal run for his money this episode.
Despite all of the fearful and dangerous blackmail, Ji-sook is strong enough to stand up to Seok-hoon and her love for the family she struggles to protect guides her. Perhaps this trait will be what gives Min-woo strength. Or perhaps the drama will focus on how she deceived Min-woo once they fall in love. In either case, it makes her more than the desperate Candy-esque character, especially when coupled with Soo Ae's performance.
Min-woo is such a wonderfully painted character. The dichotomy between his business acumen and his lack of mental acuity is what makes him such a delicious character for the talented Ju Ji-hoon to play. His character helps the show to explore the power of suggestion and how much influence it can have over one's life. The same holds true for Seok-hoon's bribery of Ji-sook. The 'ifs' keep her trapped.
The dialogue is one of the strongest aspects of the show, loaded with double meanings. But what the show could do with less of are the car chases. There have been several huge car chases in four episodes. They are gratuitous rather than functional. They are a trip trick to amp up viewer adrenaline. With the savvy of writing, the multitude of car chases is unnecessary.
With all of the melodrama floating around, I do appreciate the moments of humor that are natural to Min-woo's way of coping with his tragedy: his extreme need for control and cleanliness. I also appreciate that it is Ji-sook's sincerity that penetrates Min-woo's pain and despair. In a world of deceit, it's good to see sincerity every once and a while.
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 4"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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