Min-woo has completely fallen for Ji-sook and that brings cuteness and jealousy into tonal tapestry. To counter the levity of Min-woo's burgeoning first love is the fact that Ji-sook's secret is slowly leaking to those who knew her and creating new troubles for Seok-hoon's master plan.
Ju Ji-hoon is completely winning as the rigid Min-woo who falls in love with the only person in his life who is genuinely kind to him. His love also gets rid of any symptoms of neuroses. Whenever Ji-sook removes her Eun-ha mask and lets herself care for Min-woo is when he is captured by her. The same is true in reverse. In a world of masks, it is when they unmask themselves that love is able to grow. Unfortunately, Ji-sook is more preoccupied with her enormous secret and dealing with the costs of keeping it: being unable to directly care for her family, and now wanting to reveal everything to Min-woo. This is basic melodrama content, but the way the scenes are written, acted, and edited makes the content effective and entertaining. That is the ultimate goal of television, to entertain. "Mask" is doing a great job of that.
Ji-sook is still the subject of Seok-hook's cruel manipulations. She fights him in her own way with stinging verbal repartee and sneaking around to see her family, but still he has the power. The more he traps her, the closer she feels to Min-woo who is in a similar place: they both feel like fish out of water in the house that isn't a home. Her plight is part of what is so addictive about "Mask" - that and Soo Ae's moving performance. She has a gift for angst as her career has well-proven.
An interesting development this episode is that Seok-hoon feels torn about the growing love between Min-woo and Ji-sook. His jealousy flairs when she rejects him and when she grows close to Min-woo because of her mirror-like resemblance to his dead love Eun-ha. He watches the newlyweds on hidden CCTVs in a stalker-esque fashion that can be skewed to seem like monitoring his volatile investment or as a strange obsession. Either way, it's really creepy! When Seok-hoon is acting like a creep, he's always filmed in shadow, or behind beveled glass so that his face is strangely contorted. It's pretty effective camera work.
Mi-yeon also plays a significant role, but the sting of her anger is made impotent by her love for Seok-hoon. He knows how to manipulate her, just as he knows how to manipulate Ji-sook. I can't wait for people to start becoming immune to his charms and savvy.
There was a theme of loneliness threading its way through the episode. Mi-yeon is married to Seok-hoon, but is left essentially alone. Min-woo has never felt at home in his father's home. Ji-sook is trapped in a place where she is enemy number one. In a world of loneliness created by masks, she and Min-woo grow closer simply because they understand each other and need each other. It's an important idea to explore: what happens in survival situations. This is a situation of emotional survival. In the case of "Mask", Ju Ji-hoon gets to be adorable as a neurotic man who falls in love and Soo Ae gets to be wooed.
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 7"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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