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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ruler: Master of the Mask" Episodes 29-30

2017/06/28 | 1518 views | Permalink

So apparently Hwa-goon's bodyguard Gon (played by Kim Seo-kyung) isn't actually dead. I assumed that he was, considering that the last time we saw him the man had collapsed in a bloody unmoving slump on the floor. But ah, this is "Ruler: Master of the Mask" with characters so tough they won't die even if you kill them..! Actually no, it's just that the only way the production team knows how to produce an emotional reaction is through cheap kills, which inevitably have to be reversed since characters have to be alive in order for the plot to move forward.

Anyway! Gon was my favorite character in part because his loyalty to Hwa-goon was unexplained and generally mysterious. And even though Gon actually does something important here, his motivation still remains unexplained. But now rather than being mysterious, it's just sort of annoying, because Gon does get an emotional scene with Hwa-goon where Yoon So-hee once again demonstrates that she lacks acting talent.

It's not Totally Her fault. Hwa-goon has regressed from being the only character in "Ruler: Master of the Mask" capable of making well thought-out plans to a shrieky, whiny, clinger-on to Prince Seon. I might be able to understand even that much if Prince Seon had any kind of redeeming qualities, but no, he's still completely incompetent. The only twist in Prince Seon's plan to turn himself in to Dae-mok is unraveled almost immediately by Dae-mok's normal night watch.

Oh yeah, there's also another plot twist in here about who really killed Ga-eun's father. It had not, until this episode, ever occurred to me that the person who pretended to be Prince Seon that day was a named character. Any of Dae-mok's random goons could have pulled it off. And as for the person who did do it his motivation still doesn't make sense even now that it's been explained, nor is it clear why the big confession should have any dramatic impact.

But then so little of "Ruler: Master of the Mask" makes sense that could be the tagline for the entire drama. Consider how the other big plot twist, about Prince Seon discovering that his father was a fink in league with Dae-mok, is played out for major drama throughout the entire episode. I'm just sitting there thinking, he didn't already know that? How is it posssible that this late in the drama, main characters are still being surprised by basic backstory?

Review by William Schwartz

"Ruler: Master of the Mask" is directed by Noh Do-cheol & Park Won-gook, written by Jeong Hae-ri & Park Hye-jin-II, and features Yoo Seung-ho, Kim So-hyun, L, Yoon So-hee, Heo Joon-ho and Park Chul-min.

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