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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ruler: Master of the Mask" Episodes 35-36

2017/07/06 | Permalink

As expected, Prince Seon's plan to stop Dae-mok is less than inspiring. First he has to spend a lot of time running around trying to convince other characters to help him, while Dae-mok has the much simpler plan of just having the other Seon take the mask off. Incidentally, Dae-mok is awfully satisfied with his own brilliance, considering how much of his infrastructure Hwa-goon destroyed simply by starting a fire.

The other Seon is one of the many, many serious disappointments in "Ruler: Master of the Mask" has given us. Remember way back, when the other Seon grew an uncharacteristic spine against Dae-mok upon realizing that he was being pressured to sign a law that would make it easier to criminalize people like his father? Now, the other Seon just craves power for the sake of power. That, and a creepy desire to make Ga-eun his woman.

It's especially weird how the other Seon is villainized less for being Dae-mok's stooge and more for his having the nerve to try and be king at all. Considering how disastrous the royal family has been for the common people so far, it's hard to see why it should matter that Prince Seon is the real prince. Let's recall that, as far as the other Seon knows, Prince Seon really did just ditch him to be Dae-mok's hostage for five years. If Prince Seon had accomplished anything while he was gone that would make his position much easier to root for.

Instead, everything hinges on this really stupid overly complicated plan that makes less sense the more I think about it. My favorite bit was when one guard stated, during the big chase, that he recognized the fairly obscure voice of one of the masked men. Meanwhile, a few scenes later an entire room of presumably intelligent ministers are apparently completely incapable of noticing that the king standing in front of them has a completely different voice and facial structure than the guy they've seen every day for the past five years.

Of course, the real question here is, assuming Prince Seon succeeds, how is that supposed to destroy Dae-mok's conspiracy? When Prince Seon's father tried to fight back, Dae-mok responded by murdering him in broad nightlight and putting an impostor on the throne. What's stopping Dae-mok from just doing that again? I mean, aside from the fact that the drama's almost over and we need to get to the conclusion.

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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